Monday, July 6, 2020

Tiafoe ineligible for WTT after testing positive

Frances Tiafoe won the 2016 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger at 18
to crack the top 100 for the first time. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   Frances Tiafoe of the Washington Kastles was declared ineligible for the World TeamTennis season after testing positive for COVID-19 "within the advance travel testing window," league CEO Carlos Silva said in a statement today.
   The season is scheduled for Sunday through Aug. 2 at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
   Tiafoe, 22, is ranked No. 81 in the world (No. 8 in the United States) after climbing as high as No. 29 in February 2019. He won the 2016 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger at 18 to crack the top 100 for the first time.
   No replacement for Tiafoe was named. Also on the Kastles' roster are doubles specialists Marcelo Arevalo and Nick Monroe, plus Venus Williams, Bernarda Pera and Arina Rodionova. Arevalo, who reached a career-high No. 139 in singles in 2018, could play in that event instead of Tiafoe.

Friday, July 3, 2020

San Jose canceled; French Open fans; Djokovic negative

   Next month's Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced Thursday.
   The WTA tournament, which moved from Stanford in 2018, was scheduled for Aug. 3-9 at San Jose State.
   Withdrawals and upsets marked the first two Mubadala tournaments. In the finals, Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania crushed Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-0 in 2018, and Zheng Saisai of China defeated Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-3, 7-6 (3) last year. Those are the only career WTA singles titles of Buzarnescu, a 32-year-old left-hander, and Zheng, 26.
   French Open to allow spectators – The French Open can accommodate as many as 20,000 fans per day if the public health situation in France does not deteriorate, The New York Times reported today.
   The tournament, now scheduled for Sept. 27 to Oct. 11, plans to operate at "50 to 60 percent" of capacity, Bernard Giudicelli, the president of the French Tennis Federation, said in a videoconference with reporters.
   Tentatively, masks will be mandatory when moving about the grounds but not when seated at a court. There are no plans to check spectators' temperatures before entry or to require that they be tested for the coronavirus, according to The Times.
   The U.S. Open is scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, as planned, in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., but without fans.
   World TeamTennis will allow up to 500 fans per day, 20 percent of capacity, during its season from July 12 to Aug. 2 at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
   Djokovic tests negative – Ten days after contracting the coronavirus, Novak Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, tested negative, his media team said in a statement.
   The No. 1-ranked player tested positive after playing in an exhibition series in Serbia and Croatia that he organized. Fans packed the stands, and players socialized with each other and spectators on and off the court.
   Djokovic and his wife had no symptoms and were in self-isolation in Belgrade, Serbia, according to the statement.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Blake encouraged by protests, charges against officers

James Blake beat his childhood idol, John McEnroe, to win
the 2014 Champions Shootout in Sacramento, Calif. Both
players grew up in the New York area. Photo by Paul Bauman
   James Blake said he's been on "a pretty big roller coaster of emotions" since George Floyd's death.
   "That night, I went to bed so discouraged, just thinking how sad it was," the former world No. 4 said on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on June 10. "But (then) I was so encouraged by the fact that people cared. People in this country have not become totally desensitized. They haven't become numb to this. The protests happened so quickly, so genuinely, and they got results. I don't know if those four officers would have been charged if it wasn't for the protests."
   Blake, who's half African American, endured a frightening incident with the police in 2015 in New York. Retired by then, he was waiting outside his hotel for a ride to the U.S. Open to make some corporate appearances when a plainclothes New York City Police officer ran up, slammed him against a wall, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him. After 10 or 15 minutes, Blake was released.
   "They said I looked like a suspect," recalled the 40-year-old Blake, who won the doubles title in the 2004 SAP Open in San Jose, Calif., on the ATP Tour and the singles crown in the 2012 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger. "Turns out the suspect was for a credit card scam, nothing violent. No reason, in my opinion, to tackle someone."
   Blake, who turned pro after two years at Harvard, sued but withdrew his claim, saying he wasn't looking for financial compensation "on the condition that the city establish a legal fellowship to investigate police misconduct and advocate for victims of brutality."
   "In terms of trying to get justice, I tried so hard," Blake, who's now the Miami Open tournament director, told Fallon. "This is why I'm so encouraged by today's events. I screamed and yelled for two years to get an internal trial against this police officer. All he lost was five vacation days, and it was his fifth incident. The other four were against African American men, one when he broke the guy's jaw, and they said he couldn't be fired. That's what needs to be changed, and that's why I'm so encouraged by the fact that more and more people are realizing that this (lack of) accountability is a joke."

Monday, June 29, 2020

Fed Cup, Davis Cup Finals postponed until 2021

   The Fed Cup and Davis Cup Finals have been postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Tennis Federation announced Friday.
   The 12-team Fed Cup Finals, originally scheduled for April, were pushed back to April 13-18, 2021, in Budapest, Hungary.
   The 18-team Davis Cup Finals, which had been set for Nov. 23-29, were postponed until Nov. 22-28, 2021, in Madrid.
   Combined ATP and WTA events are scheduled for Madrid (Sept. 14-20) and Rome (Sept. 21-27) before the French Open (Sept. 27-Oct. 11).
   "I was really looking forward to (the Davis Cup Finals)," tweeted 22-year-old Taylor Fritz, ranked 24th in the world and second in the United States behind No. 21 John Isner. "I don't really understand how we are playing in Madrid after US Open but can't play in Madrid at the same venue 2 months later ... "
   All Fed Cup and Davis Cup playoff and group competitions also were postponed until 2021, the ITF said.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Cal men add Matta, doubles star Ram to coaching staff

   The University of California, Berkeley men lost a highly regarded assistant coach but added two coaches with impressive credentials.
   Two weeks after announcing that longtime Cal assistant Tyler Browne was leaving to become the director of racquet sports at the nearby Orinda Country Club, Bears director of men's tennis Peter Wright recently replaced Browne with accomplished Horacio Matta and named pro doubles star Rajeev Ram as a volunteer assistant coach.
   Matta has worked with Chile's Davis Cup team and coached at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. He coached Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu, both former top-10 players in the world, and current world No. 18 Cristian Garin. All four men are from Chile.
   Massu, who now coaches world No. 3 Dominic Thiem, swept the singles and doubles gold medals, teaming with Gonzalez, in the 2014 Olympics in Athens. Gonzalez earned the singles silver medal in the 2018 Games in Beijing, falling to Rafael Nadal.
   Matta also worked with San Francisco Bay Area products CiCi Bellis, the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2017, and Michaela Gordon, a Stanford senior who plays No. 1 singles for the two-time defending NCAA champion Cardinal.
   Matta, the father of former Cal player Gunther Matta, served as a volunteer assistant coach at Stanford in 2019-20.
   "Horacio's Davis Cup coaching experience coupled with having coached former top-10 players Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu – and most recently ATP top-20 player Cristian Garin – give him a unique player-development perspective not found on any other college campus in America," Wright said in a news release.
   Ram, 36, is ranked ninth in the world in doubles after winning the Australian Open with Joe Salisbury of Great Britain in January and climbing to a career-high of No. 5 the following month.
   It was Ram's 58th Grand Slam tournament in doubles, breaking the Open Era (since-1968) record for most attempts before winning a major men's doubles title. He also won the mixed doubles crown in the 2019 Australian Open with Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic.
   Ram owns 20 titles in doubles, including San Jose, Calif., in 2011 with ex-Stanford All-American Scott Lipsky, and two in singles, in Newport, R.I., on grass in 2009 and 2015, on the ATP Tour.
   Ram peaked at No. 56 in singles in 2016 before switching to doubles full-time the following year. He reached the singles final in the 2006 Sacramento, Calif., Challenger, losing to Paul Goldstein, now the men's head coach at Stanford.
   In the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Ram teamed with Venus Williams to claim the silver medal in mixed doubles. As an Illinois freshman in 2003, he led the Illini to the NCAA team championship and paired with Brian Wilson to win the NCAA doubles crown before turning pro.
   Ram was born in Denver, grew up in Carmel, Ind., and owns a home in the Bay Area. After taking online classes, he earned a bachelor's degree in general studies with a concentration in social and behavioral sciences in 2017, according to tennisrecruiting.net. He told the website that has no plans to retire.
   "Rajeev's experience as an NCAA champion, Olympic medalist and Grand Slam champion gives him unparalleled insight into what it takes to be a tennis champion," Wright said. "I'm excited for our players to be working with these incredible coaches, both of whom share a passion for teaching and for building a championship culture."

