August 1st, 2014
Friday Tennis Blog: Venus, Serena Shaking Up WTA Stanford; Nadal Injury
DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK — Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish were going to play doubles together later this month at the US Open. And then they weren’t. Roddick, who formally retired and has been out of the tour’s drug-testing program, would by rule need three months back in the program to compete again. Roddick detailed on a Fox Sports Live podcast how he wanted one more appearance with his Florida childhood buddy Fish, who left the tour last year abruptly due to a heart condition and anxiety issues. “I am not eligible for a US Open wild card, which [expletive] sucks because I was looking forward to it on a lot of different levels,” Roddick said. “Frankly, if common sense won in this one, I passed 14 years of tests during my career, filed the papers that you wanted me to file…I feel by doing the right thing and actually filing my retirement papers and not just letting [my ranking] fall off, I kinda got [expletive] in the end of this thing, which I’m not really thrilled about. I get the rule in place, the three-month rule, but I feel like there should be maybe an appeal process. Listen, if I’m going to do performance-enhancing drugs and make a comeback, I promise you it’s not going to be for one doubles tournament at the US Open. That’s for sure. Obviously there’s no common sense in the ruling, but it is what it is and they’re going to stick to the rules.” A Fish-Roddick doubles appearance would have undoubtedly made a media splash, like other recent Slam comebacks of former greats. Stay tuned for a coming-out-of-retirement drug testing rule change?
WAYNE’S WORLD — Floridians Wayne Odesnik and Austin Krajicek are out in front for the USTA Pro Circuit US Open Wild Card Challenge, which counts points accumulated over four USTA Pro Circuit events to award one winner with a US Open main draw wildcard. Odesnik and Krajicek were both in action on Thursday at the Vancouver Challenger, with next week’s Aptos Challenger the last event in the series. Odesnik, who bounced back from a one-year ban in 2010 for doping, has not made a US Open main draw appearance since 2009, losing in the qualifying the past three years. He is 2-5 career in Flushing Meadows, with his best a win over Italian Fabio Fognini in 2008. The 24-year-old Krajicek, who turned pro two years ago after winning the NCAA doubles title, made his lone US Open main draw appearance six years ago as an amateur, losing to Agustin Calleri in straight sets. Krajicek, a former U.S. Davis Cup hitting partner, is a distant cousin of Dutchman and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek.
AROUND THE COURTS — Serena Williams, making her first appearance since Wimbledon at the WTA event in Stanford, said this week that her retiring in the Wimbledon doubles was due to a viral illness that she will never try and play through again. “I never want to let people down,” she said of attempting to play. “I never want to let my sister down. I don’t want to let the fans down. I was thinking I don’t want anyone to be disappointed after I lost in singles. I was really scared after because I didn’t realize how I felt until later.” — Sabine Lisicki is the new women’s record holder for the fastest serve after blistering a 131 m.p.h. blast this week in Stanford. It beats the former record of 129 m.p.h. set by Venus Williams seven years ago — Li Na has announced she is dropping out of her U.S. summer hard court events and the US Open with a knee injury, while Rafael Nadal’s US Open is also in jeopardy — The US Open trophy is on tour on various talk shows and morning shows, such as Good Morning America here with the mercurial USTA Manager of Corporate Communications Tom Ladue — She has never run a road race before, but former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki announced she will run in New York City Marathon in the midst of the WTA tennis season. “People ask me, ‘Why don’t you just run a 5K or 10K?’ I’m like, ‘Well, I do that all the time, so it wouldn’t really be a challenge,'” she told the AP regarding the Nov. 2 race. “This is really something I need to put my mind to.” The Dane’s effort will raise money for Team for Kids, which helps fund NYC Marathon organizer New York Road Runners’ youth programs. “When an idea pops into my head, I kind of go for it,” she said.
Americans Serena, Venus, Vickery, King, Lepchenko, Johnson, Young Into Weekend at Stanford, Washington
Unseeded wild card Venus Williams turned back the years on Thursday in Stanford, Calif., at the Bank of the West Classic, defeating fellow former No. 1-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-6(1) to move into the quarterfinals.
“Obviously it’s always great to get a win against a player like Victoria, because she’s a champion, so it feels good,” Williams said. “But also she hasn’t been playing as much. I think she’s still looking for her range. A lot of the time she played some great points but sometimes she had some errors she wasn’t expecting, and I think that’ll just clear up for her the more matches she plays.”
In action on Friday in Stanford will be Americans Venus vs. No. 8 seed Andrea Petkovic, Florida teen qualifier Sachia Vickery vs. fellow American Varvara Lepchenko, and No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 5 Ana Ivanovic.
Three Americans remain alive at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., where in women’s action Vania King defeated compatriot Christine Mchale 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday to become the last American standing. In the quarterfinals she will meet No. 6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.
On the men’s side in Washington, unseeded Steve Johnson advanced to a Friday meeting with No. 2 seed Milos Raonic, and unseeded Donald Young to a meeting today with No. 7 seed Kevin Anderson.
Johnson on Thursday saved two match points in upending No. 9 seed Ivo Karlovic 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(7), while Young toppled No. 15 seed Denis Istomin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Johnson, who had a day earlier upset John Isner in a third-set tiebreak, survived 27 aces from Karlovic.
Also tonight at 7 p.m. the top-seeded Bryan brothers will meet Johnson/Sam Querrey in an all-American match-up.
They Said It
“He’s a sports nerd. That was something I don’t know that I necessarily expected. I think an outside person sees a guy who’s hosted Saturday Night Live, who’s been the No. 1 player in the world in his sport, who’s married to a supermodel. They don’t expect him to be spending multiple hours a day on his fantasy football team. I just found that to be a really interesting paradox.”
— Fox Sports Live Executive Producer Michael Hughes on Andy Roddick, speaking to Sports on Earth
“Sloane and I had a lot of good things happen but just couldn’t get the desired consistency. And since we agreed that our situation was causing doubt and confusion in Sloane’s mind, I really wanted her to find clarity leading into the US Open. This is why a change at this juncture made sense.”
— Coach Paul Annacone on parting ways with American Sloane Stephens
“France is considered a great tennis nation, and they haven’t won [a men’s slam] since [Yannick] Noah in ’83. It’s not nuts for this period of time to have passed, and it’s not crazy for a strong tennis nation to have a valley.”
— Andy Roddick speaking to Philly.com on the state of men’s American tennis
Tennis on TV This Weekend
1-3pm — ATP Washington (live), Tennis Channel
3-6:30pm — ATP Kitzbuhel (delay), Tennis Channel
4-6pm — ATP Washington (live), ESPN2
7-9pm — ATP Washington (live), ESPN2
9-11pm — ATP Washington (live), Tennis Channel
11pm-1am — WTA Stanford (live), ESPN2
12-2pm — ATP Kitzbuhel (delay), Tennis Channel
3-5pm — ATP Washington (live), ESPN2
5-7pm — WTA Stanford (live), ESPN2
7-9pm — ATP Washington (live), Tennis Channel
10pm-12am — WTA Stanford (live), Tennis Channel
3-5pm — ATP Washington (live), ESPN2
5-7pm — WTA Stanford (live), ESPN2
10pm-12am — WTA Washington (delay), Tennis Channel