January 16th, 2015

Friday Tennis Blog: U.S. Draws at Aussie Open, More

Friday Blog
From left: 2014 Us Open National Playoffs-Florida women's finalist Emma DeCoste and champion Liz Jeukeng

From left: 2014 US Open National Playoffs-Florida women’s finalist Emma DeCoste and champion Liz Jeukeng

MEN’S, WOMEN’S DOUBLES ADDED TO 2015 US OPEN NATIONAL PLAYOFFS — In 2015 the US Open National Playoffs will again allow any player 14 years or older a chance to say they’ve competed for the biggest title in pro tennis, but this year with a twist. In addition to men’s and women’s singles and mixed doubles, the US Open National Playoffs events offered in USTA Sections across the U.S. this summer will additionally offer men’s and women’s doubles — with the national tournament winners earning main draw spots in the US Open doubles. Last year at the Florida Section event on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Tampa’s Jeff Dadamo won the men’s title for the second time, Boca Raton 18-year-old Liz Jeukeng captured the women’s title over 14-year-old Emma DeCoste of Stuart, Fla., and Brittany Dubins and Billy Federhofer of Miami won the mixed title. Now for the sixth year, any player from adult club to high school, USTA League to juniors and teaching pros, any player can take their shot at reaching Flushing Meadows and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. More info coming this spring…

Nishikori TIMEALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD — Can you imagine an influential tennis player rising to the point of making the cover of TIME magazine? That’s what happened in Asia this week as TIME featured rising star Kei Nishikori, who has changed the game’s profile in Asia since making the final of the US Open. “Kei is one of the few players that I’d pay money to see play,” Andre Agassi told the publication. “He’s one of the greatest shotmakers in the game, so I don’t see why he can’t proceed further [up the rankings].” The article probes the Florida-trained Nishikori’s un-Japanese-like aggressive court style and American upbringing, with Nishikori discussing spending much of his formative years in the U.S. and having a hard time relaxing in Japan. His father said, “Japanese tennis players have not been very successful because their individualism is weak compared to overseas players.”

, the controversial head of the Russian Tennis Federation who has been blacklisted by the U.S. Visa Service for “relations with the Russian mafia” and last year referred to Serena and Venus Williams as the “Williams brothers” is again in the news. Last year Russia through military intervention took the Crimean Peninsula from the Ukraine, and now Tarpishchev says the annexed area should become Russia’s new professional development training site. Crimea “beats all of Europe in terms of climate conditions” for tennis, allowing players to train year-round, he told Russian newspapers. The move would reportedly need a cash infusion, something Russian tennis has found hard to come by in past years since Tarpishchev no longer has high-ranking tennis-loving government officials such as his pal and former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, for who he served as personal tennis coach in the 1990s when Russian tennis flourished.

American Women Hopping in Hobart; Australian Open Draws

The Hobart International in Australia almost lined-up an all-American final on Friday, as one American moved into the championship match while another was edged in the semifinals.

U.S. 5-foot-4 tournament qualifier Madison Brengle (pictured below) will appear in her first WTA final after defeating Kurumi Nara 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the semifinals. In the final she will meet Britain’s Heather Watson, who in her semi defeated American Alison Riske 6-3, 7-5 after the two players weathered six rain delays.

“It’s definitely not great conditions to play tennis and it was never going to be a very pretty match,” Watson said. “I think the goal for Alison and me today was just to get the ball in and not go for free points.”

Australian Open U.S. Draws

Here are the men’s and women’s first-round main draw match-ups for Americans at next week’s Australian Open in Melbourne:


(1) Serena Williams vs. Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL)
(18) Venus Williams vs. Maria Torro-Flor (ESP)
(30) Varvara Lepchenko vs. Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS)
Taylor Townsend vs. (8) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Madison Brengle vs. (13) Andrea Petkovic (GER)
Grace Min vs. (14) Sara Errani (ITA)
Madison Keys vs. Lesia Tsurenko (UKR)
CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Francesca Schiavone (ITA)
Sloane Stephens vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
Nicole Gibbs vs. Olivia Rogowska (AUS)
Irina Falconi vs. Kaia Kanepi (EST)
Lauren Davis vs. Aleksandra Krunic (SRB)
Shelby Rogers vs. Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)
Alison Riske vs. Oceane Dodin (FRA)
Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Ying-Ying Duan (CHN)
Christina McHale vs. qualifier


(19) John Isner vs. qualifier
Denis Kudla vs. (12) Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
Donald Young vs. qualifier
Sam Querrey vs. Vasek Pospisil (CAN)
Steve Johnson vs. qualifier

They Said It

Serena bastad 2013“Well, it’s no secret. I’m going for the gusto. I’m going to try to catch up with Steffi (Graf, who won 22 Grand Slam titles). But right now I’m really focused on 19, which will begin in Australia. Whether I get there or not, I don’t know. But I know if I get to 19, the second it happens I will be thinking of 20.”
Serena Williams speaking to ESPN

“It only makes sense that the former champions would pass on that knowledge. You can’t learn that in a book what Lindsay [Davenport] went through, what Billie Jean King went through, what I went through, what Chrissie Evert went through — winning these Grand Slams and being No. 1 and all that.”
Martina Navratilova, the new coach of Aggie Radwanska, on the influx of “super coaches” on the ATP and WTA tours

“I was on the train. I was going to play golf…I was minding my own business and this guy walks up to me and goes, ‘Are you Rory McIlroy?’ I looked up and he was being serious! He couldn’t believe that he’d met Rory McIlroy. I said I wasn’t Rory McIlroy and he looked at me and walked off. So we play golf, then I get back on the train to go back to London. A voice says, ‘Are you Rory McIlroy?’ I look up and it’s the same guy! I said, ‘No.’ Then he said, ‘Are you Jamie Murray?’ I said, ‘Yes!’ He said, ‘Are you sure you’re Jamie Murray?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Do you ever get mistaken for Rory McIlroy?’ I said, ‘No…’ He looks at me again, looks out the window and he just walks away. Never to be seen again. It’s the two most surreal episodes of my life!”
— Doubles specialist Jamie Murray, brother of Andy Murray, on the last time he was asked if he is a tennis player

Tennis on TV This Weekend
(times subject to change)

TV multi colorFriday
5-7pm — WTA Sydney final (delay), Tennis Channel

7pm — Australian Open (live), ESPN2
10pm-12am — ATP Sydney final (delay), Tennis Channel