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Venus to return for her 15th WTT season

Venus Williams, who turned 40 on June 17, will play for the Washington Kastles
in World TeamTennis this summer. 2018 photo by Mal Taam 
   Venus Williams – who has won 23 Grand Slam titles and four Olympic gold medals and played on five World TeamTennis championship teams – will play for the Washington Kastles in her 15th WTT season, the league announced today.
   The season is scheduled for July 12-Aug. 2 at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
   Of Williams' Grand Slam titles, seven have come in singles (five at Wimbledon and two at the U.S. Open), 14 in women's doubles and two in mixed doubles. 
   In the Olympics, Williams won gold medals in singles in 2000 (Sydney) and doubles with younger sister Serena in 2000, 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London).
   Venus Williams, who turned 40 on June 17, made her professional debut indoors in Oakland at 14 years old in 1994. She reached the final of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford eight times, winning in 2000 and 2002. The tournament moved to San Jose State University as the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in 2018.
   In 2011, Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, an incurable energy-sapping disease.
   Williams will join Frances Tiafoe, Marcelo Arevalo, Bernarda Pera, Nick Monroe and Arina Rodionova on the Kastles.
   Williams led Washington to the King Trophy in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. She won her first King Trophy as a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms in 2006.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Kiick's father, former Miami Dolphins star, dies at 73

   Jim Kiick, a star running back on the legendary Miami Dolphins teams of the early 1970s and the father of professional tennis player Allie Kiick, died Saturday in Wilton Manors, Fla., at 73.
   Kiick had Alzheimer's disease and was living in an assisted living facility.
   "I'd like everyone to know that I have read every single comment about my dad," Allie Kiick, who will turn 25 on Tuesday, tweeted Sunday. "Please continue sharing all your stories and pictures. Brings tears of joy. Thank you all so much. Happy Father's Day to the best Dad in the world. I love & miss you so much #21."
   With formidable runners Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris and Kiick, Miami reached three consecutive Super Bowls (1971-73) and won the last two. The 1972 Dolphins remain the only NFL team to go undefeated in the regular season and playoffs (17-0).
   Kiick scored on one-yard touchdown runs in both of Miami's Super Bowl victories. In the three Super Bowls combined, he rushed for 88 yards on 29 carries (3.0 average).
   The Dolphins drafted Kiick, a New Jersey native, in the fifth round in 1968 out of the University of Wyoming. He rushed for at least 500 yards in each of his first five seasons, all with Miami, and topped 1,000 yards combined rushing and receiving in each of his first four years.
   Kiick led the American Football League with nine rushing touchdowns in 1969 and ran for a career-high 738 yards (4.6 average) in 1971. The AFL merged with the NFL in 1970 and became the American Football Conference.
   Kiick missed only one game in his seven years with the Dolphins, when the regular season lasted 14 games rather than today's 16. He ranks fifth in Dolphins history with 3,644 rushing yards.
   Allie Kiick, 5-foot-7 (1.70 meters), climbed to a career-high No. 126 last June after missing two years (2015-17) with mononucleosis, a rare skin cancer on her back and four knee surgeries. During her layoff, she taught tennis in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and took biology classes at Broward College there.
   "My back is like a road map, scars everywhere," Kiick, currently ranked No. 160, told wtatennis.com in 2017. "I've matured a ton. I think that came with working a regular job, going to school, seeing things from a normal person's perspective.
   "The job I had was like $25 an hour, and it was hard work. They were, like 5-year-olds, and it was hard. I can honestly say I do not want to ever be a coach. Ever."

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Djokovic tests positive following exhibition series

Novak Djokovic, who has not shown symptoms of COVID-19, said
he will isolate himself for 14 days. File photo by Paul Bauman
   Novak Djokovic announced today that he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 after he played in a series of exhibition matches in Serbia and Croatia last week.
   The world No. 1, who has not shown symptoms of COVID-19, said he will isolate himself for 14 days. Others who played in the exhibitions and tested positive were No. 19 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 33 Borna Coric and former No. 12 Viktor Troicki.
   Social distancing was not observed at the Adria Tour, which Djokovic had organized to raise money for those affected by the pandemic. Fans packed the stands, and players mingled with fans and each other off the court. Players hugged each other and partied at nightclubs and restaurants, the Associated Press reported.
   Serbia has 13,092 cases and 263 deaths from COVID-19, and Croatia has 2,366 and 107, respectively.
   "We organized the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the tour had been met," Djokovic, who revealed in April that he opposes vaccinations, said in a statement. "I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone's health situation and that everyone will be fine."
   Djokovic said his two children, Stefan, 5, and Tara, 2, tested negative.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Dimitrov, Coric test positive after exhibitions

   This is not encouraging.
   Within a week of the announcements that the professional tours will resume in August and the U.S. Open will be played Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 as scheduled but without fans, top-35 players Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Borna Coric of Croatia said they tested positive for the coronavirus.
   Dimitrov, ranked 19th, and Coric, ranked 33rd, played in last week's Adria Tour, an exhibition series organized by top-ranked Novak Djokovic, in Serbia and Croatia.
   "I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during the last few days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions," Dimitrov, a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist, revealed Sunday on Instagram. "I am so sorry for any harm I might have caused. I am back home now and recovering."
  Coric – who has beaten Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray twice each – expressed similar sentiments today in a tweet and added that he has no symptoms.
   Djokovic's fitness coach, Marco Panichi, also tested positive, Serbian daily Sportski Zurnal reported.
   "We are really sorry," event director Djordje Djokovic, Novak's younger brother, told reporters regarding the positive tests. "We tried our best to respect all measures, and we did respect all measures imposed by the governments of Serbia and Croatia."
   Both countries, however, have eased have lockdown measures in recent weeks. Fans packed the stands for the Adria Tour, and players hugged at the net, posed for pictures together and danced at clubs, ESPN reported.
   Sunday's final between Novak Djokovic and 14th-ranked Andrey Rublev of Russia was canceled. Djokovic, who said in April that he opposes vaccinations, has no symptoms but will be tested for the coronavirus, according to his media team.
   Rublev and top-10 players Dominic Thiem of Austria and Alexander Zverev of Germany, both of whom also played in the Adria Tour, said they would self-isolate despite negative tests.
   Nick Kyrgios of Australia blasted the series.
   "Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the 'exhibition' speedy recovery fellas, but that's what happens when you disregard all protocols," Kyrgios tweeted today. "This IS NOT A JOKE."

