Category: Tennis

Felix Auger-Aliassime Posts Heartfelt Message for Equality and #BlackLivesMatter

"The tough part is that it comes from people that should be protecting us," says the 19-year-old Canadian.Felix Auger-Aliassime has joined Coco Gauff, Naomi Osaka, Frances Tiafoe and others in speaking out against prejudice and racism in the world in the aftermath of George Floyd's tragic death and the protests that have taken America by storm.

Tennis Express

The 19-year-old posted a five and a half minute message on Instagram in which he told a story of how his father was racially profiled for driving a Mercedes in a nice neighborhood.

Auger-Aliassime says that the world has made progress, but there is still so much more that needs to be done.

“We’ve come a long way but there’s still a long way to go in terms of equality,” he said in his video post. “The fact that saddens me is that it comes from a place, and people that should lead by example. … Police officers, such as teachers and professors and doctors, should lead by example and not have pre-made ideas and stereotypes. … This I think is really the tough part is that it comes from people that should be protecting us.”

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Government Will Have Final Say on French Open Fans

Roland Garros is set to start September 20th, the French government will decide if fans can attend.
Roland Garros is scheduled to start on September 20th.

A higher power will determine if fans can attend the French Open.

Nadal: If Roland Garros is Safe, I'll Be There

The clay-court major made the unilateral decision to move from its traditional May start time to September 20th as the coronavirus crisis has shut down the sport until at least the start of August.

Roland Garros aims to play with as many fans as possible though French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli concedes that ultimately the French government will decide if fans can attend the tournament and how many will be permitted.

"The preferred option is to have a Roland Garros with as many spectators as possible," Giudicelli said today in a video call with Gael Monfils. "After that, depending on the health conditions, we will adapt to the directives the government gives us.

"The government will decide how many people can be there."

The French government has banned all gatherings of 5,000 or more people until September—and it is possible that ban could be extended.

Roland Garros typically averages more than 500,000 fans throughout the fortnight.

Tennis Express

Last month, Roland Garros refunded all ticket holders for the 2020 tournament.

While the tournament would obviously lose money playing behind closed doors without fans, rights fees from television networks around the world account for about 30 percent of French Open revenues.

Giudicelli said the FFT is focused on hosting the tournament with fans because "Roland Garros, like all the major tournaments, is a meeting between the players and the public. That's what gives this tournament its magic."

Photo credit: Roland Garros Facebook

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Holt Rules Backyard Barnstorming Tour Event at Knollwood

Brandon Holt shows Trojan toughness taking title with three impressive wins.
Brandon Holt is a hit on the Backyard Barnstorming Tour.

Days after announcing he turned professional, USC All-American Holt won the non-sanctioned “Backyard Barnstorming Tour” tournament with three impressive wins over the weekend at the Knollwood Tennis Club in Montecito, California.

US Open: Less and Less Likely Fans Will Be Permitted

The 22-year-old Holt, who is ranked just inside the top 500 on the ATP World Tour, opened the money event beating former Wimbledon semifinalist Sam Querrey in Group 1, which also included Jason Jung and Masa Perera, whose father Laxman Perera sponsored the event.

Tennis Express

Group 2 included Southern California pros Brandon Nakashima, Marcos Giron, Emilio Nava and UCLA player Govind Nanda.

Holt avenged a finals loss to Querrey from two weeks ago at the Home Court Advantage exhibition in Rolling Hills, California, and finished second to Jung in his group on Saturday to advance to the semifinals Sunday.

Sunday’s format was a first-to-four games, no-ad 10-point tiebreaker to decide the third set. Nanda defeated Jason Jung, 4-0, 4-3, in one semifinal on Sunday with Holt getting past Nakashima in the other semifinal, 10-5 in the tiebreaker.

In the final, Holt swept Nanda, 4-3, 4-1, to take home the $4,000 top prize with Nanda earning $2,500.

Photo credit: USC Athletics/

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Noah Calls For Justice For George Floyd

Hall of Famer Yannick Noah calls on fans to unite against racism.
Protesters have hit the streets in cities across America demonstrating against the killing of George Floyd.

Hall of Famer Yannick Noah is calling for justice for Floyd—and for the tennis community to unite against racism.

Watch: Players Protest Racism

Floyd, an African American man, was kllled during an arrest near downtown Minneapolis.

Fired police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd gasped for air and repteadly said "I can't breathe" until he died.

Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly three minutes after he became unresponsive, has been arrested and charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

The other three officers who participated in Floyd's arrest and stood and watched while Chauvin choked him, have not yet been charged. 

Tennis Express

Wearing a white t-shirt quoting Floyd's plea "I Can't Breathe", Noah added the hashtag "Justice for George Floyd" to both the shirt and his Instagram post.

