February 24th, 2017
Friday Tennis Blog: Federer’s New Pal Norman; New USTA Jr. Showcase; More
NEW USTA COLLEGE RECRUITING COMBINE AND COACHES WORKSHOP AT USTA NATIONAL CAMPUS
The USTA National Campus will host the inaugural USTA All-American College Combine and USTA/ITA Collegiate Coaches Workshop on June 14-16, 2017, in Orlando, a first-ever national collegiate scouting event for American tennis juniors.
Designed to give American juniors exposure, knowledge, and data to help their recruitment by college tennis programs around the country, the combine will evaluate skills such as serve speed, serve accuracy, and groundstroke accuracy; fitness testing; and psychological self-assessment. The data will be used to help with recruitment by college tennis programs around the country. The three-day event will also include a tournament/Tennis Recruiting “National Showcase.” More than 100 collegiate coaches from NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA and junior college programs are expected to attend the coaches workshop.
“Supporting American juniors and their parents in their quests for college scholarships is a priority for us,” said USTA Collegiate Tennis Director Stephen Amritraj. “The USTA All-American College Combine is a way to provide college coaches a convenient opportunity to evaluate American juniors and hopefully increase the number of Americans on college teams throughout the country.” For more info click here.
SHARAPOVA, MORE IN TIE BREAK TENS AT MADRID
When the top ATP and WTA players come together at the Mutua Madrid Open in May on clay they’ll also butt heads for a half million dollars in the fast-growing one-day format of the tiebreak tournament, in this case the third edition of European-based Tie Break Tens.
The May 4 event in partnership with the pro event will feature Maria Sharapova, Kei Nishikori, home country favorite Feliciano Lopez, and more players to be named. The prize pot of $500,000 will be split equally between the men’s and women’s winners, with $100,000 of the total going to charity. The event will be broadcast live in Spain by Teledeporte TVE. Both the men’s and women’s events will feature eight-player fields. No word yet if Andy Murray, who lost in the finals of the first two Tie Break Tens event in London (falling to Kyle Edmund) and Vienna (losing to Dominic Thiem), will be back to try for a first title.
“I’m excited to have the chance to play Tie Break Tens for the first time,” said Sharapova, who will be using the event as her 2017 debut after serving a doping suspension. “The format of playing only 10-point tiebreaks means we need to be at our best from the very first point, which will make the whole event intense to play and to watch.”
Next week’s ATP Brazil Open will again feature rescue dogs as ball animals, encouraging adoption and finding homes for the formerly-abandoned pups…Tennis Australia has chosen Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane to host the Davis Cup tie with the United States in April, but can they lure Bernard Tomic back on the Aussie squad? And do they want to since he is 0-2 since the Australian Open?…Roger Federer said he is still not practicing 100 percent, still bothered by an upper leg injury he played through at the Australian Open…Andre Agassi has a new online course to help your tennis game, and had some thoughts on troubled Aussie Nick Kyrgios: “You can’t coach somebody that doesn’t want to be coached. So that’s unfortunately a tale that we all kind of have to watch unfold.”…Former world No. 2 Tommy Haas played at Delray Beach this week, making a comeback from a ninth career surgery…Sascha Bajin was Serena Williams’ hitting partner and BFF, then he bolted for Victoria Azarenka’s camp, and now he’s with Serena’s other BFF Caroline Wozniacki, with Serena’s blessing…Have an idea to increase Hispanic tennis participation in your community? The USTA national 2017 Hispanic Outreach Grant Application has a deadline of March 3, with up to $2,500 awarded…Novak Djokovic has taken a wild card into next week’s ATP event at Acapulco, joining Rafael Nadal and six of the Top 10 on hard courts at the Abierto Mexicano Telecel.
Americans Johnson, Querrey, Sock, Young Enter Weekend Play at Delray Beach Open
The U.S. has one player in the semifinals and three in the quarterfinals after Sam Querrey and Donald Young logged victories on Thursday at the Delray Beach Open.
The No. 4-seeded Querrey beat fellow American Jared Donaldson 6-2, 6-3, while Young leaned on his experience to come from a set down against fellow American Taylor Fritz 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Young then learned he was receiving a walkover from his next opponent, Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis, who withdrew from the tournament for personal reasons, putting Young into the semifinals.
Young in the semis will face the winner of the all-American meeting between No. 3 seed Jack Sock and No. 5 Steve Johnson. Other Friday quarterfinal matches are No. 1 Milos Raonic vs. No. 8 Kyle Edmund of Great Britain, and Querrey vs. No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro.
“He serves as strong as me and plays really fast from the baseline,” Del Potro said of Querrey. “He’s the favorite to win because he beat me last time in this tournament and he has a higher ranking than me.”
The last two Americans in the draw exited the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday when 17-year-old CiCi Bellis, who in the previous round upset No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, fell to No. 10 seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-2, and fellow unseeded player Lauren Davis lost to No. 7 seed Elina Svitolina 6-0, 6-4.
Bellis led 3-1 in the first set before Wozniacki took command, forcing 33 unforced errors from the teen. The last American also exited at the WTA Hungarian Ladies Open when unseeded Irini Falconi lost to German Carina Witthoeft 7-6(3), 6-3.
Friday’s coverage of Delray Beach begins at 12:30 p.m. on Tennis Channel.
They Said It
“I call it Norman. I’ve had dinner with Norman, spent a lot of time with Norman. I know it’s just a replica, but that’s all right.”
— Roger Federer, who has been taking the Australian Open trophy on his travels as of late, speaking to the New York Times
“I’m happy to be 27 and playing some good tennis and I still have time. I’m right in the mix of the age of the guys who are doing well, so I’m looking forward to it.”
— American Donald Young after upsetting top-seeded Ivo Karlovic at the Delray Beach Open, speaking to the Palm Beach Post
“First of all, Germany was not showing too much on the TVs so that was also a big reason why it stopped for a little bit. Then after Steffi and Boris it was so huge, and no one came after so there was a big hole…I hope now with me and Alexander Zverev it’s getting back a little bit better.”
— Angelique Kerber on the popularity of tennis in Germany
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
8am — WTA Dubai (live), beIN Sports
12:30-10pm — ATP Delray Beach, Rio de Janiero (live), Tennis Channel
10:30pm — ATP Delray Beach, Rio de Janiero, Marseille (replay), Tennis Channel
10am — WTA Dubai final (live), beIN Sports
10am — WTA Budapest (live), beIN Sports 9
1-10:30pm — ATP Delray Beach, Rio de Janiero (live), Tennis Channel
7am — WTA Budapest final (live), beIN Sports 9
1-6pm — ATP Delray Beach final, Rio de Janiero final (live), Tennis Channel
6-8pm — ATP Marseille final (delay), Tennis Channel