January 6th, 2017
Friday Tennis Blog: The USTA National Campus’ Busy Opening Week in Orlando
‘FIRST SERVE’ HIT AT USTA NATIONAL CAMPUS
Former stars Chris Evert, Jim Courier and James Blake were among other players and dignitaries in attendance on Thursday morning when the USTA national body hosted a ceremonial “First Serve” to christen the new USTA National Campus in Orlando. The new 100-court “Home of American Tennis” holds its first event today, the USTA Florida Combo 18 & Over 6.5/8.5 League Championships.
The campus combines all USTA participation programs and USTA Player Development in a central location for the first time. More than 100 international, national and local events and tournaments already are scheduled at the world-class facility in 2017. Open to the public, the tennis center will serve the Orlando community by providing year-round programs for all levels of play. The campus, part of the Lake Nona Sports & Performance District, will also serve the epicenter for tennis innovation, allowing opportunities for the testing of new and emerging technologies.
“To see it come to fruition, it’s magical,” said Jim Courier, who grew up in the Orlando area and has a home in Lake Nona. “This is, without a doubt, the very best tennis facility standing in the world today.”
RODDICK, COURIER, BLAKE, MCENROE AT ORLANDO POWERSHARES
Andy Roddick defeated Orlando resident Jim Courier 6-4 to win the PowerShares Series’ Champions Showdown Orlando Thursday night at the Amway Center, topping a big day of tennis in the Orlando area.
Courier fell to 0-5 in career PowerShares play against Roddick, who won his 14th overall PowerShares title. “When you can’t get the ball any more, you slice more often,” said Roddick of his oft-used backhand slice. “It’s probably improved since I stopped playing (on tour). It’s a virtue of me being slow now.”
Roddick in his semifinal beat James Blake 6-3, while Courier topped a fiery John McEnroe 7-5, with the players making their own line calls aided by electronic line calling challenges.
Serena Williams made her 2017 WTA debut this week in Auckland, the week after announcing an engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian…Roger Federer has never seen a Star Wars movie and answered other fan questions on a live Periscope chat…If you’ve got enough cash you can now sit on the court as a spectator at the Australian Open…Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic announced last month she is retiring due to chronic injury…Madison Keys (wrist surgery) and Juan Martin del Potro (general recovery) will miss the January Australian swing on tour…Venus Williams won her opening-round match this week at Auckland but then withdrew from the tournament citing an arm injury…A stadium that once hosted the ATP World Tour Finals is being torn down to make room for a lazy river…The reigning Australian Open junior champion has been charged with match-fixing…Florida-trained 12-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff, the recent Junior Orange Bowl winner, is on ESPN’s radar as a next potential great.
Americans Davis, Riske Into WTA Quarterfinals
Lauren Davis and Alison Riske are the two remaining Americans alive entering the weekend at WTA tour events in Auckland, New Zealand and Shenzhen, China respectively.
The unseeded Davis on Thursday advanced into the Auckland quarterfinals after upsetting No. 4-seeded Barbora Strycova 6-1, 7-6(4).
Unseeded American Madison Brengle was the story of the early week in Auckland after upsetting Serena Williams in three sets. Brengle was beaten on Thursday 7-5, 6-3 by No. 7 seed Jelena Ostapenko, who Davis will next meet.
The No. 8-seeded Riske on Thursday upset No. 1-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who had beaten her in last year’s Shenzhen final, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.
“That’s what Aga does — she’s there for every single point — so I felt that I had to match her in that regard,” Riske said. “I also tried to keep my energy high, and I think that I did a good job of that today.”
In the Friday quarterfinals Riske will face unseeded Italian Camila Giorgi.
They Said It
“I think she’s just surprised how bad I am.”
— American Madison Brengle, joking with her coach during an on-court coaching visit, en route to upsetting Serena Williams in three sets earlier this week in Auckland
“Eighty-eight is way too many unforced errors. You can’t expect to win hitting that many errors.”
— Serena Williams after losing to Madison Brengle in her second match this week at the WTA event in Auckland
“I think right now the game is bigger business. There’s more money, there’s more media, and there’s social media which means you can’t do anything in private anymore. Everybody knows everything about your life. I think that adds more pressure.”
— Chris Evert speaking to CNN on the modern game
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
4-8am — Hopman Cup, Tennis Channel
8:30am-2pm — ATP Doha, Tennis Channel
8pm — ATP Brisbane, Tennis Channel
6-10am — ATP Brisbane, Tennis Channel
10am-noon — ATP Doha (final), Tennis Channel
noon-6pm — Hopman Cup (final), Tennis Channel
6:30-11pm — ATP Auckland, Tennis Channel