"Enough!!!!!" Noah captioned the post. "It’s not enough to be non racist we must be Anti racist! Say it LOUD !!! Justice for Georges FLOYD and ALL!!"

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Pliskova Calls out “Weak” Men for Complaining about Equal Prize Money

The World No.3 takes a crack at selfish men in a recent interview. By: Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday 31, 2001

World No.3 Karolina Pliskova isn’t overly worried about women earning the same prize money as the men. What she is worried about is men complaining about women getting their financial due.

Tennis Express

“I’m not the one who wants [equal prize money]. But I don’t like the men who are complaining that we would get the same money,” Pliskova told the PA News Agency. “I think it is super weak from them that they complain we have the same money as them.”

Pliskova, who will play at the Live Score Cup in Prague from 3-6 June, says that a WTA / ATP merger could be a productive development for tennis, even if it doesn’t results in women earning equal prize money across the board.

“I don’t need to have the same prize money as men. But to have the same chance to play on centre court or to have the same chance to be on TV, that should be possible with these changes,” she said, adding: It might take a couple of years to get going. It will be different, but I don’t think for the players it would change that much. It would be a good step.”

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Garcia Savors the Nadal Aura in Mallorca

The French star is enjoying her lockdown home in Mallorca, and her proximity to the great Nadal.Caroline Garcia is enjoying her training at the Rafael Nadal Academy, even if she had to stay there a little longer than expected.

Tennis Express

The Frenchwoman had plans to leave town for Alicante, Spain on the night before lockdown began in Mallorca in March, but the former World No.4 elected to rent a flat near the Academy instead.

Three months later, Garcia's still there.

In recent weeks, as restrictions have lifted, Garcia has started to practice more regularly. She says she enjoys the Spanish mentality and, of course, training in proximity to 19-time Grand Slam champion surely doesn’t hurt.

Rafael Nadal‘s soul is everywhere here, and his uncle Toni is often on the courts and can give you some pieces of advice here and there,” Garcia told Carole Bouchard in an interview posted on Tennis Majors. “Also, everything you need is on site, it’s very practical.”

The World No.46 thinks the Spanish mentality can help her in the long run.

“When Rafa is around, he’s training here very often so everybody can see him,” the Lyon, France native says. “It’s also the Spanish way: lots of work, lots of hitting, and movements during the practice sessions. It’s interesting and it makes me get out of my old routines. I like the Spanish mentality and I think it can help me.”

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Courtoons: King of Clay Still Rules Roland Garros 2067

TN cartoonist Daniel Galantz's vision of tennis' future.By Daniel Galantz

The coronavirus crisis has shut down sport—and reminds us a sense of humor is a safety net when teetering on stir crazy's ledge.

Here's a view of what tennis may look like when the sport eventually resumes.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Daniel Galantz is a cartoonist and tennis fanatic. He has been around the game ever since he can remember—his father is a coach and former player. The coaches and players Dani works with now provide him with plenty of material for his cartoons. He lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and his book "Tenis Ilustrado" was published in 2012. Please follow Daniel on Facebook Twitter and Instagram.

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Bartoli’s Doubles Comments Draw the Ire of Slam Champions Mahut and Dabrowski

The Frenchwoman made comments about doubles players earning too much money and players responded. The best way to tick off a whole subset of tennis players? Try to take their money away. Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has come under fire from the doubles community after she joined the show “Match Points” to express her views on how tennis can get more money to lower-ranked players.

“I know I’m not going to make myself fans but I think we have to say it,” said Bartoli, who joined a panel which included Noah Rubin, Ben Rothenberg and host Josh Cohen. “I just don’t understand all those doubles competitions year-round. I understand during the Grand Slams and the Olympics because they are part of tennis history and everything. I’ve been to some tournaments now with my player and I see they have crews–six people around them.”

Bartoli says that the sport might try to funnel some of the doubles prize money to lower-ranked singles players, but while suggesting that she ended up insulting doubles players themselves.

Tennis Express

“Even a singles player, when I used to play we couldn’t afford to play six people to travel with us full-time and they can afford to pay six people and they just play doubles,” she said. “Why don’t you get some of that money to the qualifier players, or to someone who is playing only the challengers?

"I just don’t understand because doubles you just don’t make the same effort as a singles player. You don’t practice so much, your routine is different, and they keep going week-in and week-out and getting that money when actually the other ones playing challengers are really struggling. I don’t know if we have to stop doubles completely or entirely, but to get less money and to give that money towards qualification and the other player I think should be a solution as well.”

Since the release of those comments, Grand Slam doubles champions Nicolas Mahut and Gabriela Dabrowski have taken to social media to voice their displeasure.

“I'm jealous!!!” tweeted Mahut. “I thought I had a large staff, can you introduce me to the doubles player who travels with 6 people please?”

