October 28th, 2016

Friday Tennis Blog: Surprise Names at 2017 BNP Paribas Showdown, New Format; Fed Cup, More

Friday Blog


Stadium court at the Royal Lahaina Resort

Stadium court at the Royal Lahaina Resort

Hawaii proved lucky this past April for the U.S. Fed cup team when they defeated Poland 4-0 to climb back into World Group I, so the squad will return to the Island on Feb. 11-12, 2017, when the U.S. hosts Germany in the first round at Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui.

Germany is expected to front world No. 1 Angelique Kerber, with other potential team members including Laura Siegemund (ranked No. 31), Annika Beck (54), Julia Goerges (55), and Andrea Petkovic (57). Depending on schedules and injuries, the U.S. will hope to counter with some combination of top singles players Serena Williams, Madison Keys and Venus Williams. Hawaii is the first state to host a Fed Cup match in consecutive years.

It will be the first meeting between the two nations since 2011 when Germany’s Goerges and Petkovic swept a Williams-sister-less team 5-0. The winner of the tie will advance to play either the Czech Republic or Spain in the World Group semifinals. Tickets go on sale Nov. 18 at www.usta.com/fedcup.


bnp-paribas-showdownThe BNP Paribas Showdown will celebrate 10 years on March 6, 2017, when Americans Venus Williams and Jack Sock are joined by former US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro, Kei Nishikori, Nick Kyrgios, and French Open champ Garbine Muguruza at Madison Square Garden for the exhibition in New York City.

Sock, the new American No. 1-ranked player, will face the enigmatic Kyrgios, who is currently suspended by the ATP World Tour for “tanking” a match where he did not give his best effort. Del Potro will face Nishikori, and Venus Williams will play Muguruza. A “legends” match-up TBD will be included.

“We’ll also be including some twists on the traditional tennis format that will allow fans to see more action than ever before in a more compact schedule,” says event creator Jerry Solomon. The event will be part of “World Tennis Day,” the global tennis participation effort highlighting the game and kid-friendly modified equipment for players age 10 and under.


Kuzy shows her no-look hairdressing skills during a WTA Finals match

Kuzy shows her no-look hairdressing skills during a WTA Finals match

Russian and former world No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova gained world media attention this week at the WTA Finals for cutting off part of her ponytail during a match when it was bothering her. “I thought, ‘what’s more important? My hair, which can grow, or the match?’” Kuznetsova told BBC Sport…Of the Top 50 women players, only three have female coaches…Former No. 1 Jimmy Connors has offered Nick Kyrgios his coaching expertiseGael Monfils on Thursday became the sixth player to qualify for the ATP year-end championships where he will make his debut, with only two spots left…Tennis betting issues, match-fixing allegations and their side effects aren’t going away. Tennis was the top sport for suspicious betting red flags earlier this year in Europe. Players are getting tired of being lambasted by losing tennis betters on social media, and now the No. 2-ranked Israeli players says all players at some point have been bribed to throw matches.


Isner the Lone American Entering the Weekend in Vienna

John_IsnerJohn Isner is into the quarterfinals at the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna, Austria, where on Friday he will meet No. 1 seed Andy Murray.

Murray on Thursday fought through a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Frenchman Gilles Simon. Isner, who will be on a day’s rest, Wednesday beat Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7-6(1), 3-6, 7-6(2).

Jack Sock and Donald Young were the last two Americans to exit the Swiss Indoors Basel on Thursday. The No. 8-seeded Sock was upset 6-3, 6-1 by Spain’s Marcel Granollers, while Young gave No. 1 Stan Wawrinka a pre-Halloween fright before eventually succumbing 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4.

American Madison Keys needed a win in her final round robin match at the WTA Finals on Thursday to advance into the semifinals, no easy task due to her opponent. Keys fell 6-3, 6-3 to world No. 1 Angelique Kerber, finishing with a 1-2 round robin record in her first-ever appearance in the WTA Finals.

“I think today I, again, played with nerves,” the American said. “I have to learn to separate my feelings and emotions when I’m in a high-stress situation. It’s something I need to work on.”


They Said It

agassi-charter-school-opening“[A lot of children] don’t have a nurturing environment that can help give them a future of their choosing. And that sent me on a path towards building my own K-12 charter school in Las Vegas, which eventually led to me building a model that can be scaled across the United States…It is our 69th school, and no plans on stopping.”
Andre Agassi on opening another charter school, in Washington, D.C., speaking to WUSA9 TV

“A lot of things learned through sport are transferable into other aspects of life. I certainly found that the skills I’ve acquired playing tennis have been beneficial to my business career. One key lesson I’ve learned, which applies far beyond the court, is to treat each point separately.”
— Billionaire and tennis enthusiast Richard Branson, speaking to CNBC

“It’s not a bad thing. It happens to a lot of people. People figure it out. Obviously I’m not the best at it at 21. Hopefully there are a couple more years to figure that out.”
Madison Keys on feeling the nerves in her first appearance at the year-end WTA Finals


Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

1:30am — WTA Finals (live), Tennis Channel
7am — Coverage of ATP Basel, Vienna, WTA Finals (live), Tennis Channel

1:30am — WTA Finals (live), Tennis Channel
8am — Coverage of ATP Basel, Vienna, WTA Finals (live), Tennis Channel

6am — WTA Finals Singles Semis (live), Tennis Channel
8am — Coverage of ATP Basel, Vienna, WTA Finals (live), Tennis Channel