December 19th, 2014
Friday Tennis Blog: New Celeb Coaches; Happy Holidays Version
COACHING CAROUSEL — The pro off-season is when the coaching musical chairs begins, and the last couple weeks have seen the announcements of former pro and current commentator Justin Gimelstob working with John Isner, former pro and current commentator Lindsay Davenport working with Madison Keys, and legend Martina Navratilova guiding Slam finalist Aggie Radwanska. They join the current high-profile couplings of Andy Murray-Amelia Mauresmo, Novak Djokovic-Boris Becker, Marin Cilic-Goran Ivanisevic, Kei Nishikori-Michael Chang, and Stefan Edberg-Roger Federer. Are we leaving anyone out? “I got goose bumps when I read Andy Murray’s press release on Mauresmo,” Davenport told the New York Times. “I mean, that’s great, it’s cool. It shouldn’t be that big a story, but it’s great. Hopefully we keep on bucking the trend, and having women out there as coaches. Having past players still involved in the game, I think it’s fantastic.”
NEWS AROUND THE COURTS — In addition to her new coaching duties in 2015, Martina Navratilova just got married…USTA Player Development held a TEAM USA Forum, updating parents, coaches and leaders of top developmental programs around the country on what progress has been made with this new initiative from USTA Player Development and what is to come in 2015. See the results here…The Florida-based Bryan brothers are taking over the ATP Insider…Vote for USTA Florida for the YellowTennisBall Tribute Award, then you won’t have to get us anything for the holidays…The Brit kid who won the 2011 US Open juniors has quit the game…Rafael Nadal is an “underwear ambassador” for Tommy Hilfinger…Wimbledon said hell to the no to the BBC putting Wimbledon on pay-per-view.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM USTA FLORIDA — Happy holidays to all players, fan, and especially our corps of volunteers who help further our mission “To Promote and develop tennis in Florida.” When you join USTA Florida or renew your membership, you are helping to (re)build courts, put racquets in kids’ hands, and get programs up and running in your local park or facility. Since 2010 alone, we’ve given more than $1 million in grants for equipment, courts and programs. Members, like you, make all of that possible. See you in 2015!
Indian Aces Lose Final But Win IPTL League on Points
Gael Monfils lost to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-0 in men’s singles, but the Frenchman’s Micromax Indian Aces still claimed the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) championship, in the final losing to Djokovic’s UAE Royals 29-15, but edging them in the year-end point total 39-37.
The Indian Aces, whose roster included Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Ana Ivanovic, lifted the trophy, a life-size tennis racket with a ball and decorated with diamonds and gemstones.
“We are thrilled to be champions,” Ivanovic said. “It was a lot of fun. It was a great experience for me.”
Other Indian Aces team members were Fabrice Santoro, Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza.
“I definitely enjoyed the whole experience very much, going to India for the first time, playing in India, playing alongside some of the players that I used to admire, and grew up looking how they ruled the tennis world,” Djokovic said. “The league gave me this opportunity to be next to legends of this sport, and next to my fellow colleagues, and allow me to feel this team spirit that I usually don’t have on the tour events…It’s really refreshing to have a format like IPTL that can explore some new rules and new markets like we’ve seen in these last three weeks.”
They Said It
“I’m surprised more players haven’t come out. Particularly no male players. They’re so far in the closet, I don’t even know who they are.”
— Martina Navratilova speaking to the BBC
“It’s hard to ignore when everyone else, especially on the ATP tour, was doing it…And then Martina was the only person that it would have worked with; she wouldn’t have done it with anyone else, because she was her idol in tennis…The only thing she hasn’t done is won a Grand Slam. Who better to help her take the next step than Martina?”
— Agnieszka Radwanska’s agent Stuart Duguid speaking to the New York Times on the Pole hiring Martina Navratilova as her coach
“It’s been crazy, but I love it. It’s been really fun, like a new kind of experience. I’ve kind of just adapted to it, kind of gone with the flow and not really thought about it too much. I mean, it doesn’t really affect me, having people watch me play, so that’s kind of nice.”
— New world No. 1 junior and 15-year-old Cici Bellis on her popularity since toppling former Slam finalist Dominika Cibulkova at the 2014 US Open
Tennis on TV This Weekend
5pm — On Court with USPTA :The Art of Approaching 2 (premier), Tennis Channel
5:30pm — On Court with USPTA : 100th Episode (premier), Tennis Channel