FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK — WE SALUTE THE RISING AMERICAN GIRLS
American girls’ tennis is rockin’ it in 2017. This month Claire Liu defeated Ann Li in the all-American girls’ final at Wimbledon. Last month Liu lost in the French Open girls’ final to Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla.
This week at the $15,000 USTA Pro Circuit women’s tournament in Evansville, Ind., new school met new-in-school when the 15-year-old Osuigwe met Katerina Stewart, the phenom who last year gave up her burgeoning pro tennis career to join the Army. The 20-year-old Stewart won eight USTA Pro Circuit titles before enrolling at the West Point Military Academy Preparatory School where she plans to play for the college team when she becomes eligible possibly next year.
The two met in the first round this week at Evansville, where new school won over new-in-school, as the No. 1,157 WTA-ranked Osuigwe defeated the qualifier Stewart 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(3). The teen Osuigwe has already turned pro. Stewart hopes to re-join the pro tour after completing her service. On Thursday Osuigwe was beaten by the Wimbledon girls’ finalist Li. To tap a baseball term, the U.S. women’s tennis farm team is quite well-stocked for a bright future in the majors.
THE US OPEN WILL MISS THE DJOKER
Former No. 1 Novak Djokovic has shut it down for the year to heal his injured elbow. This is the player who has appeared in six of the last seven US Open finals, and reached 10 straight semifinals.
“My elbow is hurt due to excessive playing, and it troubles me constantly when serving, and now when hitting my forehand as well,” Djokovic said on social media. “All the doctors I’ve consulted, and all the specialists I have visited, in Serbia and all over the world, have agreed that this injury requires rest. A prolonged break from the sport is inevitable. I’ll do whatever it takes to recover.”
Djokovic and his wife Jelena are also expecting their second child. The Serb’s fans hope for a Roger Federer-like recovery after the Swiss ended his season last year at Wimbledon due to injury, then stormed back in 2017. Djokovic adds that his new coach, Andre Agassi, will still be with him when he kicks off his 2018 campaign.
Roger Federer will participate in the 22nd Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Powered by Net Generation the weekend prior to the start of the US Open, competing in the Emirates Airline Performance Challenge on behalf of the Roger Federer Foundation, which works to provide access for African children to high-quality early learning and education…The race for the 2017 USTA Florida League Championship Cup continues this weekend with the USTA Florida 40 & Over 3.5/4.5+ Section Championships at the USTA National Campus in Orlando…The ITF leveled a $10K fine and suspended Romanian Fed Cup captain Ilie Nastase through 2019 from acting in an official capacity at any ITF team competitions or circuit events, excluding Grand Slams, stemming from his actions and comments made in April…On Wednesday the Bryan Bros. Band rocked the stage at the BB&T Atlanta Open…Aussie Bernard Tomic says he feels “trapped” by tennis, and has given 50 percent effort during his career: “I haven’t really tried, and really achieved all this. So just amazing what I’ve done.”…Famed ESPN basketball broadcaster Dick “Dickie V” Vitale, a South Florida resident, just saw his granddaughter win the USTA National 12s Clay Courts…Two decorated former Florida junior players were named national ITA Scholar-Athletes from Florida State University: graduating senior Jake Albo (Plantation, Fla.) maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average while finishing his degree in information technology, and rising senior Gabriella Castaneda (Miramar, Fla.) played at the top of the lineup for the Seminoles while earning a 3.5 GPA…Florida frequently gets pegged as the “weirdest of the weird” states, and this time tennis was added to the weirdness.
Isner Leads 5 Americans in Atlanta Quarterfinals
Fighting through toasty condition in “Hot-lanta,” Friday’s quarterfinals at the BB&T Atlanta Open are truly all-American, as each of the four quarterfinal matches feature an American player (or two).
On Thursday No. 1-seeded Jack Sock, No. 4 Ryan Harrison and wild card Chris Eubanks all moved into the quarterfinals after Sock beat Israel’s Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-3, Harrison came from a set down and saved a match point 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 7-5 against Aussie John Millman, and the Georgia Tech rising senior Eubanks outlasted fellow American and No. 8 seed Jared Donaldson 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
“I love it here,” Harrison said of Atlanta. “I grew up playing all the [USTA] Southern tournaments and being here feels as close to home as it gets. Everybody from the crowd to the DJ is willing to step up and help pull you through when you are down a set and a break.”
On Friday starting at noon on ESPN3 streaming the quarterfinal match-ups will be American qualifier Tommy Paul vs. No. 3 Gilles Muller, No. 2 John Isner vs. Slovak Lukas Lacko, No. 4 Harrison vs. (WC) Eubanks, and in the 8 p.m. match No. 1 Sock vs. No. 5 Kyle Edmund.
They Said It
“I’m going to admit something to you now: I like having a little mystique. I’ve never been someone who wants to be known by everyone, or loved by everyone, or even understood by everyone.”
— Maria Sharapova, writing this week for The Players’ Tribune
“This is not a typical injury. We see this in the NFL and NBA, but I have never operated on a professional tennis player for a ruptured patellar tendon because their footwork and balance are so good. Bethanie’s just too strong for her body. But this is definitely not a career-ender for her.”
— Dr. David Altchek, speaking to the New York Times on Bethanie Mattek-Sands‘ Wimbledon injury and surgery
“These are our crown jewels. We have to handle them properly.”
— ITF President David Haggerty on handling the crown jewels with the Davis Cup and Fed Cup possibly combining finals in 2019
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
5am — ATP Hamburg (live), Tennis Channel
6am — WTA Bastad, Nanchung (live), beIN Sports
12-6pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN3 streaming
8-10pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN3 streaming
6am — ATP Hamburg (live), Tennis Channel
7am — WTA Bastad (live), beIN Sports
3-5pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN2
7-9pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN3 streaming
8am — WTA Bastad (live), beIN Sports
9am — ATP Hamburg (live), Tennis Channel
5pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN2