July 21st, 2017
Friday Tennis Blog: US Open (Series) Mania Begins; Americans in Newport; More
ALL TENNIS ALL THE TIME
Get ready for tennis all day every day when the US Open Series kicks off on Monday with the BB&T Atlanta Open, featuring Americans Jack Sock and John Isner, defending champion Nick Kyrgios, and additional American competitors Ryan Harrison, Donald Young, Frances Tiafoe, Jared Donaldson and Ernesto Escobedo. This is the 14th season of the five-week, seven-event hard court series that culminates with the US Open.
The following week the Bank of the West Classic starts the WTA players on the series, and Week 3 kicks it in high gear with the men and women at the Rogers Cup, otherwise known as the Canadian Open. Week 4 sees the scheduled return of Roger Federer playing for the first time since Wimbledon at Cincinnati, joined by Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and defending champion Marin Cilic, and on the women’s side new No. 1 and defending champion Karolina Pliskova, and former No. 1s Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, and Wimbledon finalist Venus Williams.
ESPN, Tennis Channel and beIN Sports will combine to cover the US Open Series, with more than 80 hours on Tennis Channel, 70 hours on ESPN2, and 140 hours of streaming on ESPN3 from the smaller events during the weekdays. To see the full schedule go to www.usopenseries.com/watch.
US OPEN PRIZE INCREASE SEEKS BETTER BALANCE
Top-heavy prize money distribution in tennis has long been blamed for making the sport hard to crack for young players.
The Top 10 are millionaires, the middle-ranked players are making ends meet, and if you’re ranked outside the Top 100 you’re pocketing little to nothing after paying for travel, lodging and coaching among other expenses. According to the International Tennis Federation, tennis distributes about $280 million in prize money each year with 60 percent going to the top one percent of players on the men’s and women’s tours.
This week the USTA for the upcoming US Open announced record prize money, for the first time topping $50 million, but with a caveat — lower-ranked players will benefit from a roughly 50 percent prize increase in the qualifying tournament, and first-round prize money was increased to $50,000. It’s not the $3.7 million that the men’s and women’s winners will each receive, but it’s a significant increase over the other Slams, and some welcome relief for lower-ranked players trying to survive.
That feeling when you unveil new $3.5 million tennis courts then learn they’re the wrong size…Wimbledon semifinalist Sam Querrey’s secret weapon is yoga…Being a mom on the WTA tour means you’re never off duty, even during a match…This weekend’s USTA Florida Junior Team Tennis Sectional Championships will determine which Florida teams advance to the national championships…Last Monday was the first time in ATP history that the men’s No. 1 does not hold a Slam final appearance in his 52-week (one year) tournament points. Also neither Andy Murray nor new WTA No. 1 Karolina Pliskova have a Slam title to their credit over the last 52 weeks, another first for two tour No. 1s…Roger Federer is now No. 2 in the 2017 points race behind Rafael Nadal, who has 7,095 points to Federer’s 6,545…Former world No. 4 Kimiko Date is ready for another comeback at age 46…Unless plans change, Roger Federer won’t play again until Cincinnati, roughly a month after the Wimbledon final…Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are 1st and 2nd on tour respectively in taking care of their second serves…ESPN will live stream the singles and doubles finals of the USTA Boys’ 12s National Clay Court Championships on ESPN3 and the ESPN app on Saturday beginning with singles at 10 a.m. from the USTA National Campus in Orlando…The ITF says it is putting off its proposed “World Cup of Tennis,” combining the Davis Cup and Fed Cup finals, until 2019…Broward County, last year’s USTA Florida League Championship Cup winner, is back on top thus far in 2017.
3 Americans in Quarterfinals at Newport
Three Americans are in contention for the semifinals on Friday on the grass courts at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport, R.I.
In an all-American quarterfinal meeting top-seeded John Isner will meet Dennis Novikov, and American Bjorn Fratangelo will face No. 4 seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert in another quarterfinal.
“I was disappointed with how Wimbledon went,” Isner said. “But as soon as I got home I continued to work hard and keep myself in shape…I was just eager to play tennis. I’ve always loved playing here…I’ve won this tournament twice before so I have good memories, good feelings.”
The winners of the two matches will meet in the Saturday semifinals.
Coverage of Newport is on Tennis Channel Friday starting at 1 p.m. EST.
They Said It
“Roger is like someone from a film. Kill him and he gets up, so you have to kill him again. You have to kill him about 77 times to win.”
— Former player and coach Goran Ivanisevic writing for The Times of London on Roger Federer
“I don’t think a lot of players could do that. But it makes sense for someone like Novak. He should take six months off.”
— Pat Cash on Novak Djokovic’s elbow and other injury issues in 2017, needing a possible Roger Federer-like sabbatical
“Quite honestly I don’t get the whole royalty thing — in the sense that they’re celebrities on steroids or something.”
— Andre Agassi at Wimbledon, speaking to Hello! magazine
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
1pm — ATP Newport (live), Tennis Channel
5pm — ATP Umag (delay), Tennis Channel
8pm — World TeamTennis (delay), Tennis Channel
11pm — ATP Bastad, Umag, Newport (delay), Tennis Channel
7am — ATP Bastad (live), Tennis Channel
11:30am — Newport Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (live), Tennis Channel
2pm — ATP Newport (live), Tennis Channel
6am — ATP Bastad, Umag, Newport (live), Tennis Channel
10am — WTA Bucharest (live), BeIN Sports