This Week In Tennis
- More from the Davis Cup: Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro played a five-set, five-hour marathon to open the Great Britain/Argentina semifinal tie.
- A Russian hack of WADA revealed medical information of several top tennis stars, including the Theraputic Use Exemptions (TUEs) granted to Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Rafael Nadal, Petra Kvitova, and others.
- The hack prompted swift responses from the ATP, WTA, Venus Williams, and Rafael Nadal.
- CiCi Bellis forgoes her Stanford scholarship and opts to turn pro instead.
- U.S. Open ratings are in and the numbers represent a decline for both the men and women's finals over 2015.
- Current Wimbledon Junior champ, Denis Shapovalov, won his first ever Davis Cup match in straight sets.
- The Battle of the Sexes happened 43 years ago.
- The ITF confirms Varvara Lepchenko failed a doping test (meldonium), but will face no sanctions.
This Week In Tennis
#ThisWeekInTennis returns after a two week hiatus to recap all you may have missed during the fortnight of tennis at the U.S. Open. Below you will get a rundown of what happened with some of tennis' biggest stars through tweets, press interviews, articles, podcasts, and rankings.
- Angelique Kerber beat Karolina Pliskova in three sets to capture her second major title of the year, days after securing the WTA #1 ranking.
- Wawrinka won his first U.S. Open and third major of his career. Wawrinka is now 3-0 in Grand Slam finals and 11-0 in his past 11 ATP Tour finals.
- Karolina Pliskova followed up her Cincinnati title with a run to the U.S. Open final. Over the course of those two events, she scored five top 10 wins: Kuznetsova, Muguruza, and Kerber in Cincinnati, and the Williams sisters in back-to-back matches at the U.S. Open.
- Novak Djokovic came up short in his quest for a 13th major title, losing in four sets to Stan Wawrinka. His path to the final was one of the more unusual ones you'll ever see.
- Monfils continued his consistent 2016 campaign by reaching his first semifinal at the U.S. Open. The match, a four-set loss to Novak Djokovic, was the cause of much consternation due to unusual tactics used by the Frenchman.
- Serena Williams lost her #1 ranking to Angelique Kerber when Karolina Pliskova beat her in the semifinals. Williams' streak of consecutive weeks at #1 ended at 186 weeks, tied with Steffi Graf for the most all-time.
- Caroline Wozniacki turned in her best major performance in exactly two years by reaching the U.S. Open semifinals. After falling to #74 prior to the tournament, Wozniacki re-enters the top 30 (#29) after winning five matches in Queens.
- Lucas Pouille scored the biggest win of his career when he beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round. The Frenchman also obtains a new career high ranking at #18, cracking the ATP top 20 for the first time in his career.
- Andy Murray, fresh off a Wimbledon win, Olympic gold, and a runner-up finish in Cincinnati, entered the U.S. Open as the man most likely to challenge Novak Djokovic for the title. However, Murray was unable to get past Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals, losing in five sets.
- Anastasija Sevastova retired from tennis in 2013 due to a series of injuries. After mounting a comeback in 2015, Sevastova reached the first Slam quarterfinal of her career before suffering an injury in a lopsided loss to Wozniacki.
- Juan Martin del Potro followed his silver medal at the Rio Olympics with a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open. Moments before he lost that match against Stan Wawrinka, the New York crowd created one of the most emotional moments of the event.
- Venus Williams held and saved match points against Karolina Pliskova in the fourth round before losing to the eventual finalist in a third set tiebreak.
- Kei Nishikori reached the second Slam semifinal of his career (2014 U.S. Open final) before falling to eventual champion, Stan Wawrinka, in four sets.
- Women's Doubles : Safarova/Mattek-Sands; Men's Doubles: Murray/Soares; Mixed Doubles: Siegemund/Pavic
- Felix Auger-Aliassime and Kayla Day are your Boys and Girls Junior singles champions.
2:00 James talks about his time in Cincinnati: rain, mud, and calzones
13:30 James' encounters with famous people
16:00 Jonathan's experience as press in Cincinnati
24:30 Applebee's changes their hours .... late night in Mason, Ohio
33:45 Pliskova def. Kerber, salvages Serena's no. 1 ranking
39:45 Women's doubles final - Mirza/Strycova def. Hingis/Vandeweghe
45:25 Interview with doubles no. 1 Sania Mirza
This Week In Tennis
- Marin Cilic returns to the ATP top 10 after winning his first Masters 1000 title. The Croat's win in Cincinnati will also guarantee him a top 8 seed at the U.S. Open with the absences of Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych.
