July 25th, 2014

Friday Tennis Blog: Venus Name-Checks Gear; WTA #Winning

Friday Blog

SKORTS BY VENUS — Venus Williams and her “EleVen by Venus” team name-checked a ladies USTA League squad from Coral Springs this week from the USTA Florida Adult 40 & Over League 3.5/4.5 Sectional Championships. “Coral Springs, USTA Florida team looking very sharp in their EleVen TEAM uniforms while playing in the sectionals!” said the Facebook posts from EleVen by Venus. “‘Oh & Oh’ tanks and black skorts.” Because just like you can’t go on a picnic without a spork, you can’t hit the tennis courts without a skort. Following up on her associate’s degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, the elder Williams sister is currently pursuing her masters in business while debuting her new line of workout gear, called Strisce, under her EleVen brand. “It’s directly inspired by my heart and my mind,” Williams told Philly.com during one of her World TeamTennis stops. “I think it’s changed how people have dressed for tennis, so we’ve got that going for us.” And how is the studying for the MBA going? “I love the information but I don’t like busywork,” Williams says. “Give me an exam but don’t make me write a paper.”

sharapova 40 loveWOMEN’S TENNIS A “LIKE” — U.S. men’s tennis, without a player in the Top 10 rankings, continues to take it on the chin in the pro tennis popularity contest compared to women’s tennis, according to a new Harris Poll released this week. No U.S. men, past or present, are in the “Top 10 favorite American Male Athletes” list, while five U.S. tennis women are in the favorite female athletes list: No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 3 Venus Williams, No. 4 Maria Sharapova, No. 6 Billie Jean King, and No. 8 Chris Evert.
NASCAR driver Danica Patrick is the top non-tennis favorite female at No. 2, with Mia Hamm (soccer), Lindsey Vonn (skiing) and Alex Morgan (soccer) also in the women’s Top 10. According to the Harris pollsters, Southern and Midwestern women and Millenials tended to vote for Serena, while men and generally all age groups over 36 voted for Danica Patrick. What doesn’t hurt is the WTA stars’ activity on social media, with Sharpaova recently topping 14 million followers on Facebook.

Sela KarlovicAROUND THE COURTS — Isreal’s Dudi Sela at 5-foot-9 had his hands full against 6-foot-11 Ivo Karlovic last week in the final at the ATP event in Bogota. Karlovic won the battle of the two good friends, and when it came time for the post-match handshake, Sela was determined to meet his foe on even terms. Watch the video here. Justin Bieber hinting at a possible appearance at this year’s Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day the weekend before the US Open? When USTA head of professional development Patrick McEnroe first took the position, he said 90 percent of juniors aspiring to pro careers should go to college. Six years later, he has dropped his assessment to roughly two percent of U.S. juniors are ready to make the leap to the pros. “Unless it’s a given that you will be a Top 20 player, and you never know that, I think college is a great place to go and mature physically, emotionally,” he said. Even earning a mention on The Colbert Report, the now-broken-up couple of Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki both won tournament titles last weekend — McIlroy at the British Open, and Wozniacki at the WTA event in Istanbul. Was the breakup better for both players? And are you ready for comedian Andy Samberg and Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harington (“Jon Snow”) in an HBO Wimbledon mockumentary? Get ready for 7 Days In Hell. The Bank of the West Classic in Stanford has a stellar field next week including Serena Williams.

Isner, Sock in Action from Atlanta

It will be prime U.S. men’s tennis viewing today (and tonight) on Tennis Channel from the BB&T Atlanta Open when top-seeded John Isner takes on No. 8-seeded Aussie Marinko Matosevic at 4 p.m., and Wimbledon doubles winner Jack Sock faces Slovak Lukas Lacko at 7 p.m.

Yesterday in Atlanta Isner survived a battle with fellow American and wild card Robby Ginepri, moving into the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 victory.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to play Robby just because he’s a good friend of mine and I know one of us is going to lose,” said Isner, who rained down 30 aces during the match. “I’m always pulling for Robby every match he plays. You’ve got to block that out, and one person had to win, and I was a little bit luckier tonight.”

Matosevic advanced by eliminating American Tim Smyczek 6-4, 7-5.

Sock and Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who together lifted the champion’s trophy at Wimbledon, are into the doubles semifinals.


They Said It

Katerina Stewart

Katerina Stewart

“I love clay, I could, like, roll in the clay.”
— Coral Gables 17-year-old Katerina Stewart en route to winning the USTA Girls 18s Clay Court Championship indoors in Memphis

“For me, it’s taken time. I have to remember it’s a process, that there will be ups and downs and I have to keep working hard no matter what. This is only my second full year on tour, and I feel a lot more comfortable out there now than I did last year.”
— New Tampa resident Jack Sock after winning the Wimbledon men’s doubles title

“Everyone thinks my brother’s a tool — he’s actually a good guy. It really frustrates me a lot.”
— Tennis junior Sara Tomic, sister of Australian ATP pro Bernard Tomic

Tennis on TV This Weekend

TV multi colorFriday
1-5pm — ATP Gstaad (Delay), Tennis Channel
4-6pm — ATP Atlanta (live), Tennis Channel
6-9pm — ATP Umag (delay), Tennis Channel
7-11pm — ATP Atlanta (live), Tennis Channel

11am-3pm — WTA Baku (delay), Tennis Channel
3-5pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN2
3-7pm — ATP Gstaad (Delay), Tennis Channel
8-10pm — ATP Atlanta (live), Tennis Channel
10pm-2am — ATP Umag (delay), Tennis Channel

11am-1pm — WTA Baku (delay), Tennis Channel
3-5pm — ATP Gstaad (Delay), Tennis Channel
4-6pm — ATP Atlanta (live), ESPN2
11pm-1am — ATP Umag (delay), Tennis Channel