November 6th, 2015
Friday Tennis Blog: Serena Chases Down Thief; Isner Beats Federer
SUPER SERENA CHASES DOWN CROOK
Just another week in the life of Serena Williams. It was revealed that the current world No. 1 is dealing with the same knee injuries as Rafael Nadal. “The cartilage is [almost] gone,” said her coach Patrick Mouratoglou speaking to ESPN. “She has bone bruises, and if you keep on playing with this for too long, too much, the next step is a stress fracture.”…But that didn’t stop the Palm Beach Gardens’ resident from chasing down a thief who snatched her phone in a restaurant. “Soooooo yesterday at dinner the CRAZIEST THING happened to me,” she wrote on social media. “I was sitting enjoying some Chinese food (delicious may I add) and this guy stands next to me…I kept watching him from the corner of my eye. Than when least expected low and behold this common petty thief grabbed my phone and swiftly left. I looked at the chair, than shouted “Omg that dude took my phone!!” Not thinking I reacted (hence the superwoman photo) I jumped up, weaved my way in and out of the cozy restaurant (leaping over a chair or two) and chased him down…Superhero? Maybe? Or HELL YEA!! I’ve got the speed the jumps, the power, the body, the seduction, the sex appeal, the strength, the leadership and yet the calm to weather the storm.” Serena will return to the court in early December when she competes for the Philippine Mavericks in the International Tennis Premier League (IPTL) exhibition series, then in early January she will represent the U.S. in the Hopman Cup exhibition.
ATP FINALS STAT MANIA; FEDERER’S RECORDS
The two groupings have yet to be announced, but the Top 8 at the Nov. 15-22 ATP Finals in London is set, and will feature three-time defending champ Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, six-time former winner Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Kei Nishikori. Last year Federer gamely fought his way to the final despite injury, but handed the championship to Djokovic in a walkover, unable to play the final due to a back injury. Djokovic is the three-time defending champion (d. Federer twice and Nadal) and has won it four times overall. Federer has won the year-end championships six times (Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras are second with five titles each), and is 6-3 in finals. No other player in the field besides Djokovic and Federer has raised the year-end championship trophy, with Nadal 0-2 in finals, and Ferrer losing the 2007 final to Federer. A Djokovic win this year would make him the lone player to win four in a row (Lendl and Ilie Nastase each won three in a row). Federer this year sets a record for most appearances in the event at 14 (Andre Agassi had 13), and reaching a 10th final this year would also set a record (tied with Lendl at nine finals reached).
James Blake ran the NYC Marathon, raising money for his foundation which supports early-detection cancer research. “I had fun, but will leave this for the professionals,” he said…Lleyton Hewitt was named the new captain of the Australian Davis Cup team, and will debut when the Aussie host the U.S. in the first round in March 2016. He debuted as a player the last time the U.S. faced Australia, in 1999. “I have to sit down with the boys and work out what our best option is moving forward, in terms of surface, and it’s nice to have a home tie against the US,” Hewitt told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s amazing it’s taken that long to come back around [facing the U.S.].”…Peugeot, which has not sold cars in the U.S. for approximately 25 years, is the new ATP World Tour car sponsor…The WTA Rankings are 40 years old this year, debuting with…Florida’s Chrissie Evert.
Isner Serves Federer Out of Masters Paris
John Isner is the last American standing at the last regular-season ATP event, the Masters Paris, where on Thursday he upset former world No. 1 Roger Federer 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-6(5).
“He’s an incredible player,” Isner said after dropping 27 aces on the Swiss. “My favorite player and the greatest of all time, in my opinion. It was a huge win for me. I’m very proud I was able to get it done.”
Federer said he played well but the tiebreakers were key.
“At the US Open, I won my tiebreakers,” Federer said. “Here, I lost them. It’s a pity. I didn’t play a bad match. I haven’t been broken during six sets against him, and I lost the match. This is how it happens against John. It’s always on his racquet, especially indoors.”
The No. 13-seeded Isner will next meet No. 8 seed David Ferrer in the Friday quarterfinals.
The other blockbuster quarterfinals will see (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (5) Tomas Berdych, (2) Andy Murray vs. (10) Richard Gasquet, and (4) Stan Wawrinka vs. (7) Rafael Nadal.
They Said It
“We went to lunch feeling down and thinking we were out of it…After lunch, we wont shopping and found shirts that said, ‘Don’t Quit’ and we bought them, which gave us another push to play harder. We won our last match wearing our ‘Don’t Quit’ shirts and went to the hotel room not knowing if we were the wildcard team because we needed the last team to beat another team. That team won their match in three third-set tiebreaker sets, which helped us to be selected as the wildcard team. Then we won the semifinals 2-1 against Schaumburg, Ill., and the finals 2-1 against Newtown Square, Pa. We brought home the trophy, title, and knowledge to always stay positive after a defeat because many things can happen to help you through it.”
— USTA Florida League player and 2015 national championship team member Rose “Don’t Quit” Haney
“Generally, when I think back, Martina [Navratilova], Chrissie [Evert] and the players I played with — everybody sucked it up and played the tour championships. So to me, it’s a little bit that this generation doesn’t quite feel the same sense of commitment to the tour.”
— Pam Shriver on Serena Williams skipping the year-ending WTA Finals, speaking to the New York Times
“She came back to practice this week and she’s already so excited to play, which is good, but the preseason is long so you have to manage your motivation.”
— Patrick Mouratoglou, coach of Serena Williams, on his charge dealing with knee problems similar to Rafael Nadal (worn cartilage) and preparing for 2016
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(times subject to change)
8am-6pm — ATP Paris (live), Tennis Channel
8:30am-1:30pm — ATP Paris (live), Tennis Channel
6am-noon — ATP Paris (live), Tennis Channel