July 27th, 2018
Friday Tennis Blog: US Open Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Line-Up; Tinder for Tennis? More
FULL GROUNDS FESTIVAL AT 2018 ARTHUR ASHE KIDS DAY
Those looking to attend the Aug. 25th 2018 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day powered by Net Generation this year will see an expanded AAKD Grounds Festival featuring 14 Net Generation tennis courts, interactive skill games throughout the grounds, and families can watch the pros practice on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand, Court 17 and Practice Courts 1-5.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Angelique Kerber, and Madison Keys are among the players that will participate, plus live performances from Echosmith, In Real Life, and a performance of “Shine” by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and more.
“Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, and the USTA’s Net Generation, help fulfill Arthur’s mission of promoting the sport of tennis to young people and continue Arthur’s vision of instilling the values of humanitarianism, leadership and academic excellence,” said Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. Stadium show tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster (1-866-OPEN-TIX), www.usopen.org and at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office. General admission promenade tickets cost $10 and loge tickets are $25. The event will also broadcast nationally on ABC on Sunday, Aug. 26, from 2-3 p.m. EST.
ATP CHALLENGER TOUR 2019 REVISION RAMPS UP PLAYER SUPPORT
Ahead of the ITF’s 2019 revision of the lower levels of pro tennis, the ATP this week announced changes to the uppermost level of the minor leagues of pro tennis, the ATP Challenger Tour, to make it easier for players to earn a living as they attempt to rise in the pro ranks.
Next year ATP Challenger Tour draw sizes will be increased from 32 to 48 at all events, with all players earning prize money, ATP ranking points and free accommodations. The ATP expects to double the number of players currently able to make a living at that level. “We want to have more players earn more money and have less expense and to be able to earn a living, not only if you’re Top 100 or 150,” Ross Hutchins, the chief player officer of the ATP Tour, told ESPN. “We want to really expand it out to 250 to 300 players earning a good living and not having huge expense costs. That’s our longer-term goal over a five-year plan.”
Tournaments will be rebranded as ATP Challenger 70, 80, 95, 110 and 125, according to prize money, as the ATP World Tour currently does with its 250, 500 and 1000 events. The ATP says its changes are in line with the ITF and its plans for a Transition Tour for events below the Challenger level.
The Lab, the free online conference series Powered by Net Generation, will on Aug. 2 feature UCF women’s coach Bryan Koniecko on Preparing Junior Players for Collegiate Tennis…In the UK there’s a “Tinder for tennis“…The French Open, the only Slam without a retractable roof on its show court, has begun tearing down much of Philippe Chatrier stadium for its roof rebuild…Mercedes-Benz USA announced Sloane Stephens is the brand’s newest global ambassador, and provided her with a 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 S Coupe…Uniglo has released a five-piece Roger Federer clothing collection…The film “John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection” will debut prior to the US Open next month…Florida junior players brought in a haul of titles during last week’s national clay court championships.
Top-seeded Isner Leading U.S. Charge in Atlanta
John Isner and Ryan Harrison are Americans remaining in the title hunt at the BB&T Atlanta Open after U.S. players had a tough go of it on Thursday.
Americans were 0-3 in the round of 16 on Thursday as No. 2 seed Nick Kyrgios fought off a spirited challenge from qualifier Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-2, No. 4 Matthew Ebden defeated wild card Donald Young 6-4, 6-4, and 33-year-old veteran Marcos Baghdatis upset No. 5 seed Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 6-1.
“I always feel comfortable playing here,” said the former Atlanta winner Kyrgios, who had 15 aces against Rubin. “Obviously had a fair bit of success here. I just feel comfortable. The court suits my game style. I can serve well, I can make a couple of returns and play aggressively.”
In the Friday quarterfinals the top-seeded Isner will face No. 7 seed Mischa Zverev, and the No. 8 Harrison will meet No. 3 Hyeon Chung.
Isner is attempting a fifth career Atlanta title, and has reached the final in seven of the last eight years. The Friday quarterfinal matches will be streamed live on ESPN3.
They Said It
“She’s the LeBron James of tennis — if Lebron James carried a baby for nine months.”
— Comedian Michelle Wolf on Serena Williams reaching the Wimbledon final
“I have to talk to [U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim] Courier about that. It could very well be a very tough ask of me to go over to Croatia. I’m going to play that one by ear.”
— John Isner on the birth of his first daughter this fall possibly effecting his US Open and Davis Cup participation
“It will be impossible for me not to feel some kind of way about that.”
— Serena Williams responding to an article stating she has been drug-tested more than any other player on tour in 2018
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
5am — ATP Hamburg (live), Tennis Channel
11:30am — WTA Nanchung/Moscow (live), beIN Sports
noon — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN3
8pm — World TeamTennis Washington Kastles vs. Philadelphia Freedoms (live), Tennis Channel
8pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN3
6am — ATP Hamburg (live), Tennis Channel
11am — WTA Moscow (live), beIN Sports
3pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN3
7pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN2
9am — ATP Hamburg (live), Tennis Channel
5pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN2