July 17th, 2015

Friday Tennis Blog: Are U.S. Boys No. 1 After French, Wimbledon Titles? Also Tomic Arrested, Serena Withdraws

Friday Blog

From left: Michael Mmoh and Reilly Opelka


Help is on the way for American men’s tennis as the U.S. boys have been absolutely tearing-up the junior slam circuit, along with the international junior rankings in 2015. Reilly Opelka last week at Wimbledon was the second consecutive U.S. boys’ champ at the All England Club after Noah Rubin in 2014. American Tommy Paul beat fellow American and world No. 1-ranked Taylor Fritz in the final of the French Open a month earlier. In all, U.S. boys have won three out of the last five slams, and consecutive slam titles for the first time since 1977 (John McEnroe at the French Juniors, and Van Winitsky winning the Wimbledon and US Open Juniors that year). The next year saw six Americans in the ATP year-end Top 10, including McEnroe for the first time. “This is a very encouraging sign for the future of American men’s tennis,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman following Wimbledon. “Reilly, of course, deserves congratulations…but I’m also very pleased to see the whole group of American juniors playing well and pushing each other.”


mojjoDid you know that top players at tournaments such as Wimbledon receive DVDs that allow them to watch, say, only their forehand errors, or backhand winners? That’s a step (and a half) beyond a “smart” racquet that tells you roughly how fast your swing was, with varied accuracy. But now a French company, Mojjo, is trying to perfect Hawkeye-like technology with only one camera that can be used on any court. There are still bugs, but when ironed out it will even include detailed match stats e-mailed to you. “Now that I’ve experienced what very few players have, it’s been hard to go back,” says author Carl Bialik of fivethirtyeight.com after testing the system. “Each match uncharted feels like a lost opportunity to learn more about my game — including just how ugly my backhand is.


sharapova head

‘Ask me another question about the Wimbledon final. I dare you.’

Serena Williams has such a large lead at No. 1 on the WTA Rankings that if you split her ranking points in two, she could be ranked first and second ahead of No. 2 Maria Sharapova…The US Open men’s and women’s winners will receive $3,300,000 each as prize money has increased roughly 10 percent for 2015…On the equality front, Florida’s Vince Spadea tweeted last week, “PGA has 80 players making $1million+ for 2015 so far. ATP tennis has 9 players. hmmm. #SpreadTheWealth”…The USTA Boys’ 18 Hard Court Championships on Aug. 1-9 in Kalamazoo, Mich., with a US Open main draw wild card on the line for the winner, will feature an all-star line-up with ITF World No. 1 junior Taylor Fritz, French Open junior champion Tommy Paul, Wimbledon junior champion Reilly Opelka, ITF No. 3 Michael Mmoh, No. 10 William Blumberg, and Frances Tiafoe and Stefan Kozlov among others…Aussie Bernard Tomic competed at the ATP Newport Hall of “Shame” Championships, according to a typo in a Tennis Australia communication…Then Tomic was arrested last night in MiamiRafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic got heated during Wimbledon defending their “cheating,” communicating with their coaches during matches against ATP rules…The USTA US Open Wild Card Challenge, where American players can earn a US Open wild card, kicked off this week for the women and next week for the men.

Americans Ram, Sock, Tatishvili Into Weekend at ATP/WTA Events; Serena Withdraws in Sweden

American Rajeev Ram

American Rajeev Ram

Three U.S. players remain alive moving into the weekend at both ATP and WTA events as of Friday.

At the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on grass in Newport, R.I., unseeded American Rajeev Ram continued his run with a 2-6, 7-6(8), 7-6(2) upset over No. 5-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France, saving two match points in the process.

“Mannarino is such a tough opponent because he absorbs pace so well,” said Ram, a former Newport winner ranked No. 161 entering the event. “I could hit through the court a bit here with my forehand, so I tried to find way to break him down.”

Ram in the first round toppled No. 1 seed and fellow American John Isner. In the semifinals Ram with meet another unsseded streaking player, Aussie John Patrick Smith who earlier in the tournament upset No. 3-seeded countryman Bernard Tomic. Also on Thursday No. 6-seeded Sam Querrey lost the continuation of a rain-delayed match 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 against Dustin Brown, who had upset Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

In the Friday quarterfinals Brown will face No. 2 seed Ivo Karlovic, and American No. 4 seed Jack Sock will square off against Czech qualifier Jan Hernych.

Also alive at the Bucharest Open in Romania is American Anna Tatishvili, who on Thursday advanced into the quarterfinals when No. 5 seed Alexandra Dulgheru retired in their match trailing 2-5 with injury. In the Friday quarterfinals she will face No. 1 seed Sara Errani.

World No. 1 Serena Williams withdrew from the WTA event in Bastad, Sweden on Thursday, one day after winning her first round match, citing elbow pain.

“I felt it a little bit in my match yesterday, and then it got better, but then this morning I really couldn’t hit serves, and if I’m not able to hit serves that could definitely be a problem,” she said. “Unfortunately I haven’t had time to heal. I’ve been going, going, going, playing tournaments I love, and coming here has been such a great joy, but unfortunately it’s not going to heal if I keep playing.”

They Said It

serena-superwoman-197x300“It’s easy to say, ‘But Serena’s better than everyone so this is normal.’ This is not normal at all. She could have lost so many matches at Australia, at Roland Garros, at Wimbledon, and she every time found a way, but it’s a tremendous effort, tremendous. That’s why I feel sometimes people don’t realize how incredible this it.”
Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou on the 33-year-old becoming the oldest player to win a Slam, and completing the first three legs of a calendar-year Grand Slam by winning Wimbledon

“Honestly, when I first went pro, I doubted myself a lot. I didn’t think I was good enough. A lot of people said I was, but I didn’t believe it.”
— 22-year-old American Denis Kudla, the only American man to reach week two at Wimbledon, on turning pro at age 16

“I’ve worked really hard — I wouldn’t say my whole career — but the past two years, definitely, I have dedicated myself and sacrificed a lot of things to put in the time in the gym, on the court, and take time away from other things.”
— Wimbledon quarterfinalist CoCo Vandeweghe speaking to the New York Times on less In-N-Out burger trips and more of a focus on fitness

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(times subject to change)

7am — Center Court, various coverage (live), Tennis Channel
1-5pm — ATP Newport (live), Tennis Channel
5-8pm — WTA Bastad (delay), Tennis Channel
8-11pm — Davis Cup GRB vs. FRA (delay), Tennis Channel

7am — Center Court, various coverage (live), Tennis Channel
2-6pm — ATP Newport (live), Tennis Channel
7-8pm — Newport Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Tennis Channel
8-10pm — WTA Bastad (delay), Tennis Channel

7am — Center Court, various coverage (live), Tennis Channel
2-4pm — ATP Newport (live), Tennis Channel
6-8pm — WTA Bastad (delay), Tennis Channel
8-11pm — Davis Cup GRB vs. FRA (delay), Tennis Channel