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

U.S. Open to be held as scheduled; tours will resume

Arthur Ashe Stadium will be eerie without fans. File photo by Paul Bauman
   The U.S. Open will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 13 as scheduled but without fans, organizers confirmed today.
   Also, the men's and women's pro tours plan to resume in August with modified schedules, subject to approval by governments and health organizations, after a five-month hiatus.
   The tours were suspended the night before the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif., was scheduled to begin on March 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   The Western & Southern Open will move from Cincinnati to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., the site of the U.S. Open, and will be held the preceding week.
   The United States has 119,935 deaths from COVID-19, more than 2.5 times the number of any other country, according to Worldometer. Meanwhile, New York has 30,939 deaths, almost 2.5 times the number of any other state, according to CNN.
   The U.S. Open brings in more than $400 million annually, more than 80% of the USTA's revenue, according to CNBC. ESPN pays the USTA more than $70 million annually to televise the tournament in the United States.
   Rafael Nadal, who won his fourth U.S. Open title last year, told The New York Times in a June 4 story that, as of then, he would not play in the tournament because of the health risk.
   Outspoken Australian Nick Kyrgios said the USTA was "selfish" to hold the U.S. Open.
   "I'll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return," he tweeted Monday.
   In addition to excluding fans, the USTA plans to limit the number of support staff that players may take to New York, possibly only one team member each, The Times reported. Top players typically travel with large entourages including family members, a coach, trainer and physical therapist.
   Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who has won three U.S. Open titles, has criticized the restrictions as "extreme."
   Roger Federer, a five-time U.S. Open champion, will miss the rest of the year after recently having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee for the second time in 2020.
   Several top women, including No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia and No. 2 Simona Halep of Romania, expressed reservations about playing in the U.S. Open.
   "Not only because we're in the middle of a global pandemic," Halep told The Times. "But also because of the risk of travel, potential quarantine and then the changes around the tournament."
   However, Serena Williams plans to renew her quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title in the U.S. Open.
   "I really cannot wait to return to New York and play the U.S. Open in 2020," Williams, a six-time U.S. Open champion, said in a video message on usopen.org. "I feel like the USTA is going to do a really good job of ensuring that everything is amazing, perfect, and that everyone is safe. It's going to be exciting. It's been over six months since a lot of us have played professional tennis."
   Williams has lost her last four Grand Slam finals, including the 2018 U.S. Open debacle in which she clashed with chair umpire Carlos Ramos and received three code violations.
   The women's tour is set to resume Aug. 3 in Palermo, Italy.
   "It is currently anticipated that tournaments will be held without fans and each tournament will have a limited footprint, with players and essential personnel only," the WTA said in a news release. "WTA tournaments will be available for viewing on broadcast."
   The Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State, which had been scheduled for Aug. 3-9, is not on the new schedule.
   The men plan to return Aug. 17 in Washington, D.C.
   "All events will be held under strict guidelines related to health and safety, social distancing and reduced or no fans on-site," according to an ATP Tour news release.
   However, Australian John Millman tweeted: "Why are we going into a bubble for Cinci/US when we have a lead in tournament in Washington DC? We may as well have played Cinci in Cinci if we are no longer doing the bubble isolation tennis thing."
   After the U.S. Open, the men and women are scheduled to play in Madrid (Sept. 14-20) and Rome (Sept. 21-27) before the French Open (Sept. 27-Oct. 11).
   The women then will compete in Asia through November. The men's schedule after the French Open is scheduled to be released in mid-July.
   The ATP Challenger Tour and ITF World Tennis Tours will resume the week of Aug. 17.

USTA Boys 18 Nationals suddenly moved to Orlando

   The USTA announced Monday that the Boys 18 National Championships would be held at the traditional location in Kalamazoo, Mich.
   Not so fast.
   "Due to health and safety concerns for athletes, guests, volunteers and the Kalamazoo community at large, Kalamazoo College leadership has made the difficult decision not to host the Boys 18s event in 2020," the USTA said today in a news release.
   The tournament, scheduled for Aug. 7-16, will move to the USTA National Campus in the Orlando, Fla., suburb of Lake Nona.
   The Boys 16 Nationals, usually held in Kalamazoo, already had been moved to Mobile, Ala.
   The Girls 18 and 16 Nationals, normally held concurrently in San Diego, also will be split up, the USTA announced Monday. The 18s will remain in San Diego, but the 16s will move to Rome, Ga. Both are scheduled for Aug. 8-16.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

WTT Vegas bets on players with strong NorCal ties

Ex-Stanford stars Bob Bryan, right, and Mike Bryan will play for the Vegas
Rollers in World TeamTennis this season, July 12-Aug. 2 at The Greenbrier
resort in White Sulphur Springs, Va. File photo by Paul Bauman 
   The Vegas Rollers of World TeamTennis will have a distinct Northern California flair this season.
   The Rollers' roster includes former Stanford stars Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan and Kristie Ahn as well as San Francisco native Sam Querrey.
   Also on the team are Monica Puig, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in women's singles from Puerto Rico, and Las Vegas product Asia Muhammad.
   The 42-year-old Bryan twins, who were born in Camarillo in the Los Angeles area and now live in Florida, have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles.
   The Bryans played at Stanford in 1997 and 1998, helping the Cardinal win the NCAA title each year. Bob achieved a rare Triple Crown, capturing the NCAA singles, doubles (with Mike) and team titles in 1998.
   Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, reached the round of 16 at last year's U.S. Open. She was born two miles from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the site of the U.S. Open, and lives in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., a 30-minute drive from the center.
   Querrey, a 32-year-old Las Vegas resident, advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals in 2017.
   Another player with NorCal ties, Sloane Stephens, will play for the Chicago Smash. The 27-year-old Fresno product won the 2017 U.S. Open and reached the final of the 2018 French Open.
   WTT will play its entire season at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V. The regular-season is scheduled for July 12-30, and the four-team playoffs are set for Aug. 1-2.
   Play on the men's and women's pro tours has been suspended until at least Aug. 3.
   Here are this season's WTT rosters (future additions possible):
   Chicago Smash – Genie Bouchard, Evan King, Brandon Nakashima, Rajeev Ram, Sloane Stephens. Coach: Kamau Murray.
   New York Empire – Kim Clijsters, Mardy Fish, Sabine Lisicki, Kveta Peschke, Neal Skupski, Jack Sock. Coach: Luke Jensen.
   Orange County Breakers – Luke Bambridge, Steve Johnson, Andreja Klepac, Milos Raonic. Coach: Rick Leach.
   Orlando Storm – Danielle Collins, Darija Jurak, Tennys Sandgren, Ken Skupski, James Ward. Coach: Jay Gooding.
   Philadelphia Freedoms – Caroline Dolehide, Sofia Kenin, Fabrice Martin, Taylor Townsend, Donald Young. Coach: Craig Kardon.
   San Diego Aviators – Ryan Harrison, Christina McHale, Nicole Melichar, Jonny O'Mara, Coco Vandeweghe. Coach: John Lloyd.
   Springfield (Mo.) Lasers – Hayley Carter, Olga Govortsova, Mitchell Krueger, Robert Lindstedt, Caty McNally, Jean-Julien Rojer. Coach: John-Laffnie de Jager.
   Vegas Rollers – Kristie Ahn, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Asia Muhammad, Monica Puig, Sam Querrey. Coach: Tim Blenkiron.
   Washington (D.C.) Kastles – Marcelo Arevalo, Nick Monroe, Bernarda Pera, Arina Rodionova, Frances Tiafoe. Coach: Robby Ginepri.

Monday, June 15, 2020

USTA 18, 16 Nationals to be held as scheduled

Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco
Bay Area poses after winning the USTA Girls 18 Nat-
ional Championships last August in San Diego. Photo
courtesy of JFS Communications
   The USTA Boys and Girls 18 and 16 National Championships will be held Aug. 7-16 as scheduled, the organization announced today.
   However, the boys and girls 14s and 12s have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   The boys and girls 18s will be held at their traditional locations of Kalamazoo, Mich., and San Diego, respectively. But the boys 16s will move from Kalamazoo to Mobile, Ala., and the girls 16s will switch from San Diego to Rome, Ga.
   The singles draws for each tournament will be reduced from 224 players to 128. Information regarding the doubles competitions will be announced later.
   Face masks will be required for everyone except on-court players and officials, according to the USTA. Players will be limited to one guest, and there will be no additional spectators.
   College coaches will not be permitted to attend the tournaments, but the USTA is "working on making additional resources available" for remote recruiting, a spokesman said.
   Four Northern Californians have won the 18 singles title in the past seven years. Boys champions include Collin Altamirano (2013) of Sacramento and Jenson Brooksby (2018) of Carmichael in the Sacramento region. Among the girls winners are CiCi Bellis (2014) of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area and Katie Volynets (2019) of Walnut Creek in the Bay Area.
   All except Brooksby, a freshman at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, play professionally. All except Bellis, who's based at the USTA National Campus in the Orlando, Fla., area, train at the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Stanford men's recruiting class ranked first in nation

