August 3rd, 2018

Friday Tennis Blog: Venus Leads 4 Americans Into Weekend; Investing in Tennis; More

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NATIONAL ATHLETIC CLUB GOING ALL-IN ON TENNIS

For those lifetime Floridians this is known as an “indoor court”

While tennis growth overall has been relatively flat the last couple years, participation is not in a free fall like other sports competing with video games, social media and the myriad of other distractions in the U.S. landscape. Adult tennis participation is slightly down, but youth is up, due to industry initiatives like the USTA’s Net Generation.

Life Time Athletic operates 320 tennis courts in 30 U.S. markets, including Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale, and Life Time Tennis Director Ajay Pant is doubling-down on tennis. “No one has invested the kind of money we have in building tennis courts and [in programming],” Pant told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. “We have to get new players in the game [and] we have a couple of new programs that are designed to do just that.”

The most recent data by the Physical Activity Council shows that total U.S. tennis participation fell 2.2 percent from 2016 to 2017, but youth play is up in the 6-12 and 13-17 age groups, and “new” youth players were up 6.2 percent. Tennis’ five-year  annual growth maintains an increase at a little under 1 percent, with Cardio Tennis up 4.5 percent. The 2018 tennis “state of the industry report” will be released by the TIA around the time of the US Open later this month.

 

WTA AND ATP STARS COME OUT NEXT WEEK AT ROGERS CUP


The US Open Series kicks into high gear next week north of the U.S. when the men’s (Toronto) and women’s (Montreal) Rogers Cup begins in Canada.

The women’s field will include all Top 25 players, including No. 4 Sloane Stephens, No. 9 Venus Williams, No. 11 Madison Keys, and No. 16 CoCo Vandeweghe, while Serena Williams will receive a wild card. The men’s field will contain nine of the Top 10 players (sans the resting Roger Federer), including No. 10-ranked American John Isner.

Elina Svitolina is the defending women’s champion, and three-time champion Serena Williams (2013, ’11, ’01) is the lone American winner in the last 26 years. Alexander Zverev is the defending men’s champ, with an American looking to raise the trophy for the first time since Andy Roddick in 2003. All-day every-day coverage of the tournament will be spread between Tennis Channel, beIN Sports and ESPN2.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Security camera footage of James Blake being thrown to the ground and handcuffed outside the US Open players’ hotel in 2015

James Blake unloaded on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio after learning that the officer that slammed him to the ground at the 2015 US Open in a case of mistaken identity was in a departmental trial he wasn’t made aware of. Blake also noted the lack of punishment to the officer for the incident. “[Officer James] Frascatore’s employment with the NYPD should be terminated and he should not be allowed to sully the badge that so many other good cops wear with honor,” Blake told the New York Post. “The baseless claims made by  Frascatore against me in the departmental trial are a desperate attempt to justify his unjustifiable and abusive use of force against me back in 2015.”…beIN Sports, the WTA tour’s primary broadcast partner, asked Comcast for more money, so Comcast dropped them from their line-up…27-year-old American Gail Brodsky won the $60K USTA Pro Circuit event in Ashland, Ky., after returning from the birth of her second child, and now leads the US Open Wild Card Challenge point standings…With John Isner’s victory in Atlanta last week he joined Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi as the only American men to win a tournament five times or more…Sept. 15 is the deadline for sanctioning USTA Florida junior tournaments for 2019…The USTA Florida Section Foundation’s latest grant cycle opened this week and runs through Oct. 31. For info on equipment grants, program support grants or facility assistance grants click here.

 

Venus Leads 4 Americans Charging Into Weekend Play at San Jose, Washington

Photo: Ash Marshall

Florida’s Venus Williams and former NCAA champion Danielle Collins are American hopes into the quarterfinals at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., after the No. 3-seeded Venus on Thursday overwhelmed Britain’s Heather Watson in the third set 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.

Almost joining the two in the quarters was former US Open girls’ champion and teen qualifier Amanda Anisimova, who came up just short in an upset bid against No. 5 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu 7-5, 2-6, 6-1.

“It was not an easy match because she’s such a young player,” Buzarnescu said of the 16-year-old Anisimova. “She’s from the new generation, and I’m from the old one, and I knew the pressure would be on me because she has nothing to lose.”

Defending champion Madison Keys withdrew from the tournament Thursday citing pain in her surgically-repaired wrist. Venus on Friday will square off against Greece’s unseeded Maria Sakkari, while Collins will face former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.

Floridian qualifier Allie Kiick is into the quarterfinals at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., where on Friday she will face China’s Saisai Zheng. Kiick is the last American standing in the nation’s capital after Jennifer Brady lost on Thursday to No. 8 seed Yulia Putintseva 7-5, 6-2.

Unseeded Denis Kudla was the only U.S. male emerging from a busy Thursday in Washington, D.C., that saw five American men exit. A number of players doubled-up on matches Thursday to make up for rained-out meetings earlier in the week.

Kudla upset No. 6-seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille in a marathon 7-5, 6-7(6), 7-6(5). He survived a U.S. exodus that included No. 13 Frances Tiafoe falling to No. 3 David Goffin 6-0, 6-3; wild card Noah Rubin losing to No. 16 Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-2 after earlier in the day upsetting fellow American and No. 2 seed John Isner 6-4, 7-6(4); No. 11 Steve Johnson upset by Aussie Alex de Minaur 6-4, 7-5; and wild card Tommy Paul earlier in the day losing to Rublev 7-6(5), 6-4.

Kudla in the Friday quarterfinals will face Rublev.

Also on Thursday American Michael Mmoh, competing at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemax ATP stop in Los Cabos, Mexico, fell to No. 3 seed Damir Dzumhur 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

To see Friday’s broadcast schedule for San Jose and Washington see the weekend TV listing below.

 

They Said It

“I am really concerned that not enough thought is being given to [on-court coaching], and that it’s not evidence based. Wimbledon feels fundamentally that tennis is an individual sport. It’s a gladiatorial contest. It’s one of the things that makes tennis not unique but certainly the exception in world sport, and long may it continue. I hope it is not introduced because it’s a commercial opportunity, because that’s a short-term view.”
— Wimbledon CEO Richard Lewis on on-court coaching, speaking to the New York Times

“I’ve always been very soft personally. A lot of people, unfortunately, never get to see that side of me because they always see me pumping my fist when I’m on the court.”
Serena Williams speaking to the San Jose Mercury News

“I never really look at the draw. Sometimes I don’t even know who I’m playing in the next round until someone tells me because, for me, a lot of the times it doesn’t really matter. You don’t need to break the draw down because no one knows what’s going to happen.”
Madison Keys

 

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

Friday
2pm — ATP/WTA Washington (live), Tennis Channel
3pm — WTA San Jose (live), ESPN3 streaming
9:30pm — ATP Los Cabos (live), beIN Sports Espanol
10pm — WTA San Jose (live), ESPN3 streaming

Saturday

noon — ATP/WTA Washington (live), Tennis Channel
4pm — WTA San Jose (live), ESPN2
7pm — ATP/WTA Washington (live), Tennis Channel
9:30pm — ATP Los Cabos (live), beIN Sports & beIN Espanol
10pm — WTA San Jose (live), ESPN2

Sunday

12:30pm — ATP Washington doubles (live), Tennis Channel
3pm — ATP Washington (live), Tennis Channel
5pm — WTA Washington (live), Tennis Channel
5pm — WTA San Jose (live), ESPN2
11pm — ATP Los Cabos (live), beIN Sports

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