Dec/18

28

One Man’s 2018 Tennis Journey


By Fred Frelinghuysen

As I look back over the past year I realize what an amazing adventure I had. I was able to attend six tournaments on multiple surfaces in multiple locations and got to experience the true meaning of what the tennis year involves. I have already made plans for 2019 to try and match that number of six if not exceed it. I plan on attending Nassau Coliseum in February Miami in March Newport in July Washington the beginning of August Cincinnati the middle of August and then of course Qualifying and the U.S. Open. I will try and attend a Challenger as well based on my nephew Jason‘s account of his adventure in Charlottesville this past year. So what I have decided to do now is give my awards in the various categories from my attendance of the events this past year.

1- Match of the year. This was between Philip Kohlschreiber and Karen Khachanov in Rome that we witnessed on a side Court four rows up behind the baseline. Kohlschreiber won the match in a third set tiebreak after Khachanov choked way match points. The rallies and the points were superb end it was an absolute pleasure being there for it. What was particularly fascinating about this is that Khachanov rebounded from this horrific loss and made it all the way into the top 10 by years end which I never would have expected after that meltdown.
Runner up Francis Tiafoe defeating Kyle Edmond in Miami in a third set tiebreaker after Edmund had served for the match and also choked it away. Great atmosphere with the crowd completely behind the American.

2-Run of the year. Hands-down Washington DC. Running through the city past the White House and the Mall and around the monuments was inspiring.
Runner up Rome where there are no sidewalks and we literally took our lives in our hands as we ran on the side of the street with cars whizzing by.

3-Breakfast of the year. No question Rome. The most amazing buffet with plenty of selections and with John Isner Thomas Berdych and Jokers coach sitting right next to us every day. Who could ask for more.

Runnerup Nassau Coliseum Brunch where we went the Sunday before the event started. Players were eating right next to us and we got to talk with to Dudi Sela Francis Tiafoe Michael Russell Chris Eubanks Darius King and many more.

4-Parking spot of the year I give this nod to Newport where if you park in the recreation center in town and purchase a two dollar bus ride to the event the parking is free.

5-Father of the year. This one easily goes to Courtney Donaldson Jared‘s father. We had an amazing conversation with him in Washington discussing his son and then he proceeded to take a video of us which was then posted online on the tennis Channel website.

Runner-up U.S. Open where we met both Rafa Nadals father and the Greek God Stefanos Tsitsipas father who genuinely liked us and wanted to speak to us more than we wanted to speak to him!

6- Court of the year this one is obvious as well. The Grandstand in Rome which is an intimate stadium surrounded by statues on the upper part of the complex and where you sit on stones from the middle ages was nothing like we had experienced in the past.

7-Photo of the year. This one was difficult but I give the nod to Novak Djokovic whom we met at the hotel in Rome while staying at the Waldorf. He was walking off the practice court of the hotel as I was coming on with Jake. Although he was in a rush he stopped and took a picture with Jake with literally no one else around. What a thrill that was.

Runnerup- Dennis Shapovalov. We met him by the practice courts outside the US Open complex where he was playing with a partner and his mother was watching. As he exited the court there was no one there except for Jake and me. His mother took the photo of us and him and he seemed very interested in Jake’s tennis career and wish him all the best.

8-Group photo of the year Serena Williams in the lobby of the hotel in Rome. She could not have been nicer as she took a picture with myself Mike Ruth Jake and brothers Tali and Josh. Thank you very much Serena.

9- Meanest guy of the year. This one is a tie. Jack Sock whom we met in Miami practicing at 10 AM on a tiny court when no one else was there completely blew up at Jake who asked him for a photo and just walked away. Jack’s reward for this atrocious behavior was a losing record and falling to 108 in the world rankings.

Hyeon Chung. A man who refused to take photos with Jake on multiple occasions in Rome Washington and Miami always figuring out a technique to avoid us. In one he simply walked off the court in the opposite direction jumped the fence and ran away from us. No joke In the end persistence paid off and we did get a picture finally!

Runnersup Little Harry Christian Harrison whom after winning his first round of qualifying match instead of celebrating with the fans who cheered him on against Ernest Gulbis walked out and completely blew everybody off as if he was a celebrity who could not be bothered with anyone else. He got his retribution as he lost in the next round.