   Paul Goldstein recently took another big step in his efforts to rebuild the Stanford men's program.
   The sixth-year Cardinal head coach has compiled the nation's top recruiting class for 2020, according to tennisrecruiting.net.
   Headed to Stanford, which ended the shortened 2020 season ranked eighth, are Great Britain's Arthur Fery, the 12th-ranked junior in the world; blue chippers Alex Lee of Oak Brook, Ill., and Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area; and Tristan Boyer of Altadena, Calif., in the Los Angeles region.
   Chaudhary is ranked 11th nationally in the 18s, and Boyer was the runner-up to Jenson Brooksby of Carmichael in the Sacramento region in the 2018 Easter Bowl at Indian Wells, Calif.
   The Stanford men have not won the NCAA team championship since Dick Gould won the last of his 17 titles in 2000. Goldstein, playing for Gould, became the first player to compete on four NCAA championship teams (1995-98), a feat also accomplished by USC's Steve Johnson (2009-12).
   The University of California men, ranked 36th, were not ranked among the top 25 recruiting classes.
   In women's recruiting, the Cal and Stanford classes rank third and seventh, respectively. Texas is No. 1 and Georgia Tech No. 2.
   Cal, ranked 38th, added Jada Bui of Ajax, Ontario, Hannah Viller Møller of Denmark and Cami Brown of Irvine, Calif.
   Bui has a world junior ranking of No. 76. Viller Møller was ranked No. 1 in the 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s in Denmark. Brown is the 68th-ranked recruit by tennisrecruiting.net.
   Sixth-ranked Stanford, which has won the last two NCAA team titles and three of the last four, snagged India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon in the Bay Area and Ana Geller of Argentina.
   Houghton is No. 3 on tennisrecruiting.net's list of recruits. Geller, the sister of Stanford senior Axel Geller, has a world junior ranking of No. 43.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Zamarripa twins surprisingly choose Texas

   Allura and Maribella Zamarripa surprised even themselves by verbally committing to enroll at the University of Texas in 2021.
    The identical twins from Saint Helena in the Napa area are "total California girls," Allura said in the May/June issue of Inside Tennis. "We wanted to stay in California. SoCal, NorCal ... it didn't matter. We just wanted to be in California close to our family. Our initial schools were Stanford, UCLA, Pepperdine, USC. Texas wasn't even on the radar."
   The Zamarripas changed their minds after visiting the University of Texas in Austin.
   "We decided to do a last-minute visit in February," Maribella said, "and we were pleasantly surprised. We chose Texas because we wanted to go pro after college, and Texas had the best opportunities. They play the most pro tournaments, and the resources there are unbelievable."
   In the class of 2020, Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara and India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon will head to nearby Stanford, Katherine Duong of Cupertino will play at Illinois, and Dean Babb of Roseville will attend Columbia.
   Santa Clara, Belvedere Tiburon and Cupertino are in the San Francisco Bay Area. Roseville is a suburb of Sacramento.
   Assuming the Zamarripas follow through on their commitment, they will follow Jenson Brooksby as top Northern California juniors to choose a Texas school. Brooksby, the 2018 USTA boys 18 national champion from Carmichael in the Sacramento region, originally committed to Texas Christian in Fort Worth for 2020 before following renowned coach Brian Boland to Baylor in Waco. Boland won four NCAA team titles in five years (2013-17) at Virginia.
   The Zamarripas almost stunned eventual champions Madison Brengle and Sachia Vickery in the first round of the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Women's Challenge last July, falling 6-7 (5), 6-2 [10-5]. Brengle also won the singles title.
   In 2018, the Zamarripas swept the girls 16 doubles titles in the Easter Bowl at Indian Wells, Calif., and the USTA International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif., in consecutive weeks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Federer has knee surgery again, plans to return in 2021

Roger Federer slugs a forehand during his 2018 exhibition in San Jose, Calif,
Photo by Mal Taam
   Remember when Roger Federer avoided injuries and there was a men's pro tour?
   Both seem like distant memories.
   The injuries are mounting for Federer. He recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery for the second time this year and third time in four years. Federer also suffered a groin injury in his epic victory over Tennys Sandgren in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January.
   Yet Federer, who will turn 39 on Aug. 8, has no plans to retire. He said he will return in 2021.
   "A few weeks ago, having experienced a setback during my initial rehabilitation, I had to have an additional quick arthroscopic procedure on my right knee," Federer, whose only Northern California appearance came in a 2018 exhibition in San Jose, tweeted today. "Now, much like I did leading up to the 2017 season, I plan to take the necessary time to be 100% ready to play at my highest level.
   "I will be missing my fans and the tour dearly, but I will look forward to seeing everyone back on tour at the start of the 2021 season."
   Federer suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee in February 2016 while running a bath for his twin daughters. He also had surgery on his right knee this past February and had planned to return for the grass-court season before the tour was suspended indefinitely in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   In Federer's only tournament of the year, he saved seven match points against Sandgren in the Australian Open before losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Novak Djokovic 7-6 (1), 6-4, 6-3.
   At Wimbledon last year, Federer held two championship points before falling to Djokovic 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3). It was the longest Wimbledon final ever, lasting 4 hours, 57 minutes.
   Federer has won a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, one ahead of Rafael Nadal and three in front of third-place Djokovic.
   However, the men's and women's pro tours have been suspended until at least July 31 and July 12, respectively.
   The U.S. Open remains scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, and the French Open was postponed from May 24-June 7 to Sept. 20-Oct. 4.
   Wimbledon, which had been scheduled for June 29 to July 12, was canceled for the first time in 75 years on April 1. The Summer Olympics in Tokyo were pushed back from July 24-Aug. 9 to July 23-Aug. 8, 2021.
   Federer tops Forbes' annual list of highest-earning athletes, the magazine announced last month.  With $100 million in endorsements and $6.3 million in prize money, Federer became the first tennis player to head the list since it debuted in 1990.
   Trailing Federer in the top five are soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo ($105 million total), Lionel Messi ($104 million) and Neymar ($95.5 million) and basketball star LeBron James ($88.2 million).
   Federer is one of five tennis players in the top 100. The others are No. 23 Novak Djokovic ($44.6 million), No. 27 Rafael Nadal ($40 million), No. 29 Naomi Osaka (the highest-earning female athlete at $37.4 million), No. 33 Serena Williams ($36 million) and No. 40 Kei Nishikori ($32.1 million).

Friday, June 5, 2020

Cobra, Fresno State women's coach, to resign

   Mariana Cobra's stint at Fresno State didn't last long.
   Cobra will resign as the head coach of the Bulldog women effective June 12 after one shortened season, school officials announced Wednesday.
   "After over 10 years of living and breathing for my passion of coaching, I have decided that 2019-20 was my last season as a head coach," Cobra, who plans to move to Oklahoma but did not elaborate, said on gobulldogs.com. "Collegiate coaching has provided me many, many opportunities.
   "Thank you to all of the players and colleagues who have made me a better leader and person over the last few years. Special thanks to (athletic director) Terry Tumey, (associate athletic director) Frank Pucher and the Fresno State athletic family for the support and wonderful experience in my final year of collegiate coaching."
   Cobra, a Brazil native, went 7-7 at Fresno State before the season ended because of the coronavirus pandemic. She had served as the head coach at Division I North Florida (2016-19), Idaho (2014-16) and Northern Iowa (2012-13).
   During her seven years as a Division I head coach, Cobra guided players to 30 all-conference selections and three conference Player of the Year awards.
   "We thank coach Cobra for bringing stability and positive momentum to our women's tennis program during her time on campus," Tumey said. "Her efforts helped elevate Bulldog tennis on the court, in the classroom and in our community. We wish her the best as she moves on to the next chapter of her personal life."
   Fresno State has not named Cobra's successor.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Longtime Cal men's assistant accepts position at club

   Tyler Browne, the associate head coach of the California men's team and a former Bears standout, will become the director of racquet sports at the nearby Orinda Country Club, Cal head coach Peter Wright announced Wednesday.
   Browne recently completed his 13th season on the Cal coaching staff, highlighted by the Bears' semifinal run in the 2016 NCAA Championship in Tulsa, Okla.
   "It's bittersweet to be leaving a place that has been so special to me over my 17-year career – being a student-athlete first from 2003 to 2008, then immediately jumping onto the coaching staff in 2008," Browne said in a news release. "To turn that page has been very difficult for me.
   "I can't speak highly enough of the people that I've been surrounded with here at Cal. To be working with Peter Wright for as many years as I have and then to be mentored by him has been an invaluable experience for which I will always be grateful.
   "Working with administrators and with all the colleagues that I consider my friends over the years has been completely enriching. The relationships that I've built with student-athletes, former teammates and alums has really made Cal special. I wouldn't be the person I am today without those friendships."
   Browne was named the ITA Northwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year four times (2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019). Cal reached the postseason every year during Browne's tenure and had the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation in 2017. Since 2008, Browne has worked with seven Cal All-Americans, including professional players Ben McLachlan, Andre Goransson, Florian Lakat and Filip Bergevi.
   As a Cal player, Browne went 72-59 in singles and added 46 doubles victories in four years. A product of nearby Walnut Creek, he was ranked as high as No. 56 in singles and No. 12 in doubles. Browne was named to the All-Pac-10 second team as a junior in 2006 and received honorable mention in 2007.
   "Tyler's legacy as a player and coach at Cal is nothing short of remarkable," Wright said. "On a daily basis, he shared his passion for tennis, as well as his fierce loyalty and dedication to our players, team and university.
   "It's been my absolute pleasure to watch Tyler grow from a high-level junior player to an outstanding college player to becoming one of the finest college coaches in the country, earning many titles and coaching awards along the way."

