May 13th, 2016

Friday Tennis Blog: Why Serena Ate Her Dog’s Food; More Deliciousness

Friday Blog



The USTA National Campus under construction in Orlando

USTA Florida League tennis players will have an extra incentive beginning in 2017 — winning regional play to advance to sectionals at the ultra-modern USTA National Campus in Orlando. USTA Florida on Thursday announced it will break ground in June for its new headquarters in the Lake Nona Sports & Performance District in Orlando, next to the USTA national body’s $70 million USTA National Campus. The 100+ court complex will host the majority of the Florida sectional events, with the courts featuring the PlaySight technology. All 100+ courts will feature live streaming and recording, and 32 will be “smart courts” featuring multi-angle video analysis and producing play data for review. “The USTA National Campus will be this country’s model tennis facility, and with the addition of PlaySight, the USTA can bring technology generally reserved for top professionals to players of all ages and abilities for the first time,” said Gordon Smith, USTA executive director and chief operating officer. The PlaySight technology also offers line-calling and mobile/social media sharing.


Ion Tiriac

Ion Tiriac

We have seen the battles women’s tennis has fought over the years for equality, and in 2016 we’re seeing the major sources of the sexism — some of the “creepy” men’s tour’s founding players-turned-executives. In March, 69-year-old Indian Wells Tournament Director and CEO Ray Moore, a former player, was forced to step down after saying women should get down on their knees and “thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born because they have carried this sport.” Now this week 76-year-old Ion Tiriac, owner of the men’s and women’s Mutua Madrid Open and a former player (and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame) said that the women are great to look at but shouldn’t be paid the same as men. “The longer the legs theirs are, the more beautiful I think they are,” he told the New York Times regarding women players. “But I don’t see the equal prize money…Maybe they deserve more?…But I don’t think the women can complain that they don’t earn enough money.” Speaking to El Mundo, he said, “I don’t have a problem giving them equal prize, but they have to bring me the same economic results as men do. When the audience for men’s matches is four times bigger than women’s, there’s a problem equaling their prize money.” Don’t tell that to Serena Williams, who was the main draw at last year’s US Open.


serena and dogSerena Williams shared a story this week about eating her dog’s food…Australian Olympics liaison Kitty Chiller warned Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic that their behavior needs to improved if they’re going to represent Australia in tennis at the Rio Olympics. Kyrgios responded by calling her out on Twitter. Tomic pulled out of the Rome tournament this week after last week trying to hit a ball with his racquet handle on match point in Madrid…Andy Murray and Amelie Mauresmo ended their coaching relationship, with Mauresmo opting to spend more time with her child…Is Andy Murray the greatest feminist men’s player of all time? USA Today headline: ‘Murray hopes Mauresmo split not seen as failure for women‘…Aussie Nick Kyrgios explained his obsession with the Boston Celtics — it’s due to playing video gamesRoger Federer hasn’t missed a Grand Slam tournament since the 1999 US Open, but a back injury might keep him out of this year’s French Open.

Keys, Serena Keep American Flag Flying in Madrid

Madison Keys in Interview magazine earlier this year

Madison Keys in Interview magazine earlier this year

World No. 1 Serena Williams and unseeded Madison Keys are the lone Americans still in play as of Thursday at the combined men’s and women’s event in Spain, the Mutua Madrid Open.

Williams on Thursday beat fellow American and qualifier Christina Mchale 7-6(7), 6-1, and Keys advanced with a 7-6(2), 6-3 win against Hungary’s Timea Babos.

“I feel good, because I feel like she hits a lot of balls back,” said Williams, who needed to save a set point in the first against Mchale. “I wanted to get a match in like that where she gets a lot of balls back and see how I was able to do against that and see how I was physically after that, too. I think physically every day is a new day for me, and I just try to see when I wake up. I just go from there.”

In Friday quarterfinal play Williams will face former world No. 2 and French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Keys will meet Barbora Strycova.

“I think right now [Kuznetsova is] probably one of the best clay court players,” Williams said. “I couldn’t ask for a better match going into Roland Garros, so this is a perfect opportunity for me, win or lose, to see where I am and get ready for what I’m ready for, which is the main event.”

They Said It

Serena Princess“In my mind I’m always No. 1, and I think I have always thought that since I have turned pro. And in everyone else’s mind, even when I was injured — they are like, ‘You’re No. 1.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, sure.’ So everyone else thinks it.”
Serena Williams this week in Rome

“I don’t care about that match point. Would you care if you were 23 and worth over $10 million?”
— Aussie Bernard Tomic after ending a match at Madrid trying to return serve with his racquet handle, speaking to the Gold Coast Bulletin

“We have the ability to take that into consideration whether we proceed to select the nomination or not.”
— Aussie Olympics liaison Kitty Chiller on the committee’s ability to block Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios from representing Australia at the Olympics

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

6am-5:30pm — ATP/WTA Rome (live), Tennis Channel

6am-4:30pm — ATP/WTA Rome (live), Tennis Channel

8am-1pm — ATP/WTA Rome (live), Tennis Channel