June 10th, 2016

Friday Tennis Blog: Sharapova, Rafa Not Enjoying Grasscourt Season; More

Friday Blog


Taylor Fritz (right) last year after reaching the French Open Boys' final

Taylor Fritz (right) last year after reaching the French Open Boys’ final

You’d think there would be a letdown the week after the French Open, but the opening of the grasscourt season has the tennis world hopping both on and off the court this week. On the lawns, Roger Federer made his return from injury after missing Roland Garros, and was almost upset by U.S. top teen prospect Taylor Fritz. “I played great, and if you’d told me before that I would have taken a set off Federer, I would have been happy,” Fritz said. Off the court, Maria Sharapova’s doping sentence was revealed  the former No. 1 will not participate at Wimbledon and will spend two years away from the game unless she can shorten the sentence on appeal. Sharapova took to Facebook to share her unhappiness. A day later, Rafael Nadal pulled out of Wimbledon, citing his ongoing wrist injury. He will begin rehabbing in two weeks time, and will attempt to be fit for the Rio Olympics in early August.


PrintNew this year, the USTA Pro Circuit Collegiate Series is a tournament circuit held on or near college campuses nationwide to provide a platform for college players to gain pro experience and transition to the pro ranks. The circuit will make a just-announced stop on Dec. 5 in Tallahassee, to be held at the indoor facility at Florida State University. “One of our strategic priorities in player development is to increase our investment and engagement with our best American players in college,” said Martin Blackman, USTA Player Development General Manager, of the tournaments designed to give college players easier access to ATP and WTA ranking points. For more info go to www.procircuit.usta.com.


HEAD Tennis' Facebook campaign supporting Maria Sharapova

HEAD Tennis’ Facebook campaign supporting Maria Sharapova

HEAD Tennis rolled out a Facebook #WeStandWithMaria campaign after Maria Sharapova’s doping suspension over a drug once used by Russian super-soldiers, and fans didn’t take too kindly. Nike then announced it is resuming its sponsorship of Sharapova, fueling more fan reactionSerena Williams says she wants to have kids one day, but says sheneeds to mature more‘…Genie Bouchard caught some good-natured ribbing from a Dutch border guard after her early exit from the French Open…For the first time in 11 years, Serena Williams has surpassed rival Maria Sharapova to become the top-paid female athlete in the world, Forbes reported…Long-time Bradenton resident and former world No. 2 Tommy Haas last week was named the new tournament director for the Indian Wells eventCaroline Wozniacki was chosen to carry Denmark’s flag at the opening ceremonies in Rio, but now authorities are finding she might not be eligible to playSerena Williams struck some blows/(serves) for womankind in this funny video from Glamour magazine…Delray Beach officially wants to host the next potential U.S. Davis Cup match in September if the U.S. can beat Croatia in July.


6 Americans Alive Entering Pro Grasscourt Weekend


Stefan Kozlov (photo: USTA/Cynthia Lum)

This week the grasscourt season and lead-up to Wimbledon began, and six Americans are flourishing on the lawns, looking to extend their weekend play on Friday.

No. 5 seed Sam Querrey and Florida’s Stefan Kozlov will square off against each other as the lone Americans remaining in the quarterfinals at the Ricoh Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. The teenage Kozlov moved into the quarters with a 6-3, 6-4 upset of No. 4 seed and countryman Steve Johnson.

On the women’s side in the Netherlands No. 6 seed Coco Vandeweghe and unseeded Madison Brengle have reached the quarters. Vandeweghe will face unseeded Russian Evgeniya Rodina, while Brengle will meet the Ukraine’s unseeded Kateryna Kozlova. Vandeweghe’s second-round match on Wednesday featured six breaks of serve in the first set alone.

“Today was a very tricky day for me, mentally,” Vandeweghe said. “I wasn’t as focused as I would like to be. But I managed to overcome it today. That’s kind of the name of the game, to just keep moving on, keep going through the second round.”

At the Aegon Open in Nottingham, England, No. 8-seeded Christina McHale and unseeded Alison Riske are Americans into the quarterfinals on the lawns. McHale will face China’s unseeded Saisai Zheng, and Riske against Estonia’s unseeded Anett Kontaveit.


They Said It

sharapova head“I cannot accept an unfairly harsh two-year suspension. The tribunal, whose members were selected by the ITF, agreed that I did not do anything intentionally wrong, yet they seek to keep me from playing tennis for two years.”
Maria Sharapova on her suspension from tennis following a positive doping test

“To me, her declaration forms would be huge in her innocence and intent…The fact that she never once wrote [the drug] down even though she tested positive multiple times in 2015 and twice in 2016 is very incriminating to me.”
— Former No. 1 Lindsay Davernport speaking to USA Today on Maria Sharapova’s two-year doping ban

“We will miss your spirit and humanity. You were shunned, excoriated and jailed for the same reason that made you a hero…”
Martina Navratilova on the passing of Muhammad Ali


Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

Featured_TV graphicFriday
5am-2pm — ATP Stuttgart, WTA/ATP ‘s-Hertogenbosch (live), Tennis Channel

5am-12:30pm — ATP Stuttgart, WTA/ATP ‘s-Hertogenbosch (live), Tennis Channel

6-10:30am — ATP Stuttgart, WTA/ATP ‘s-Hertogenbosch (live), Tennis Channel
11am-4pm — ATP Stuttgart, WTA/ATP ‘s-Hertogenbosch (replay), Tennis Channel