March 9th, 2018

Friday Tennis Blog: Serena Holds Back Tears at Indian Wells; USTA League Champs; More

General News Friday Blog Blogs


The Belgian Davis Cup team took a hit when Belgian No. 1 David Goffin last weekend announced he would miss the April 6-8 second-round tie between the U.S. and Belgium due to an eye injury.

“I have to admit I haven’t recover [sic] my vision totally,” Goffin announced on social media. “I will have to go back to Europe after the Miami Open to check the condition of my eye so I won’t be able to play the next Davis Cup tie against USA.”

Without the Top 10-ranked Goffin, Belgium will be left with No. 113 Ruben Bemelmans and No. 139 Steve Darcis in singles against U.S. captain Jim Courier’s potential singles line-up of No. 10-ranked Jack Sock and No. 18 John Isner or No. 21 Sam Querrey. For Belgium it is a blow to the underdog squad that last year made a shocking run all the way to the final before falling to France. If the U.S. team can best Belgium it will likely line-up a semifinal trip to Croatia against a squad comprised of Australian Open runner-up Marin Cilic and rising star Borna Coric. For more U.S. Davis Cup news go to



Can Broward County finish three straight years at the best USTA League county in Florida?

Last weekend, Broward captains and players gathered to celebrate winning the USTA Florida League Championship Cup for a second straight season. More than 35 captains and players gathered for tennis and a celebratory lunch at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation. “I created the brand Los Guerreros [The Warriors] and there is a sense of belonging to that name within the team players,” said Weston Tennis Center team captain Jack Vargas. “It is a combination of many things — dedication, commitment, discipline, communication management, and the friendship in the group. We socialize as a group, and we have respect for the tennis.”

The 2018 USTA Florida League Sectionals will begin the championship season on April 14-16 with the Adult 65 & Over Sectionals at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. Find a league in your area at



Dogs subbed in for ball girls and boys at the recent ATP stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil…Lacoste is replacing its iconic crocodile — temporarily. The French clothing brand has created a series of limited-edition polo shirts featuring 10 of the world’s most endangered species, and proceeds from the shirt will benefit animal conservation…What was life like competing on the WATCH Circuit in Florida, the precursor to the USTA Pro Circuit?…Former WTA player Anne White is one of the producers of “Love Means Zero,” a new documentary on Nick Bollettieri and his academy’s rise…It was a Serena Williams love-fest on Monday at the Tie Break Tens exhibition at Madison Square Garden. Among the other pre-Indian Wells festival circuit events was Roger Federer’s Match for Africa exhibition raising more than $2.5 million for his foundation, and the Desert Smash charity exhibition also attended by Serena…In 2001 Serena Williams and Andre Agassi won the singles at Indian Wells, the last time an American has won a title in the California desert…From the NYT’s Overlooked series: Mary Ewing Outerbridge established what may have been America’s first tennis court in the 1870s…Serena Williams has a booth on site at Indian Wells selling “Serena Gold S-Pins” to raise money for her charitable foundation.


Serena Holds Back Tears for Indian Wells Win

Serena Williams on International Women’s Day won in her 2018 WTA debut at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Thursday, and was joined by six other unseeded American winners in the first round, including Florida teens CiCi Bellis and Amanda Anisimova.

It was Serena’s first tour-level match since winning the 2017 Australian Open.

“I almost cried before the match,” said the former world No. 1 after the 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 53-ranked Zarina Diyas, referring to missing her daughter. “I texted [my husband] and was like, ‘Is it normal that I want to cry?’…I’m taking it one day at a time. I’m not where I want to be [fitness-wise] but I’m getting there. That’s what I realized, I’m not going to be there today, next week, or tomorrow, but I will eventually get there.”

Serena will next face No. 29 seed Kiki Bertens, with her sister Venus waiting in the next round.

Here is a look at the American women and men in the 2018 Indian Wells draw in 1st/2nd round matches:


(8) Venus Williams (USA) vs. Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
(13) Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. (WC) Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
(15) Madison Keys (USA) vs. (WC) Danielle Collins (who defeated (Q) Taylor Townsend (USA))
(17) CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) vs. Kaia Kanepi (EST)
Serena Williams (USA) defeated Zarina Diyas (KAZ), next vs. (29) Kiki Bertens (NED)
Jennifer Brady (USA) defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu (ROU), next vs. (7) Caroline Garcia (FRA)
CiCi Bellis (USA) defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo (ESP), next vs. (24) Elena Vesnina (RUS)
(WC) Caroline Dolehide (USA) defeated Shelby Rogers (USA), next vs. (30) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)
(WC) Amanda Anisimova (USA) defeated Pauline Parmentier (FRA), next vs. (23) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
(Q) Sachia Vickery (USA) defeated (WC) Genie Bouchard, next vs. (3) Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
(Q) Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated (WC) Claire Lu (USA), next vs. (32) Shuai Zhang (CHN)
Lauren Davis (USA) lost to Sam Stosur (AUS)
Varavara Lepchenko (USA) lost to Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
(Q) Madison Brengle (USA) lost to Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)
(WC) Kayla Day (USA) lost to (Q) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)
Christina McHale (USA) lost to Katerina Siniakova (CZE)


(8) Jack Sock (USA) vs. (WC) Bradley Klahn (USA)/Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) winner
(15) John Isner (USA) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)/Matthew Ebden (AUS) winner
(18) Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)/Mischa Zverev (GER) winner
(WC) Tennys Sandgren (USA) vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO)
Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs. (WC) Ernesto Escobedo (USA)
(Q) Tim Smyczek (USA)
vs. Laslo Djere (SRB)
(Q) Mitchell Krueger (USA)
defeated Benoit Paire (FRA), next vs. (25) Filip Krajinovic (SRB)
Jared Donaldson (USA) defeated (Q) Evan King (USA) , next vs. (13) Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Taylor Fritz (USA) defeated (WC) Reilly Opelka (USA), next vs. (27) Andrey Rublev (RUS)
Ryan Harrison (USA) lost to Federico Delbonis (ARG)
Donald Young (USA) lost to Borna Coric (CRO)
Steve Johnson (USA) lost to Daniil Medvedev (RUS)


They Said It

“I think I’m good at picking partners.”
— Microsoft founder Bill Gates after improving to 2-0, with partner Roger Federer, at the Swiss’ Match for Africa exhibitions

“So many children are living in poverty and one of the most powerful tools to exit poverty is education, so they have a chance in life and can reach their full potential.”
— Roger Federer Foundation CEO Janine Handel on the foundation that supports education projects in six countries

“[A wide range of different rules] was problematic when players showed up for the first national tournament, hosted by [Mary Ewing] Outerbridge in 1880. People were astonished to see how everyone else had been playing, and some refused to participate. The inconsistencies led to the creation of the United States National Lawn Tennis Association the following year.”
— The New York Times on the first U.S. national tennis tournament and the creation of the USTA


Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

1pm — ATP/WTA Indian Wells (live), Tennis Channel
10pm — ATP/WTA Indian Wells (live), Tennis Channel

1pm — ATP/WTA Indian Wells (live), Tennis Channel
10pm — ATP/WTA Indian Wells (live), Tennis Channel

1pm — ATP/WTA Indian Wells (live), Tennis Channel
10pm — ATP/WTA Indian Wells (live), Tennis Channel