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

World TeamTennis to play full season at W.V. resort

Sofia Kenin, ranked fourth, headlines the World Team-
Tennis rosters this season. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman 
   World TeamTennis will play its entire season at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V., the league announced today.
   The regular season is scheduled for July 12-30, and the four-team playoffs are set for Aug. 1-2. Play on the men's and women's pro tours has been suspended until at least Aug. 3.
   CBS will broadcast a WTT regular-season match on July 19 and the WTT Final on Aug. 2. CBS Sports Network will carry 13 regular-season matches and the Aug. 1 semifinals.
   WTT will play at least three matches per day at The Greenbrier's 2,500-seat outdoor stadium, and an indoor court will be installed as a backup. In accordance with state health guidelines, WTT will allow up to 500 fans to attend the outdoor matches.
   The nine-team league consists of the two-time defending champion Springfield (Mo.) Lasers, Las Vegas Rollers, Orange County Breakers, San Diego Aviators, New York Empire, Orlando Storm, Philadelphia Freedoms, Washington Kastles and expansion Chicago Smash.
   This season's players include:
   –Sofia Kenin (Philadelphia), the world No. 4 and reigning Australian Open champion.
   –Sloane Stephens (Chicago), the 2017 U.S. Open champion and 2018 French Open runner-up.
   –Grigor Dimitrov (Orange County), a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist.
   –Bob and Mike Bryan (Las Vegas), who have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles.
   –Sam Querrey (Las Vegas), a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2017.
   –Tennys Sandgren (Orlando), a two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist.
   –Neal Skupski (New York), last year's WTT Male MVP.
   Kenin won Northern California Challengers in three consecutive years – Sacramento at 17 in 2016, Stockton and Berkeley.
   Stephens grew up in Fresno, the Bryan twins starred at Stanford in 1997 and 1998, and Querrey was born in San Francisco.
   The Bryans, Sandgren and Skupski played for the Sacramento area-based California Dream in 2015, the team's only year of existence.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Suspensions of men's, women's pro tours extended

Arthur Ashe Stadium looms over rows of subway trains in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
The U.S. Open, still scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, could move to Orlando, Fla.,
or Indian Wells, or it could be canceled. File photo by Paul Bauman
   The suspension of the men's and women's professional tours today were extended to July 31 and July 12, respectively, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
   ATP tournaments in Hamburg, Bastad, Newport, Los Cabos, Gstaad, Umag, Atlanta and Kitzbuhel will not be held as scheduled. The ATP Challenger Tour and the ITF World Tennis Tour during that time also have been suspended.
   WTA tourneys in Bastad, Lausanne, Bucharest and Jurmala (Latvia) were canceled.
   Further updates are scheduled for mid-June (ATP) and June (WTA).
   The U.S. Open remains scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., and the French Open for Sept. 20 to Oct. 4. The French Tennis Federation announced on March 17 that Roland Garros would be moved from May 24-June 7 to one week after the U.S. Open.
   The New York Times reported Thursday that the U.S. Open could move from Flushing Meadows, N.Y., to the United States Tennis Association's 100-court training facility in Orlando, Fla., or to Indian Wells, the site of the BNP Paribas Open, but perhaps not in late summer.
   The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the site of the U.S. Open, is near the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the New York area.
   Cancellation of the two Grand Slam tournaments also is a strong possibility because so many people are needed to hold them and players would have to travel from all over the world.
   Last year's U.S. Open generated $400 million, more than 80 percent of the USTA's annual revenue, according to the Times. The tournament does not have cancellation insurance because of the prohibitive cost.
   Wimbledon, originally scheduled for June 29 to July 12, was canceled for the first time in 75 years on April 1. The Tokyo Olympics, which had been set for July 24 to Aug. 9, were postponed until summer 2021 on March 24.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Cal freshman Giavara named All-American in singles

Haley Giavara
Haley Giavara is ranked 15th
in singles. Photo courtesy of
Cal athletics
   Cal's Haley Giavara was one of three freshmen named as All-Americans in women's singles today by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
   Twenty women's singles players and 10 women's doubles teams were honored after the season was shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The same number of men's players and teams received recognition. 
   The 15th-ranked Giavara, from San Diego, went 19-7 in singles with four victories over top-10 players. Other freshmen chosen were UCLA's Abigail Forbes and Virginia's Natasha Subhash.
   Also named in singles were 12th-ranked Michaela Gordon, a Stanford junior from nearby Saratoga, and 21st-ranked Mariia Kozyreva, a Saint Mary's junior from Russia. 
   It's the third consecutive year that Gordon has been selected as an All-American in singles. She also was picked in doubles as a freshman. Kozyreva was named for the first time in singles or doubles.
   On the men's side, Sam Riffice, a Florida sophomore who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, was named an All-American in singles and doubles.
   Riffice is ranked fifth in singles and 19th in doubles. He also was chosen in singles last year.
   Seventh-ranked Alexandre Rotsaert, a Stanford sophomore from Boca Raton, Fla., was honored in singles. It's his first All-America recognition.

Monday, April 27, 2020

NorCal's Stevie Gould says coach sexually abused him

   Stevie Gould of Corte Madera in the San Francisco Bay Area recently told The New York Times that a prominent Bay Area coach sexually abused him.
   Gould, 19, said Normandie Burgos repeatedly abused him for two years, including at hotels during tournaments in other states.
   Gould added that when Burgos started to groom another, younger player for sex, "the light bulb went (on)" to report what was happening. Burgos, 56, was convicted last May of 60 counts of child molestation. He is serving a 255-year prison sentence.
   Gould, who's not related to legendary Stanford men's coach Dick Gould, signed to play at the University of Washington and transferred to the University of San Francisco.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tiburon Challenger canceled because of pandemic

Tommy Paul, playing in the 2018 Tiburon (Calif.) Chal-
enger, won last year's singles title. Photo by Paul Bauman
   This year's Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, tournament organizers announced today.
   The Challenger had been scheduled for Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. Organizers plan to hold the tournament in 2021 on dates to be determined.
   Tommy Paul of Boca Raton, Fla., won last year's singles title, and Robert Galloway of Greenville, S.C., and Roberto Maytin of Venezuela took the doubles crown.
   Paul, 22, is ranked a career-high No. 57 (sixth in the United States) after missing three months last year with a left quadriceps/knee injury and five months in 2018 with a right elbow problem.
   Paul got off to a hot start this year before the tour was suspended in March. He reached the semifinals in Adelaide as a qualifier, the third round of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals in Acapulco as a qualifier. Paul then won his Davis Cup debut, routing veteran Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-0 in the United States' 4-0 victory in Honolulu.
   In 2015, Paul joined John McEnroe (1977) and Bjorn Fratangelo (2011) as the only Americans to win the French Open boys singles title.