Meanest woman easily Maria Sharapova who we saw multiple times in Rome and took particular delight in going the opposite direction that we were. The worst episode was when she walked off the elevator right towards us in the lobby and I said hi Maria and she looked at me with disgust and said you can’t leave me alone even in my hotel. Very nasty.

10-Most missed Photo of the year Alex de Minaur. The up-and-coming Next Generation Australian star has been as elusive as can be. I came closest in Newport when he walked by me but I had no one to take the picture and I was afraid to take a selfie. In Washington I chased after him but he made a right and went into a special locker room and I missed him. Hopefully I will get him at some point this year.

Runner up Pablo Carena Busta. In 2017 when I went to get his picture after the conclusion of a match at court level he walked away and instead took photos on the other side. This year when I met him after a victory in Rome he walked right by me without even stopping. At this point I’ve given up on him.

11-Best price ticket of the year. The winner goes to Newport. Thanks to my good friend Vidia I discovered that anyone affiliated with Dell computers gets in 50% off. So all I had to say at the ticket window is that I was a Dell employee and no identification was required. Thank you Vidia.

12- Newcomer of the year. This goes to the Greek God Stefanos Tsitsipas. I had predicted greatness for him after seeing him at the qualifying of the US open in 2017. In 2018 he went on a rampage and is now ranked in the top 15 in the world. We got to see him in Miami as well as Washington and New York and he keeps getting better and better. We had a memorable meeting with him in Washington when he exited the practice courts and he was absolutely charming along with his Dad.

Runner up Karen Khachanov who Mike predicted greatness for several years ago when he ballboyed him. Despite the devastating loss in Rome he cracked the top 10 by defeating the Joker and winning the Masters 1000 in Paris. He walked right by us in Washington and when we called out to him he walked right back and took a photo with Mike and me. A hell of a nice guy.

13-Most seen player of the year Francis Tiafoe . We started with him at breakfast at Nassau Coliseum and then proceeded to see him in Miami Rome Washington and New York. And every time we saw him I would say do you remember my son Mike Ballboyed you when you played Roger Federer in 2017? And Francis would nod yes without even knowing who the hell Mike really was.

14-Lounge of the year. This goes to the Citi lounge in Washington DC. Given the rain that seem to be present every day this provided shelter as well as very reasonable drinks bars and pretzels
Runner-up Chase lounge in New York which was a respite from the heat. However I found the choice of food to be lacking!

15- Best seat of the year. That would go to the grandstand court in Rome where we sat in row five and go to watch Joker right behind the baseline.

Runner-up Court one in Miami where we sat three rows behind the baseline and saw Diego Scwartman win a match as well as Jared Donaldson.

16- Best standing seat of the year. Without a doubt Washington DC grandstand 2. We stood on the court next to the security guard and the umpire and watched Denis Shapovalov play Daniil Medvedev. It was about as close to the action you could ever get.

Runner up Newport Court one where we stood right behind the fence as Dr Ivo Karlovic was serving bombs against Dudi Sela. About as intimidating as it can get.

17-Worst weather of the year hands down the U.S. Open which given the 95° and high humidity made it extremely unpleasant to watch and forced us to leave early every day.

Runner up Washington DC where it rained every day forcing us to stay very late to see matches that were played.

18-Day of the year. My final day in Rome where on the grandstand I got to see Karoline Pliskova play a tight contentious 3 set match against the Greek player Maria Sakkari followed by Joker vs Basilashvili and concluding with DelPotro against the Greek God. An absolutely thrilling day all witnessed five rows up from behind the baseline. We were glued to our seats for over 6 hours without moving.

19- Hat of the year I like to collect hats and the best one was Washington DC with the Citi Open logo. It was very colorful and indicated that it was Washington DC . Quite a contrast to Rome where not a single hat identified the Italian open as being in Rome. Rather it said Australian which was the company that sponsored the tournament so you would think that you were in Australia rather than Italy!

20-Hotel of the year. The Waldorf in Rome where we we got to play tennis have the best breakfast swim in the largest pool I’ve ever seen and meet every possible player you could ever want to see from Serena to Venus to Halep to Sharapova the Joker and many more.

21- Most brutal loss of the year. My favorite player Jared Donaldson blew 2 match points against the Greek God in Washington while serving for the match and then lost 75 in 3 sets . That turned out to be the end of his season as he retired soon afterward to an injury. His psyche was crushed and hopefully he can recover from this. From that point on the Greek God went the other direction going on a tear and reaching the worlds top 15.

Runnerup Christina McHale joshes favorite player loses in the qualifying in Rome . She has crying episodes on the court screaming I do not want to be here anymore. When she loses she finds the gate to get out its locked so she is forced to walk into the stands like a regular person and walk out. Very tragic.

22-Tournament of the year. Rome given the culture hotel tremendous clay court tennis wonderful court layouts. We all want to go back.

Runner-up Washington DC which given the proximity to NY the lovely Amtrak ride down many museums late start of the tennis and close proximity to players could become a fixture of ours on a yearly basis.

23-Fight of the year. Karolina Pliskova against Maria Sakkari in Rome. On a very crucial point late in the third set Pliskova hit an overhead that landed in by 3 feet. Inexplicably the umpire called it out and then pointed out the wrong ball mark to justify it. Pliskova mentally then lost it and as a result ended up losing the match. At the match conclusion Pliskova extended her hand to the umpire then took it back and hit the umpires chair three times in succession with brute force and stormed off as the crowd went crazy and booed Sakkari.

Runnerup the Greek God and Medvedev in Miami. At the match conclusion the two of them almost got into a fist fight with insults hurled towards each other in Russian.

24-Least attended match of the year . Noah Rubin against Mikael Youzhny in Washington DC. The match was played 11 o’clock at night where it was myself Mike and my brothers Josh and Tali along with Noahs mom and one drunk guy screaming with a man named Matthew tweeting next to us in the stands. Quite a scene. Seven people watching a pro match.

25 Food of the year. Obviously the kosher stand at the U.S. Open where Jake loved his daily steak sandwich.

26- Redemption of the year. Danielle Collins. We watched her in Rome in a match that we helped her win by rooting for her when we were the only Americans in the stand as she played the Romanian Cirstea. When the match ended she walked right by us and refused to stop even though we spoke English to her and there was nowhere near us. It was shocking behavior. At the qualifying in New York later that year she could not have been nicer as she posed for pictures with Jake and me. I even reminded her about the match in Rome and she smiled and said thank you so much for rooting for me.

27- Unusual Surface of the year This one goes to Newport which is played on grass. The ball simply bounces and goes nowhere. On an overhead smash on one rally the ball hit the grass surface and literally stopped allowing the opponent to hit the ball back. On any other surface the ball would have been over the fence with the point over.

28-Comeback Player of the year The Joker. We saw him in Miami in March and he was a lost soul. He played Benoit Paire in the main stadium and was blown out in straight sets. He could not serve could not keep a backhand on the court and his body language was dreadful. The funny thing is we actually met him in Miami by chance walking off the practice court and he took a quick picture with Jake and me. When we met him in May at the hotel in Rome he seemed rejuvenated and ended up making the semi finals of the event where he lost to Nadal in a close match. Using that as a springboard he went on to Wimbledon and the US Open and reclaimed the number one ranking in the world. I’d like to think that my meeting with him at the hotel in Rome with Jake had something to do with it but I guess I should not flatter myself.

29- Easiest security of the year. Washington DC. There were absolutely no lines to get in there and tickets were not even checked at the gate. In the main stadium you could sit wherever you wanted which for us was right behind the baseline a couple of rows up. In addition you could literally walk right up to the players lounge with no security present. This allowed us tremendous access. In fact we later learned a man was arrested he trespassed into the players lounge itself and was hanging out!

30- Nicest player of the year. My favorite player Jared Donaldson. We saw him in Rome and Miami and each time he seems so happy to see us and talk with us. He has a tremendous head on his shoulders and I hope and pray he can rebound from a horrible ending to 2018.

31- Companion of the year. Brother Josh had 100% attendance with me at every single event I went to along the way. He was a constant presence by my side.

Runner up brother Tali and my kids Ruth Mike and Jake who attended most of the events with me. Sadly I realized my fourth child Natalie did not go to one but maybe next year she will accompany me!

32-Wildest exit off the court of the year. Donald young after qualifying for the U.S. Open Court 11. He exited the court like a rockstar with security surrounding him. He did not want to leave as he was exulting in the moment. Sadly this was his one bright moments of the year as he ended it ranked 261

33- Most serene player of the year Venus Williams who was spotted in Rome during the evening by Josh and me during a run walking her dog on the grounds of the hotel and just chilling out by a fountain.

34- Coach of the year. Marian Vajda Who coached joker several years ago to greatness and came back this year and was instrumental in bringing him back to number One. One of my biggest regrets of the year is that although he sat next to me every day in Rome eating a very hearty breakfast I never thought to take a picture with him. What a mistake.

Runnerup Peter Lucasen He has bounced around from Ryan Harrison to Ernesto Escobedo to other American journeyman and seems to be at every venue that we are at. The smallest Dutchman I have ever seen but with impeccable hair not out of place.

35- Biggest disappointment of the year. The U.S. Open main draw. As we traveled the world we realize now that the smaller venues offer much better seats less lines more access to players and generally a much more friendly atmosphere.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback from this incredible year of Tennis. As always I welcome all feedback to your thoughts from this article. I will be checking in with everyone in February from Nassau Coliseum so get ready!
Enjoy the Australian Open!

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38 comments

  • Jg · December 28, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Enjoyable, where did you stay in Rome?

  • Hartt · December 28, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    It was so much fun reading about your tennis year, and I can’t wait for the next installment!

    Kohli and Karen are two of my favourite players, so I envy you getting to see them live. As folks here know, I have a few “treats-eligible” players, which means when a player wins a title, I get a treat. Kohli and Karen both qualify, so that shows how special I think they are.

    It was great to hear that some of my other faves, Shapo and Stefan, are also nice when you meet them in person. And your experience with Maria totally confirmed my opinion of her.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 28, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    I found this journey very entertaining and informative also, it reveals a perspective of pro tennis that we rarely get to see, from a traveling enthusiast with a keen passion for the sport and meeting the players in quick interactions which reveal a lot. It’s unfortunate Sharapova projected a nasty personality in such a brief window of time and then others like Shap, Donaldson, Tsitsipas were so nice. I too look forward to reading about your future encounters with pro tennis and the players you cross paths with and good luck getting the Deminaur photo, I’m sure you will and he’s a nice guy as he even wears a shirt that says on the front “Be a nice human being.”

  • catherine · December 29, 2018 at 2:02 am

    Who wrote this piece ? Fred, or the guy who was first credited – Dr someone, I forget ?

  • Doug Day · December 29, 2018 at 8:31 am

    Congrats on a tour travelogue so juicy you cant stop reading. Loved the substance & endless variety rubbing elbows on the road. No selfies Dad!

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 29, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Catherine, someone who wishes to remain anonymous given the profound revelations he has exclusively disclosed to the fortunate readers of tennis-prose.com 🙂 I thought Tsitsipas looked fantastic last night vs Norrie but he lost 76 64. Tsitsipas was flying all over the court and attacking the net like a fiend, but Norrie somehow staved him off, Norris played an even more fantastic match. Absolutely brilliant high class high speed pinpoint accurate tennis to launch the Hopman Cup. Absolutely stunning top form tennis last night.

  • catherine · December 29, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Thanks Scoop – saw Norrie played very well. Big news in UK !

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 29, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Norrie is the real deal Catherine, he absolutely proved it last night. Norrie will do damage in 2019.

  • Jg · December 29, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    they are hyping Serena vs Federer at Hopman Cup in mixed doubles in a few days, should be entertaining with Serena playing with Tiafoe. Serena says she’s pumped to play Federer.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 29, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Well that will be very interesting to see Fed vs Serena, both will want to win, people mistakenly think Hopman Cup is just an exo but it’s fully serious and every player wants to get off to a big start in the new year. One of the greatest myths and misperceptions about Hopman Cup and pro tennis is that it’s just an exo. I have watched this event for a decade and it’s more than just an exo.

  • Wayne Bradford · December 30, 2018 at 12:01 am

    This was a great read. I had forgotten that Donaldson almost beat Tsitsipas. What a crushing defeat.

    I found this odd Kyrgios interview in Australia…

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/tennis/nick-kyrgios-plays-down-expectations-ahead-of-2019-season/news-story/5060c04d1d81e0119e52e30930302316

  • catherine · December 30, 2018 at 2:32 am

    Good tough 3 set workouts for Kerber and Zverev v Spain. Fast and furious Kerber v Muguruza – Angie looking chipper and Garbine playing better than for a while but not much variety on show from her (again) which is why she lost. Angie will play Cornet next which could be a spectacle considering they are clearly not best friends on court.

    Zverev slips past Ferrer and gets appreciation from the crowd for applauding a Ferrer winner.

    The Federer/Williams stuff is ridiculous – you’d think they were playing singles against each other. There will be two other people on the court and the match may not even take place.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 30, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Wayne,we all like Nick Kyrgios but can’t take him seriously on anything he says. Words mean nothing from Nick, we need action. Donaldson losing to Tsitsipas was a crusher, I should do a feature about especially extremely crushing losses like Mathieu to Youzhny in Davis Cup, Chang to Rafter at US Open, Zvereva 0606 to Graf in Roland Garros final. Harrison to Stakhovsky at uS Open grandstand with match point.

  • catherine · December 30, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Scoop – there wouldn’t be much to say about Graf/Zvereva match – it was over in around 37 mins and I think that included a rain delay 🙂

    There was something of an anticlimax about Steffi’s GS – by the time the USO came around everyone just knew she would do it. I think Sabatini knew that too and the final was a bit flat.

    I’m still surprised that no one else has got another GS – I fully expected Graf to do it again. Maybe the motivation was gone for her.

    There’s a few ‘nearlys’ – BJK missed Aust in 1972, otherwise she would probably have won there and completed the 4.

  • catherine · December 31, 2018 at 3:00 am

    Not a good start in Brisbane for Kasatkina who loses in 3 to Kim Birrell, ranked 283.

    10 dfs didn’t help Daria either. Early days though.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 31, 2018 at 3:38 am

    Nice read and very practical info like saying you’re a Dell employee and getting 50% off your ticket at Newport. One thing i differ with you about is the US Open. I think it’s a great tournament to watch tennis at. Yes, its crowded and yes, with the hot weather this year, it was mostly brutal, but its the only slam I believe that doesn’t charge for the Qualis and on the second Thurs of the event, tickets for outside Arthur Ashe Stadium are free. I got to go in last year and see in Louis Armstrong the doubles semis.

    I just saw Daniel Brands’ name in the Qualis losing in India. It says he’s only 31 years old which I couldn’t believe because he seems to have been around forever and he has really, turning pro back in 2005.

    Saw some Tstsipsas v Tiafoe tonight and it was pretty sizzling tennis. I had to turn it off with Tiafoe having won back a break in the first set. Tiafoe’s slice backhand is one of the weirdest shots I”ve seen on the pro tour. It looks like he ladles it over the net rather than knifing it. I see the Greek Freak won in three sets, but Serena won her singles match.

    I beg to differ, seeing Serena and Fed playing one another in Mixed Doubles to me is a big thing. The equivalent is maybe seeing McEnroe playing against Navratilova in MIxed or . Agassi and Graf. Come on, Fed and Serena are legends and both pushing the impossible, still at the top of the game at 37!

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 31, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Agree, Fed vs Serena is a very special clash of super greats and it’s a historical moment. Something like this has never happened in pro tennis or any other sport, only this can happen in tennis and at a wonderful event like Hopman Cup. James Blake last night said “Serena Williams is the most competitive person I’ve ever seen in my life, hands down.” I think with the supporting cast of Bencic and Tiafoe we are going to seem some amazing pyrotechnics. Most interesting will be to see who plays the best and who will be the weak link who chokes? My guess is Bencic.

  • Hartt · December 31, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I saw the last half of the Kasatkina vs Birrell match. Dasha was not at her best, but Kim played very well at the end. When Dasha was serving for the match Kim seemed to loosen up and really go for her shots. Dasha had something like 10 aces to go with the DFs, so it was either feast or famine on her serve.

    The big question for the young Aussie is can she repeat that level in her next match?

  • Hartt · December 31, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Because Raonic vs Bedene was on the same court as Dasha’s match, there was a long wait because the women’s match lasted over 3 hours. Milos’ match started past my bedtime, but thank goodness it was very short – just 47 minutes.

    Milos totally decimated poor Bedene, winning 6-0, 6-3. Bedene did not offer much resistance, but he wouldn’t have had much of a chance even if he’d played better. Milos had a first serve % of well over 70% and hit 18 aces, a high number for him. He started the match with 3 aces in a row.

    What I was happy to see was Milos going to the net, winning 5/6 net points. Also, he had 12 winners to two UFEs. If he can just avoid injury Milos should have a successful season.

  • catherine · December 31, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Hartt – I know Daria’s still very young but I’ve a feeling she might be a player who won’t change her game much and will be stranded somewhere around the top 20 and never make the big leap. Just a feeling. Hope I’m wrong.

    Over in China Sabalenka played her first set v T Maria as though she’d never seen a tennis racket in her life before. Enter coach for a chat and Saba runs out the match 3 and 1.

    Scoop – ‘very special clash of super greats’ which has never happened before in sport ? What about boxing ? Happens all the time from what I read. This is a doubles match and I can’t see the other two standing around with their mouths open in awe and astonishment while Federer wipes the floor with Serena.

  • Hartt · December 31, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Catherine, Dasha does need to improve her serve. If she can do that she will be tough to beat. She has a powerful FH, and good touch, as well as a creative approach to the game. Both Evert and Navratilova are big on her, so I hope she can fulfill her potential. She is at No. 10 now, so she has a shot at going up the rankings further in 2019.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 31, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Um, how does boxing pit a the male GOAT with the female GOAT? Doesn’t happen. It’s happening tomorrow in Perth and that’s pretty special. I think that’s what Scoop is referring to.

  • Hartt · December 31, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Those mixed doubles matches at Hopman Cup can be so short I wonder how much of the 2 GOATS we will actually see.

  • catherine · December 31, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    I’ve never seen the point of pitting a male against a female in any sport context. Usually you’ll find undercurrents swirling around and not all of them are pleasant. And as I said before this will be a doubles match and there will be 4 players on the court – so if the spectators expect a bizarre head-to-head they will be disappointed. Or it will be a most peculiar mixed doubles.

    Actually I agree with Hartt.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 31, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Actually it doesn’t happen much in boxing now because the top American fighters aren’t good enough and need protection, like Wilder, Mayweather, Broner, Davis, Ward, etc. Fed vs Serena in Hopman would have been neat to see Navratilova vs Becker in Hopman mixed with stable partners. Just a really neat tennis oddity that we are about to get the rare chance to see.

  • Dan Markowitz · December 31, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Actually, i thought the Connors v Navratilova match was very entertaining and competitive. Martina showed that with an extra alley, half alley on each side of court, and two serves to JImmy’s one, she could make the match competitive at least in the first set when it was on serve until Martina double-faulted first set away at 5-6.

    The age difference wasn’t great, 35-40 in Martina’s favor, but the match showcased her tremendous volleying skills and how well she moved on the court, much better than Serena does now even though she’s two years older than Martina was at the time. Connors for his part showed what a wonderful hitter he was on the run and how well he stymied Martina’s constant net rushes. In this Battle of the Sexes, Martina was more of the net rusher and volleyer. Interesting, Connors must’ve been the one who invented the swinging volley which he hit with his backhand on the run. I always thought Agassis was first player to hit swinging volley.

    So let’s see if both Fed’s and Serena’s genius will be on display in this match. Funny, I was talking to Anne Worcester today, who’s run the Connecticut Open for more than 20 years, and she told me that she wanted to move the tournament to July where she thinks it’ll get more of an audience, but the players, now only a women’s event, want it to stay the week before the Open. But Anne said the players rarely care about how the tournaments fare money or popularity-wise as long as they get their money.

    So why the women may say there’s no interest in a new Battle of the Sexes, the box office might prove them wrong.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 31, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Who knows, Fraudweather must might box a woman if he can big money by doing it, he just beat a Japanese kick boxer in a rigged fight in Japan, he’s beaten a pro wrestler, beaten a UFC champ in Conor McGregor, he just might pick a fight with a woman or a kangaroo. What a fraud mayweather is and always was.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 31, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Catherine, Billie King picked a match with Riggs, Serena and Venus picked on old Karsten Braasch, Court and Riggs played too I believe. Man vs woman battle of the sexes equals big interest and big bucks.

  • Wayne Bradford · December 31, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    Tennis journalist Ben Rothernberg asked Fed a lot of questions about this match. It is pretty historic, especially after Johnny Mac’s comments that he would crush Serena. (He is of course right but not the point).

    I do think Serena needs to put up a good account of herself just to fend off comments from the neanderthals who criticize women’s tennis. Though to be fair, I remember all the grief Rajeev Ram for his bad play with Venus in the Olympics so I imagine if the U.S. loses, fans will blame Tiafoe.

    Anyway it is nice to get such interest in the sport.

  • Scoop Malinowski · December 31, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    Wayne, I think Tiafoe will rise to the occasion, he loves this big stage, big event type matches and he plays his best tennis when the stadium is rocking, and he often is the one who gets the stadium rocking and rolling by his spirit and charisma. I think Bencic will be the one to crack but we will see.

  • catherine · January 1, 2019 at 2:18 am

    Scoop -Billie played Riggs to shut him up. No other reason. She wasn’t keen on the match until Margaret lost.

    I’m just bemused the way people are pushing this abbreviated mixed doubles match though it were a singles. Partly I suspect because there’s not a lot going on until the AO. Unless you count Sloane Stephens losing to Konta in Brisbane.

    Swing volley – it’s been around a while and Connors certainly didn’t invent it. Julie Heldman (see her recent book) learned to hit a swing volley, also called a drive volley by some, from her British coaches Jimmy Jones and Angela Buxton in the early 70s. As it happens
    I was working for Jimmy at the time so I heard all about it. Jimmy may have thought he invented the shot but I’m sure he didn’t either.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 1, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Why would Billie King be so keen to play Riggs after Riggs crushed Court? You would think she would be intimidated, like Serena is by McEnroe. Why doesn’t Serena play McEnroe “to shut him up”? Does Serena lack the courage and confidence of King? Or does Serena know that McEnroe won’t throw the match as is suspected about Riggs, who was a known gambler with far less financial security than McEnroe and perhaps a need to erase some bad gambling debts?

  • catherine · January 1, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Oh dear Scoop – we’ve been here before. Of coure BJ had to play Riggs – she was a better player in the clutches than Margaret and much cannier. She had to shut him up because he was a distraction. Riggs did not throw the match. He didnt prepare for it at all. Read Julie’s book if you want to know more background. Julie had plenty of ‘issues’ with BJ but she gives her all credit for beating Bobby.

    Serena took 3 sets to beat Belinda Bencic so I don’t think she’ll be in a hurry to play McEnroe. But I don’t imagine either that she’s ‘intimidated’ by Mac. She probably has other things on her mind.

  • catherine · January 1, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Oh and Belinda and Fed smoked Serena and Foe – so that was a bit of a flop.

    I like tennis but sometimes I get a bit fed up with all the stuff around it.

    Happy New Year anyway 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 1, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Not preparing at all for a high profile event is throwing it. Serena should accept John’s challenge and shut him up!

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 1, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Fedlinda hardly smoked Serencis. It was a good tough tight battle. Classic.

  • catherine · January 2, 2019 at 2:11 am

    I don’t think John’s challenging anymore.

    Riggs didn’t prepare because he was too cocky and swept away by all the publicity rubbish. He wasn’t the strongest guy mentally. He thought BJ would a breeze. She prepared like it was Wimbledon.

  • Hartt · January 2, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Several Canadian players are off to a good start in the new season.

    In Brisbane, Milos won both his singles matches in SS and with Robert Lindstedt, won his first round doubles match vs the Bryans. He will play Medvedev, a tough opponent, next. Milos served very well against both Bedene and Kecmanovic. In his match against Miomir he had a first serve % of 74% and hit 21 aces. He will need to be sharper in the rest of his game, however, to beat Daniil.

    In Auckland, Genie won her singles matches, in the last match coming back after losing the first set. Michael Joyce gave her a tough message during the OCC, telling her that the problem was her attitude. She turned things around after that. Maybe he is the right coach for her. Genie is still alive in doubles as well.

    Also in Auckland, 18-year-old Bianca Andreescu got through 3 rounds of qualies and beat Babos in the first round. Unfortunately, she will face Wozniacki next.

    Gabriela Dabrowski, with partner Yifan Xu, won her opening round in Brisbane.

    Felix won his qualies matches, but fell to Karlovic in the first round in Pune. The youngster did not look out of place against the vet. One wag said that Felix was younger than Dr. Ivo’s career. 🙂

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