July 17th, 2014

Friday Tennis Blog: US Open Series Preview; Serena Regroups

Friday Blog

Emirates-Airline-to-sponsor-US-Open-Series-BB10LKCP-x-largeROAD TO US OPEN KICKS OFF IN ATLANTA — Get ready for wall-to-wall TV tennis coverage starting next week when the Emirates Airline US Open Series kicks off with the men’s BB&T Atlanta Open. Florida’s John Isner will be the top seed in Atlanta, and wildcards have been granted to Florida’s Ryan Harrison and Georgia’s Robby Ginepri. Defending their US Open Series titles from 2013 will be Rafael Nadal (won Canada and Cincinnati, going undefeated in US Open Series play) and Serena Williams (won Canada, Cincinnati runner-up). A new wrinkle added for the 2014 series will see any player who competes and earns points in at least three Series events will have his or her points doubled. Serena will be the odds-on favorite to repeat in 2014, with a schedule that includes Stanford, Canada and Cincinnati. Here is the full US Open Series schedule leading to Flushing Meadows:

July 21 — ATP Atlanta
July 28 — ATP Washington, WTA Stanford
Aug. 4 — ATP Toronto, WTA Montreal
Aug. 11 — ATP/WTA Cincinnati
Aug. 17 — ATP Winston-Salem, WTA New Haven
Aug. 25 — US Open

Maria in glam mode at the ESPYs

Maria in glam mode at the ESPYs

SERENA, VENUS, MARIA IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS ENTERING U.S. HARDCOURTS — The Florida-dwelling triumvirate of Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova are all doing their own thing prior to the start of the U.S. hardcourt season and the run-up to the all-important final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open. Serena is reportedly in Paris getting herself together, according to her coach, after a non-traditional exit from Wimbledon, her third early Grand Slam exit of the year. On the line for Serena at the US Open will be a 7-year streak where she has at least reached a Grand Slam final, and a 15-year streak where she has reached a quarterfinal or better. Venus is in the states playing World TeamTennis and debuting a new line of workout gear, while Maria and boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov glammed it up this weekend together at ESPN’s awards.

NickSCHEDULE YOUR PLAY DAYS, PLAY EVENTS NOW — The next seven weeks will be saturated with tennis — U.S. hardcourt events on TV leading up to the US Open, and kids and families hitting the courts during the summer. Now is the time to plan to host a Tennis Play Event this September in celebration of Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play across the U.S. Be among the first 2,000 to register a Play Day for kids or a Play Event for the entire family and receive a $50 gift card. Use the power of Nickelodeon to drive parents and kids to www.YouthTennis.com to see your scheduled event and grow local tennis programs. Click here for the full details on how you can host an event to get kids and families on the court in September.

All Quiet for Americans Heading Into US Open Series

Not a lot of U.S. action on tour this week as players rest up for the start of the grueling U.S. summer hardcourt swing.

Only one American remained alive in ATP or WTA play on Thursday in four events on tour when unseeded Grace Min fell to Russian Alexandra Panova 6-2, 6-4 at the Collector Swedish Open in Bastad.

The tournament was notable as all eight seeds exited the event by the second round.

Next week the US Open Series will kick off for the men in Atlanta, while the women delay their U.S. hardcourts start for one week, competing at the Baku Cup in Azerbaijan and the Zhonghong Jiangxi International Women’s Open in Nan Chang, China.

They Said It

From left: Jack Sock and John Isner

From left: Jack Sock and John Isner

“I’m the top-ranked American and it’s my job to…keep guys like this away from me as long as I can.”
— Tampa’s John Isner commentating while interviewing fellow American Jack Sock for the ATP website during the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport

“She reminded me of some bible stories, she has this one story, it’s a long one, about her grass. It’s a confusing story, I couldn’t even explain it. And she was telling me encouraging stuff, like I’ve got this, you can do it, I believe in you, stuff like that. It helps.”
— U.S. junior Gabby Andrews on her grandmother’s encouraging words during tournaments, speaking to www.zootennis.com

“When you’re good in sports in this country, the money comes so fast you don’t even know what to do. But the education has got to be there. When money comes, that’s when people come, too. Managers, advisers. So you should be able to tell them what to do. You should be smarter than them; not them smarter than you.”
Francis Tiafoe Sr., father of U.S. tennis prospect Francis Tiafoe, on the merits of education for tennis players, speaking to the Washington Post

Tennis on TV This Weekend

TV multi colorFriday
6am-2pm — ATP Hamburg (live), Tennis Channel
2-6pm — WTA Bastad (delay), Tennis Channel

9:30am-2pm — ATP Hamburg (live), Tennis Channel
2-6pm — WTA Bastad (delay), Tennis Channel

9-11:30am — ATP Hamburg (live), Tennis Channel
11:30am-1:30pm — WTA Bastad (delay), Tennis Channel
12:30-2:30am — AT Bogota (delay), Tennis Channel