May 1st, 2015

Friday Tennis Blog: Wimbledon Tells You What to Do with Your Selfie Stick

General News Friday Blog Adult Tennis News Youth Tennis News USTA Pro Circuit Blogs


Tallahassee Challenger logo generalAmerican teenagers Frances Tiafoe or Jared Donaldson, or 23-year-old Tennys Sandgren will earn a French Open wild card this weekend as all three advanced into the semifinals at the Tallahassee Challenger on Thursday. The American winning the tournament or advancing the farthest will end up the top point-earner in the USTA Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge, earning the USTA-designated French Open wild card. The USTA Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge, comprised of the Sarasota, Savannah and Tallahassee USTA Pro Circuit events, grants a wild card to the player with the best results in two of the three events. Donaldson is the lone player of the three to make a Grand Slam appearance, last year at the US Open, while the former University of Tennessee player Sandgren is 0-9 in Slam qualifying tries over his career. On Friday in Tallahassee Tiafoe will face Sandgren, and Donaldson will meet Argentine Facundo Arguello.


FL womens teamThe NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tennis draws were announced on Tuesday, with no Florida teams among the men’s seeds. The University of Florida is the No. 5 seed on the women’s side, with Miami at No. 15. Men’s first-round match-ups among Florida schools are Florida Gulf Coast University vs. UCLA, Florida State University vs. Troy, UF vs. Pepperdine, and the University of South Florida vs. Boise State. The FGCU men, on an 11-match winning streak, are making their very first NCAA appearance. Women’s first-round match-ups are UF vs. Bethune-Cookman, and Miami vs. the University of North Florida. Bethune-Cookman, who line-up features six international players, is making its first NCAA appearance in 14 years. The first two rounds will be played May 8-9 for the men and May 8-10 for the women. No Florida men’s team has ever won the NCAA Division I title, while the UF women last won back-to-back in the 2012-11 seasons.


bobby riggs billi jean kingKeep your selfie sticks at home this year when attending Wimbledon. And if you own a selfie stick, take a hard look in the mirror…ESPN televised “eSports” (otherwise known as video games) for the first time and many in the industry were not amusedHBO announced last year a movie based on the Battle of the Sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs — now another studio take on the event has been announced, starring Emma Stone and Steve CarrellWimbledon announced a prize money hike to $40.9 million, making it the richest Grand Slam event…Did you know only eight players have beaten Serena Williams during the last 114 weeks? Check out other stats from her current reign at the No. 1 ranking…World No. 1 Novak Djokovic needs some rest after becoming the first man to win three Masters series tournaments in a row, and has pulled from the Masters-level Madrid event this coming week.

Americans Gear Up for Dual Madrid Event

vika and isner-editedNo American players remain in action going into the weekend at the five ATP/WTA events this week, but the top American players are gearing up for next week’s top-level Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, which sans world No. 1 Novak Djokovic looks to boast the Top 10 players on both the men’s and women sides.

John Isner will be the only men’s direct acceptance according to the Madrid tournament website, while the women’s direct entries will be world No. 1 Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens, former No. 1 Venus Williams, Madison Keys, Alison Riske, and Varvara Lepchenko.

All eyes in Madrid will be on five-time defending French Open champ Rafael Nadal, who is 0-2 during the official lead-up to the French Open this year, and hasn’t reached a tournament final in his last four events.

They Said It

“We had a player once who was just not being nice and was constantly argumentative. The crowd sort of turned against him. It got a little ugly and one of his friends who was in the stands got up, stood in front of everyone and told the crowd off. That’s the biggest one I can remember. That player ended up losing his match.”
— Tallahassee Challenger Tournament Director Karen Vogter on players who talk to themselves during matches, speaking to the Tallahassee Democrat


Reilly Opelka (right)

“The USTA has guided me since I was 12. The people I’ve had around me at the USTA I trust more than anyone — Jay Berger, Diego Moyano. Jay’s been helping me out since I was 11 years old. And Tom Gullikson, he works for the USTA, and he’s probably the only reason I’m playing tennis right now, and at this level. I’m lucky to have known him since I was 6 years old, and he definitely helped me and guided me. But at the end of the day, it was my decision. They were supportive for either option and left it up to me.”
— Palm Coast’s 6-foot-8 Reilly Opelka on turning pro, speaking to

“Oh, I just love playing Facundos.”
— Irishman Jame McGee after beating Facundo Arguello, then next looking at a meeting with Facunda Bagnis at the Sarasota Open last week, speaking to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(times subject to change)

4-8pm — ATP Estoril (delay), Tennis Channel
8pm-12am — ATP Munich (delay), Tennis Channel

12-3am — ATP Estoril (delay), Tennis Channel
2-4pm — ATP Munich (delay), Tennis Channel

6-8pm — ATP Estoril (delay), Tennis Channel
8-10pm — ATP Madrid (delay), Tennis Channel
10pm-12am — ATP Munich (delay), Tennis Channel