Dabrowski, obviously fuming about Bartoli’s comments, released a long thread on Wednesday night, reiterating her belief (widely assumed to be fact) that nobody travels with a large entourage on the doubles circuit.

“NO ONE that plays only doubles travels with a team of 6 people,” she wrote. “Not one player. Some tennis federations might send a team of people to work with ALL their players, but I don’t know one doubles player who travels with more than one or two people maximum, and even that is usually periodically. In reality we usually share a coach with another player or multiple players… wanna know why? BECAUSE DOUBLES PLAYERS CANT AFFORD A FULL TIME TEAM. WE WOULD LITERALLY BE BLEEDING MONEY EVERY WEEK IF WE HAD ONE.”

Enjoy the full thread below:

Bartoli took to Twitter to defend herself on Thursday, replying to Mahut by saying: “I do not have the silver bullet and I do not denigrate anyone, in any discipline, I just say that the current situation is not acceptable and the Coronavirus highlights it, but I do not pretend to have a silver bullet. I think about possible solutions.”

She replied to Dabrowski as follows: “I don't have the perfect solution, I am just trying to find solution!! But if you blame me for caring for single players outside the top 100,so be it!! I don't think I am wrong by doing that!!”

To be continued…

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Watch: Rafa Nadal’s Invitation

World No. 2 invites world to "come to Mallorca and play safe." 
Rafael Nadal has resumed practicing and celebrated with a video invitation.

The 19-time Grand Slam champion invited the world to "come to Mallorca and play safe."

More: Federer Can't Imagine Playing in Empty Stadium

As travel begins to open up again following the peak of the coronavirus crisis, Nadal played goodwill ambassador on behalf of his native island.

“Mallorca is a very special island," Nadal aays in a video for the Rafa Nadal Academy in his native Mallorca. "To me, it is one of the most incredible places in the world."

Since 2017, every summer, the Rafa Nadal Academy has welcomed 2,000 children and 700 adults to its state-of-the-art site in Mallorca.

“I would like to invite you all to discover this beautiful island and play sport safely," Nadal says. "We have a great team who will dedicate their time to looking after your wellbeing.”

Tennis Express

The Academy ensured the safety of more than 80 players who had to confine themselves on site during the Spanish State of Emergency as they could not return home.

During this period of de-escalation, the Academy is now implementing the new protocols so that both Spanish and foreign tennis lovers can enjoy the summer camp and other adult programs safely in the coming months.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

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LTA Launches British Tour

The first swing of British Tour events will take place over consecutive weeks from July 3-26th.

Tennis is coming back to Britain.

The LTA today announced a series of pro events set for July—subject to confirmation of government safety requirements to address COVID-19 pandemic.

More: Sharapova Revisits Date with Djokovic

The first swing of four new British Tour events is scheduled over consecutive weeks from July 3-26th.

All four tournaments will all staged at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, which has already been approved as an elite training venue and will continue as such during this time. 

Each event will host 32 singles players—16 men and 16 women—open to the highest ranked players with an LTA Membership number who wish to enter.

The tournaments will generally be held over three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a one day doubles-only event for eight teams played under FAST4 format at each Premier stop.

Last month, Wimbledon cancelled for the first time in 75 years due to the coronavirus crisis.

The LTA has increased total prize money at each tournament by 50 percent and for the first time ever at British Tour events, all players from the first round onwards will receive prize money to help support the incomes and expenses from a wider base of players during this challenging time.

There will be two Premier-level events (in week two and four), each offering over £16,000 in total prize money, with the singles champions receiving £2,250. A ‘Tier 1′ event held in the first and third weeks: (July 3-5 and July 18-19).

Tennis Express

The LTA said it "will soon confirm other dates and venues to host British Tour events through to the end of August."

“Since the coronavirus crisis, we have been working incredibly hard to support all our players, venues, coaches and officials through this very challenging time," LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd said. "I’m delighted to announce today the next stage of elite tennis’ return to competing safely behind closed doors as part of a five-phase plan coordinated by UK Sport with Government.

"The LTA is actively engaged in developing the necessary guidelines for behind closed doors events, which we hope will be determined by the Government in the coming weeks to ensure the safest environment for anyone involved in returning to competition and look forward to bringing tennis back into people’s lives this summer.”

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

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WTT To Play 2020 Season at Greenbrier, West Virginia

The 45th season of World TeamTennis could be most intriguing.
World TeamTennis is going to Greenbrier for the 2020 season.

WTT will play the entirety of its 45th season at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

More: WTT CEO Carlos Silva Q&A

This will be the first major professional tennis league to resume operations since the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19.

The WTT's 45th season may be its most intriguing. The 2020 World TeamTennis season will showcase a 63-match regular season over 19 consecutive days from July 12-30, with the WTT Playoffs to follow on August 1st with the Semifinals and August 2nd with the Final.

The top four teams from WTT’s regular season standings will advance to the WTT Playoffs.

CBS will air a regular season match on July 19th and the WTT Final on August 2nd. CBS Sports Network will carry 13 regular season matches and both semifinals on August 1.

World TeamTennis’ schedule will include at least three matches per day at The Greenbrier’s 2,500-seat outdoor stadium, with an indoor court to be installed as a backup option, for WTT’s nine franchises – the expansion Chicago Smash, New York Empire, Orange County (Calif.) Breakers, Orlando Storm, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, 2018 and 2019 WTT champion Springfield (Mo.) Lasers, Vegas Rollers and Washington (D.C.) Kastles.

The matches are scheduled to begin anywhere from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. ET (subject to changes in broadcast schedules).

In accordance with state health guidelines, WTT will allow up to 500 fans (20% capacity) to attend its outdoor matches. Ticket pricing and access points will be announced at a later date.

Participating players in the 2020 WTT season include 2020 Australian Open champion and World No. 4 Sofia Kenin (Philadelphia Freedoms), 2017 U.S. Open champ and 2018 French Open finalist Sloane Stephens (Chicago Smash), Grigor Dimitrov (Orange County Breakers), the Vegas Rollers’ Sam Querrey and Bob and Mike Bryan, the winningest and most accomplished doubles team in tennis history, Tennys Sandgren (Orlando Storm) and doubles specialists Rajeev Ram (Chicago), Jean-Julien Rojer (Springfield Lasers) and Neal Skupski (New York Empire), the 2019 WTT Male Most Valuable Player.

All of WTT’s 2020 regular season and playoff matches will be televised or live-streamed on media partners CBS, CBS Sports Network, Tennis Channel, ESPN+ and/or, the league’s official website. 

“All of us at World TeamTennis are extremely grateful to be able to play the 45th World TeamTennis season and present professional tennis to our sports-starved and tennis-starved audiences through our media partners at CBS Sports, ESPN and Tennis Channel,” WTT CEO Carlos Silva said. “The overwhelming feedback from our players is that they want to play WTT and are comfortable in doing so in a safe environment, which is our number one priority.

"West Virginia has among the nation’s fewest cases of COVID-19 and I’m grateful to The Greenbrier, the city of White Sulphur Springs, and Dr. Jill Justice for being so welcoming and allowing World TeamTennis to play on in 2020.”

Tennis Express

World TeamTennis announced it will follow "the direction of local and state government officials in West Virginia while adhering to all health and safety protocols set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and take every precaution to ensure the safety of its players, coaches and essential staff in executing the operation of its matches." 

WTT will engage with its teams and league and venue personnel in conducting all necessary testing and screening for COVID-19, as well as outfitting all parties with the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary to conduct its 2020 season matches while preserving the health and safety of everyone at The Greenbrier over the three-week season.

In 2020, WTT is increasing its prize money to a record $5 million and an added $1,000,000 awarded in WTT Playoffs compensation, including a $500,000 bonus to the team hoisting the King Trophy on August 2nd.

Photo credit: World TeamTennis

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Muguruza: Great Emptiness

Garbiñe Muguruza opens up on the physical and mental challenges of life without tennis.
Communication can be cathartic.

Garbiñe Muguruza opens up on the physical and mental challenges of life without tennis during the coronavirus in an article she wrote for Vogue Spain.

Watch: Rafa Returns to Practice

The two-time Grand Slam champion was in Indian Wells with coach Conchita Martinez and her team preparing to play the BNP Paribas Open in March when the first cases of COVID-19 hit Palm Springs.

The Australian Open finalist, who has been spending the sport's shutdown at her home in Switzerland, shares the isolation and loneliness she's felt without tennis.

"When I planted myself in my house confused and without any plan, I know: Now what?" Muguruza writes. "Have you ever wondered and now what do I do to entertain myself?

"My life, in which I am used to a frenetic pace of travel, pressure and physical effort, has been stopped from one day to the next. I was not prepared, especially for the great emptiness that I felt when I could not do what I know best: play tennis. And especially, she was not prepared not to be able to fill that time with anything that compares to her."

The former world No. 1 says this is the longest break she's had from the sport since ankle surgery nearly a decade ago.

"Did you know that I have never been in the same site for more than a month? I am breaking a record," Muguruza writes. "The last time was when I had ankle surgery and I couldn't walk for several months. That is almost a decade ago."

Tennis Express

The coronavirus-induced sabbatical from the sport has given the 26-year-old Spaniard perspective on life after tennis.

"Since I was three years old, I have lived with the racket in hand for and for a single purpose," Muguruza writes. "When all that disappears due to force majeure, life elbows you and says to you: 'Hey, there are many more things than tennis, maybe it is a good time to prepare for when that day comes.' For when you have to hang up your racket."

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

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