British coach to host free webinar on problem-solving

Coach David Sammel and Liam Broady, both of Great Britain,
pose at last month's Indian Wells Challenger just before the
professional tennis tours shut down because of the coronavirus
outbreak. Photo courtesy of David Sammel
   British coach David Sammel will conduct a free webinar on problem-solving on Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT (6 p.m. GMT).
   "You can change your mindset about problems, understand where problems come from and even lower your stress when faced with problems," Sammel wrote in a promotional email.
   The webinar, titled "Three Problem Machines and a Solution," will show participants how to:
   –Understand the purpose of problems.
   –Become adept at tackling problems.
   –Develop confidence to move past problems.
   –Avoid being overwhelmed by the size of a problem.
   –Become excited about solutions and quickly move forward.
   Here's how to register for Sunday's webinar and watch last month's free webinar on mental toughness.
   Sammel, a 58-year-old South Africa native with 30 years of coaching experience, co-founded Mindset College, an online program on the mental aspects of tennis. Designed to help athletes and coaches win more, it also applies to business leaders and parents.
   Sammel shows his insight and candor in several short, entertaining videos, including Chapel of Bull----, The One Thing, Quit or Carry On and Your Weakness Is as Important as Your Strength.
   Sammel coaches five professional players: Liam Broady of Great Britain and doubles standouts Marcus Daniell of New Zealand, Matwe Middlekoop of the Netherlands and Marcelo Demoliner of Brazil on the men's side and Samantha Murray Sharan (no relation to Andy Murray) of Great Britain on the women's side. All of the men have competed in the Davis Cup, and Sharan has played in the Fed Cup.
   Full disclosure: Enrolling in Mindset College helps support this website.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

British coach launches online program on mental side

British coach David Sammel poses with Billie Jean King
at the 2018 U.S. Open. Sammel has known Ilana Kloss,
King's partner, since they were children in South Africa.
Photo courtesy of David Sammel 
   Have you ever choked in a match?
   "The answer is 'yes' because everyone chokes," Mindset College co-founder David Sammel recently wrote in a webinar promotion. "The magic is in how you manage your mind to still perform when choking."
   Mental toughness is one of the topics Sammel, a top British coach with 30 years of experience, covers in Mindset College, a new online program designed to help athletes and coaches win more. It also applies to business leaders and parents.
   The program features:
   –Twelve monthly webinars.
   –Live interactive Q&A's plus access to replays forever.
   –A digital copy of Sammel's book, "Locker Room Power: Building an Athlete's Mind."
  –Access to Mindset College's private Facebook group.
   –Insights into world-class athletes with guest appearances.
   Sammel, a 58-year-old South Africa native, in insightful and blunt in several short, entertaining videos, including Chapel of Bull----, The One Thing, Quit or Carry On and Your Weakness is as Important as Your Strength.
   Sammel coaches five professional players: Liam Broady of Great Britain and doubles standouts Marcus Daniell of New Zealand, Matwe Middelkoop of the Netherlands and Marcelo Demoliner of Brazil on the men's side and Samantha Murray Sharan (no relation to Andy Murray) of Great Britain on the women's side. All of the men have competed in the Davis Cup, and Sharan has played in the Fed Cup.
   Broady, who was ranked second in the world in the juniors, has excelled in singles in Northern California Challengers. He reached the singles final in Aptos in 2017 as a qualifier and the quarterfinals in Stockton in 2018.
   Daniell has advanced to two Grand Slam doubles quarterfinals, including Wimbledon last year with Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands, and Middelkoop one. Middelkoop has won nine ATP doubles titles, Daniell four and Demoliner three.
   "Recently I was in South America and started with Matwe Middelkoop," Sammel recalled. "He said, 'How can you help me? I'm already a champion.' I loved the attitude, but after three weeks, he said, 'You're easily the best mental coach I've had. You've changed my perspective on so many things."
   Daniell, the doubles runner-up in Auckland in January with Philipp Oswald of Austria, has been ranked in the top 100 in doubles for more than five years.
   "I believe I wouldn't have continued for too much longer if (Sammel) hadn't seen something in me that made (him) want to snap me on to the right path," Daniell, 30, said in a testimonial. "I am truly grateful for (his) input and advice."
   Sharan is ranked No. 180 in singles.
   Sammel also coached Wesley Moodie after the South African won the Wimbledon doubles crown in 2005 with Stephen Huss of Australia. Moodie and Huss became the first qualifiers to accomplish the feat.
   "(It was) too late for my singles, but (Sammel) made my doubles career and the last two years of singles a lot more interesting and fun," Moodie, who retired in 2012, said in another testimonial. "I needed (him) out of college. I can't help but wonder what might have been."
   Full disclosure: Enrolling in Mindset College helps support this website.

U.S. prospect Kratzer provisionally suspended

Ashley Kratzer argues a call during her loss to former
Stanford star Nicole Gibbs in the semifinals of the 2018
Berkeley (Calif.) Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   On July 23, 2017, Ashley Kratzer faced Sofia Kenin in the final of the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger.
   Kenin, seeded fourth, needed only 65 minutes to demolish Kratzer, a wild card, 6-0, 6-1 in a matchup of 18-year-old Americans.
   Since then, their careers have gone in opposite directions.
   Kenin, who compensates for her relatively small size (5-foot-7 or 1.70 meters) with tenacity, has vaulted to No. 4 in the world and No. 1 in the United States. She marched to the Australian Open title as the 14th seed in January for her first Grand Slam title.
   Kratzer, who's 5-foot-11 (1.80 meters) and left-handed but volatile on the court, is ranked No. 498. She was charged with an anti-doping violation on March 18 and provisionally suspended on March 27.
   Kratzer tested positive for a growth hormone at a $125,000 WTA tournament in her hometown of Newport Beach, Calif., in late January. She can appeal but had not as of March 27.
   The length of the suspension has not been announced.
   Kenin and Kratzer won the USTA Girls 18 National Championships in San Diego in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wimbledon canceled for first time in 75 years

Roger Federer tweeted "Devastated" after Wimbledon, which he has won eight
times, was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. 2017 photo by Mal Taam
   Tennis suffered its biggest blow of the coronavirus pandemic when Wimbledon was canceled today.
   It's the first time the tournament has been canceled in 75 years and the first time Wimbledon will not be played during peacetime since it began in 1877. 
   "Devastated," tweeted eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, who on Monday posted a video of himself hitting trick shots against a backboard in the snow after having arthroscopic knee surgery on Feb. 19.
   Wimbledon had been scheduled for June 29 to July 12. Next year's tournament is set for July 28 to July 11. Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics also announced Monday that the games, scheduled for July 24 to Aug. 9, would be pushed back to the same time slot in 2021.
Simona Halep, shown at Indian Wells in 2015, will
have an extra year to defend her Wimbledon title.
Photo by Mal Taam
   "So sad to hear @Wimbledon won't take place this year," women's defending champion Simona Halep tweeted. "Last year's final will forever be one of the happiest days of my life! But we are going through something bigger than tennis and Wimbledon will be back! And it means I have even longer to look forward to defending my title."
   The ATP and WTA also jointly announced that all events have been canceled through July 13, wiping out the grass-court season. The International Tennis Federation made the same decision.
   All England Club officials declined to postpone the tournament because staff, supplies and services would be unavailable and the condition of the grass would be inadequate. The club also ruled out playing the tournament without spectators.
   The All England Club is insured against cancellation, sources told ESPN. Wimbledon had been canceled only because of World War I (1915-18) and World War II (1940-45).
   The U.S. Open remains scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. However, ESPN tennis commentator Patrick McEnroe, interviewed on the network today, estimated the chances of that happening at less than 50 percent.
   McEnroe, a 53-year-old Stanford graduate and resident of Bronxville, N.Y., in the New York area, announced Tuesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus but feels fine.
   Organizers of the French Open announced on March 17 the postponement of the tournament from May 24-June 7 to Sept. 20-Oct. 4. The unilateral move angered many players, including Vasek Pospisil of Canada.
   "This is madness," tweeted Pospisil, a member of the ATP Player Council. "Major announcement by Roland Garros changing the dates to one week after the U.S. Open. No communication with the players or the ATP .. we have ZERO say in this sport. It's time. #UniteThePlayers"

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Patrick McEnroe tests positive for coronavirus

   Patrick McEnroe, an ESPN tennis commentator who graduated from Stanford and starred on the pro doubles circuit, said today that he tested positive for coronavirus but feels fine.
   McEnroe, a 53-year-old resident of Bronxville, N.Y., in the New York area, said in a video posted on Twitter that he was tested at a drive-thru after he began feeling minor symptoms 10 or 11 days ago. He received the positive results this morning.
   "The good news is I feel fine. My symptoms have passed," said McEnroe, the younger brother of International Tennis Hall of Famer and fellow ESPN commentator John McEnroe. "I feel 100 percent."
   Patrick McEnroe said he has quarantined himself in his basement since the symptoms began.
   "We've been on full quarantine, our entire house, for well over two weeks," said McEnroe, who's married with three daughters. "I encourage everyone to do the same. Let's get this thing. Let's nail this thing. I'm an example of someone who has been able to fight through it. I'm doing absolutely fine. Thoughts and prayers to people who are struggling with this."
   Among U.S. states, New York has by far the most confirmed cases of coronavirus (75,795, according to cnn.com) and deaths (1,550). New Jersey is next with 18,696 and 267, respectively.
   Sixteen miles south of Bronxville, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., is being converted to an emergency hospital as other facilities are overwhelmed with patients.
   In Tokyo, Olympic organizers announced Monday that the games will be held July 23-Aug. 8, 2021, the same time slot as originally scheduled this year.
   McEnroe helped Stanford win the 1986 and 1988 NCAA team titles. On the pro tour, he reached career highs of No. 28 in singles and No. 3 in doubles.
   McEnroe won 16 tour-level doubles titles, including the 1989 French Open with former Stanford teammate Jim Grabb.
   McEnroe's best Grand Slam singles result came in the 1991 Australian Open as he surprisingly reached the semifinals. He also advanced to the doubles final with David Wheaton, another ex-Stanford teammate.
   Commenting on the 1991 Australian Open singles semifinalists, McEnroe uttered one of the great lines in tennis history. He quipped to the media: "It's just like you all expected: Edberg, Lendl, McEnroe and Becker."

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Summer Olympics postponed until 2021

   The 2020 Summer Olympics have been postponed "to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021" because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee announced today.
   The Olympic tennis competition was scheduled for July 25-Aug. 2 at Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo.
   This is the first time the Olympics have been postponed. They were canceled because of war in 1916, 1940 and 1944.
   The ATP, WTA and ITF last week announced the suspension of their tours until at least June 7.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

ATP, WTA suspend tournaments through June 7

   This spring's professional clay-court swing was wiped out today.
   The ATP and WTA extended the suspension of their tours through June 7 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Affected are combined ATP/WTA tournaments in Madrid and Rome, WTA events in Strasbourg and Rabat, and ATP events in Munich, Estoril, Geneva and Lyon.
   Also suspended through June 7 are ATP Challenger tournaments and the ITF World Tennis Tour.
   The French Tennis Federation announced Tuesday that Roland Garros will be moved from May 24-June 7 to Sept. 20-Oct. 4, one week after the U.S. Open.
   ATP and WTA rankings will be frozen indefinitely.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

French Open moved to one week after U.S. Open

Vasek Pospisil said moving the French Open to one week after the U.S. Open
"is madness." 2017 photo by Mal Taam
   The French Open today became the first Grand Slam tournament to be affected by the conoravirus pandemic.
   The French Tennis Federation announced that Roland Garros will move from May 24-June 7 to Sept. 20-Oct. 4.
   Federation president Bernard Giudicelli called it "a difficult yet brave decision in this unprecedented situation."
   The new dates put the clay-court French Open one week after the hard-court U.S. Open, Aug. 31-Sept. 13, and conflict with:
   –Several WTA and ATP tournaments in Asia and Europe.
   –The Laver Cup, Sept. 25-27 in Boston.
   –A combined men's and women's tournament in the Oracle Pro Series at Stanford (Sept. 21-27).
   –A men's Challenger in Tiburon, Calif. (Sept. 28-Oct. 4).
   "This is madness," tweeted Canadian pro Vasek Pospisil, a member of the ATP Player Council. "Major announcement by Roland Garros changing the dates to one week after the U.S. Open. No communication with the players or the ATP .. we have ZERO say in this sport. It's time. #UniteThePlayers"
   Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympic tennis event remain scheduled for June 29-July 12 and July 25-Aug. 2, respectively.
   "While we continue to plan for The Championships at this time," Richard Lewis, the chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, commented on wimbledon.com, "it remains a continuously evolving situation and we will act responsibly, in the best interests of wider society."
   The International Olympic Committee said on olympic.org that it will "protect the health of everyone involved" and "continue to monitor the situation 24/7."

Monday, March 16, 2020

WTA suspends tour until at least May 2

   The WTA announced today that it has suspended the women's tour until at least May 2 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   The suspensions affect clay-court tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague.
   The WTA said in a news release that it will decide this week about the remaining European clay-court tournaments: Madrid (May 4-10), Rome (May 11-17), and Nuremberg and Strasbourg (May 18-24). The French Open is scheduled for May 24-June 7.
   Last week, the ATP suspended the men's tour for six weeks.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

ATP, WTA events suspended; Cal men's season canceled

   The Association of Tennis Professionals today suspended the men's tour for six weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Peter Wright, the men's tennis coach at the University of California, Berkeley, announced tonight that the remainder of the Bears' season and the NCAA Championships for all spring sports have been canceled.
   The ATP announcement came four days after the BNP Paribas Open, considered the "fifth Grand Slam," in Indian Wells, Calif., was abruptly called off.
   Today's decision affects tournaments in Houston, Marrakech, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Budapest in addition to the Miami Open, a men's and women's tournament scheduled for March 23-April 5 that also was suspended.
   The WTA, meanwhile, canceled tournaments in Guadalajara, originally scheduled for next week, and tourneys in Bogota and Charleston, S.C., which had been set for the week of April 6.
   WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a statement that decisions on the European clay-court season would be made in the next week.
   Also, the International Tennis Federation announced today that it is suspending play until April 20 at the earliest. Therefore, the Fed Cup Finals, originally scheduled for April 24-15 in Budapest and Fed Cup playoffs, which had been set for April 17-18 at eight locations around the world, were postponed indefinitely.
   As of now, Peter Bodo of espn.com reported, the next men's or women's tournament still scheduled is a WTA event on clay in Stuttgart, beginning April 20.
   The fates of the French Open (May 24-June 7) and Wimbledon (June 29-July 12) are uncertain.
   The prestigious Easter Bowl junior tournament, originally scheduled for March 28-April 5 in Indian Wells, was called off.

Monday, March 9, 2020

BNP Paribas Open called off because of coronavirus

Dominic Thiem hoists the trophy after defeating Roger Federer in last year's
BNP Paribas Open. Also shown are Ted Mertens (far left), then the mayor of
Indian Wells, Calif.; Jean-Yves Fillion (second from left), the CEO of BNP
Paribas USA; and tournament director Tommy Haas (behind Thiem). Photo
by Mal Taam 
   The BNP Paribas Open, considered the "fifth Grand Slam," was called off on Sunday night because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Officials canceled or indefinitely postponed the tournament, scheduled for today through March 22 in Indian Wells, Calif., after a confirmed case of coronavirus led Riverside County to declare a public health emergency.
   "There is too great a risk, at this time, to the public health of the Riverside County area in holding a large gathering," said Dr. David Agus, a professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at USC. "It is not in the public interest of fans, players and neighboring areas for this tournament to proceed. We all have to join together to protect the community from the coronavirus outbreak."
   Many elderly people, the most vulnerable group, live in the Palm Springs area, where the tournament is located, because of its warm winters.
   Tournament director Tommy Haas said he and his staff are exploring alternative dates this year.
   Patrons who have purchased tickets directly from the BNP Paribas Open may request a refund or a credit for the 2021 tournament at bnpparibasopen.com/coronavirus.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Stanford women's conference win streak ends at 38

   The Stanford women lost a Pacific-12 Conference match for the first time in almost exactly four years on Saturday.
   The No. 9 Cardinal fell to No. 3 UCLA 4-1 at Taube Family Tennis Stadium, snapping the Cardinal's conference winning streak at 38 matches.
   Stanford (10-2, 1-1), which has won the last two NCAA team titles and three of the last four, hadn't lost to a Pac-12 opponent in the regular season since a 4-3 decision at Arizona State on March 5, 2016.
   The Cardinal's Angelica Blake, a freshman from Boca Raton, Fla., tied the score against UCLA 1-1 with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over No. 17 Jada Hart on Court 3.
   No. 12 Michaela Gordon, a Stanford junior from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, led No. 9 Elysia Bolton 4-6, 6-2, 4-1 on Court 1 when the match was abandoned.
   Both of the Cardinal's losses this season have come against UCLA (12-1, 2-0), which has won five matches in a row. The Bruins routed Stanford 4-0 on Feb. 9 in the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Chicago.
   Cal women – The No. 21 Bears defeated No. 37 USC 6-1 in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday to improve to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-12. The Women of Troy fell to 7-6 and 0-2.
   No. 27 Angela Kulikov of USC outlasted No. 15 Haley Giavara, a freshman from San Diego, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 on Court 1 in the last match.
   College men – No. 7 seeds Ben Draper and Bjorn Hoffmann of Cal lost to brothers Tanner Smith and Colter Smith of Long Beach, Calif., 6-4, 6-7 (5) [13-11] today in the semifinals of the 131st Annual Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championship in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Calif.
   Draper and Hoffman beat 10th-seeded Filip Kolasinski and Alexandre Rotsaert of Stanford 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1 in the fourth round on Friday.
   Kolasinski and Rotsaert ousted co-No. 1 seeds Keegan Smith and Johannes de Villiers (assistant coach) of UCLA in the third round.
   Co-No. 1 seeds Bradley Frye and Brandon Holt, the son of International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, beat the Smith brothers 6-4, 6-3 for the title.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Bryans end Davis Cup career with win; U.S. advances

Bob Bryan, serving, and Mike Bryan finished 25-5 (.833)
in the Davis Cup to rank first in the United States and
tied for fourth overall in doubles wins. File photo by
Paul Bauman
   There are worse places to end your Davis Cup career than Honolulu.
   Especially with a clinching victory.
   Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, 41-year-old identical twins and former Stanford stars who plan to retire after the U.S. Open, defeated Sanjar Fayziev and Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-4 in 67 minutes today to give the United States an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five-match qualifier.
   Istomin, 33, and Fayziev, 25, are ranked No. 320 and No. 474 in doubles, respectively.
   It was the Bryans' first Davis Cup match together since an agonizing loss to Croatia in 2016 in Portland, Ore., where they had led the U.S. to the last of its record 32 championships in 2007.
   The Bryans could have given the Americans an unbeatable 3-0 lead against Croatia but lost to Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig in four sets. Croatia went on to stun the U.S. 3-2 for its first win after trailing 2-0.
   Bob Bryan underwent right hip surgery in August 2018 and returned at the beginning of 2019.   
   The United States will face an opponent to be determined in the Davis Cup Finals, Nov. 23-29 in Madrid. Uzbekistan will compete in World Group I in September.
   The Bryans, who made their Davis Cup debut in 2003, finished 25-5 (.833) to rank first in the U.S. and tied for fourth overall in doubles wins. They played on one Davis Cup championship team, going 4-0 in 2007.
   Istomin reached the final of the 2012 SAP Open in San Jose, losing to Milos Raonic.
   The Bryans, who grew up in Camarillo in the Los Angeles area and have won just about everything in tennis, ironically never won the title in San Jose, a 30-minute drive from Stanford. They played in one SAP Open final, losing to – in another irony – ex-Stanford stars Scott Lipsky and David Martin. The tournament ended after the 2013 edition, its 125th year in Northern California.
   College men – No. 10 seedes Filip Kolasinksi and Alexandre Rotsaert of Stanford ousted co-No. 1 seeds Keegan Smith and Johannes de Villiers (assistant coach) of UCLA 8-4 on Friday in the third round of Pacific Coast Men's Doubles in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Calif.
   College women – No. 2 UCLA edged No. 21 Cal 4-3 on Friday in Berkeley, Calif., in a Pacific-12 Conference opener. No. 113 Sasha Vagramov gave the Bruins an insurmountable 4-2 lead with a 6-2, 7-6 (5) victory over Jessica Zeynel on Court 6.
   No. 9 Stanford, which has won the last two NCAA team titles and three of the last four, blanked No. 37 USC 7-0 at Stanford on Friday.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

No. 13 Stanford men rally to stun No. 5 Ohio State

   The No. 13 Stanford men rallied from a big deficit to shock No. 5 Ohio State 4-3 today at Taube Family Tennis Center.
   Neel Rajesh, a freshman from Oyster Bay, N.Y., capped the Cardinal's comeback from a 3-1 deficit with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over No. 78 James Trotter on Court 5.
   After Ohio State (13-3) led 2-0, No. 37 Axel Geller of Stanford (8-5) defeated No. 13 John McNally 7-5, 6-1 on Court 1.
   No. 14 Cannon Kingsley gave the Buckeyes a 3-1 lead with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over No. 7 Alexandre Rotsaert on Court 2.
   Freshman Filip Kolasinski of Poland started Stanford's comeback on Court 6, and junior Timothy Sah of San Diego tied the match 3-3.
   The Cardinal ended a four-match skid – all away from home against No. 1 USC, No. 4 Texas (twice) and No. 12 Texas Christian – while the Buckeyes suffered their third consecutive loss, also all on the road.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Bay Area's Olmos captures Acapulco doubles title

Giuliana Olmos, left, and Desirae Krawczyk pose after winning the doubles
title in the 2017 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger. Photo by Rob Vomund
   Giuliana Olmos, a 26-year-old product of Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area, won her second career WTA doubles title today.
   Second-seeded Olmos, who plays for Mexico, and Desirae Krawczyk of Palm Desert, Calif., beat unseeded Kateryna Bondarenko, a 33-year-old mother from Ukraine, and Sharon Fichman of Canada 6-3, 7-6 (5) in Acapulco.
   Olmos and Krawczyk, last year's runners-up to Victoria Azarenka and Zheng Saisai, served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but were broken.
   Olmos, who was born in Austria, will rise five spots to No. 71 in the world doubles rankings on Monday. She also won the Nottingham title on grass with Krawczyk last June and climbed to a career-high No. 65 in September.
   Olmos and Krawczyk – former Pacific-12 Conference rivals at USC and Arizona State, respectively – split $13,580. Bondarenko and Fichman shared $7,200.

Friday, February 28, 2020

No. 4 Texas men rout No. 8 Stanford

   Facing Texas for the second time in 12 days, the No. 8 Stanford men lost to the No. 4 Longhorns 4-0 today in Austin, Texas.
   No. 6 Christian Sigsgaard dominated No. 5 Alexandre Rotsaert 6-3, 6-1 on Court 2 to give Texas (10-2) a 2-0 lead. No. 29 Axel Geller of Stanford (7-4) led No. 2 Yuya Ito 6-4, 5-6 on Court 1 when the match was abandoned.
   The Cardinal fell to Texas 4-2 in the consolation bracket of the ITA National Indoor Championships in Madison, Wis., on Feb. 16. Rotsaert defeated Sigsgaard 6-4, 6-4 in that match.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Sharapova retires at 32; Volynets, 18, falls in Acapulco

Maria Sharapova, one of six women to achieve a career
Grand Slam, collected five major singles titles. She reportedly
earned $325 million during her career, mostly from endorse-
ments. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Maria Sharapova, one of six women to earn a career Grand Slam in the Open era, announced her retirement in an essay that appeared today in Vogue and Vanity Fair.
   Plagued by shoulder injuries, the former world No. 1 has plunged to No. 373. In her last match, she lost to 19th-seeded Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Australian Open to fall to 0-2 this year. Vekic reached the semifinals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., last August and the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in September.
   "Throughout my career, Is it worth it? was never even a question – in the end, it always was," wrote the 32-year-old Sharapova, the runner-up to Victoria Azarenka in the 2010 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. "My mental fortitude has always been my strongest weapon. Even if my opponent was physically stronger, more confident – even just plain better – I could, and did, persevere."
   The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Sharapova won five Grand Slam singles titles overall, bookended by her victory over Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2004 at 17 and the French Open 10 years later.
   By winning the 2012 French Open, Sharapova joined Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams as the only women to achieve a career Grand Slam in singles in the Open era.
   Sharapova ranks 15th in the Open era with 36 tour-level singles titles. The last one came in Tianjin, China, in 2017, six months after she returned from a 15-month doping suspension.
   Forbes magazine reported that Sharapova earned $325 million during her career, mostly from endorsements.
   Volynets loses – In a matchup of wild cards, Renata Zarazua of Mexico outlasted 18-year-old Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 in 2 hours, 42 minutes in the second round of the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco.
   Volynets, who won the USTA 18 National Championships last August and turned pro in December, beat American Shelby Rogers on Tuesday for her first WTA Tour victory.
   The 22-year-old Zarazua, 5-foot-3 (1.60 meters), reached her first WTA International Level quarterfinal. She ousted top-seeded Sloane Stephens, a 26-year-old Fresno, Calif., product, in the first round.
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