- Karolina Pliskova won the WTA title in Cincinnati, beating Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-1. Pliskova also beat Muguruza 6-1 6-3 in the semifinals en route to the biggest title of her career.
- Angelique Kerber came within one win of supplanting Serena Williams as WTA #1. Needing to get past Karolina Pliskova in the final, Kerber mustered only four games.
- Sania Mirza's first tournament apart from Martina Hingis ended with her hoisting the winner's trophy alongside Barbora Strycova. With the title, Mirza retains her #1 ranking while Martina Hingis falls one spot to #2.
- Grigor Dimitrov twice led by a break in the third set of his semifinal against Marin Cilic. Although the Bulgarian was unable to get the job done, his strong showing in Cincinnati boosts him 10 spots in the rankings to #24.
- Milos Raonic was one win away from assuming the #3 ATP ranking. With his straight sets loss to Murray in the semifinals, Raonic stays put at #6.
- Tomas Berdych announced his withdrawal from the U.S. Open, citing appendicitis.
- Vera Zvonareva and Nicole Vaidisova talked about what's been going on with them lately.
- As of September 1, an amendment to the tennis anti-doping program will now make provisional suspensions public with immediate effect.
Svetlana Kuznetsova sat down with The Body Serve Tennis Podcast after her third round win at the 2016 Western and Southern Open in Mason, Ohio. The two-time Grand Slam champion was fresh off wins over Alison Riske and Timea Bacsinszky. Kuznetsova would go on to lose to eventual champion, Karolina Pliskova, in the quarterfinals.
- Her thoughts on being in control of her career
- Whether she's obsessive about the rankings
- On playing Serena and their relationship
- Playing a sport where losing is such a big part of life on tour
- Changes she'd make to tennis if she were Tennis Commissioner
- Which tennis player she'd pull out of retirement
- Her favourite TV to watch
- Which music diva best encapsulates her #TennisDivas
Here are a few snippets of the interview, with the full audio available on the next episode of The Body Serve. In the meantime, listen to our interview with Svetlana Kuznetsova.
On her split with Martina Hingis:
We had a great 17, 18 months together, but sometimes you just have to move on and both of us thought that it was the right time. And I'm so glad that we both felt the same way, because we can sit across each other and still go for a dinner or something like that and it's still absolutely fine.
I've known Barbora for a long time, we've known each other literally from juniors. So, many many years and we just never happened to play together. And obviously you try and look for someone who can complement your game and I felt like she could. It just worked out, timing worked out.
I've done everything that's close to my heart, and whether it's been criticized at times, I've always done everything that I feel is right in my heart, that's how i function.
We come from a family of two girls and we've never had a feeling that my parents wanted a boy or that we were deprived of a son . . . we've always been treated as equally, I never felt like if I was a boy I would have different rules in my house . . . whatever I do believe, a lot of it, has come from them. And they've helped me become the strong person that I am.
Amazing. These are honours that you obviously don't really dream of, these are things that just happen. Sometimes it does feel surreal and does feel like it's a dream, but I've been very blessed to be able to be noticed not just on the tennis court but off it as well.
After losing the opening set 6-1, Nadal called for the trainer. He explained after the match that his arm was tired and he felt discomfort in his elbow and shoulder. But, Nadal insisted the distress he felt was a natural result of playing so much tennis since the Rio Olympics, particularly after an extended period of inactivity.
"You know, two months and a half without competing, and especially without practicing, and then do what I did in the Olympics, come here, different balls, too much," he said. "I came here; I tried. I tried to do the right things to be ready, but obvious that I was not ready today."
Nadal went on to explain that the arm trouble he experienced against Coric was not related to the bothersome wrist that forced his withdrawal from Roland Garros mid-tournament. Nadal was also unambiguous about the current state of his wrist.
"The wrist is still the same. I said too many times already, spoke too many times about the wrist. The wrist is still bothering me but is a process that I need to pass and a process that I need to go through," he explained.
Nadal pushed back against the idea he needed rest in order for his wrist to fully heal. He told reporters that "with more rest the wrist will not go better. The wrist needs to adapt again to the game, needs to adapt again to hit the ball."
As for why he was unable to challenge Coric on the scoreboard, Nadal praised the play of his opponent.
"Coric didn't give me many chances. He was playing his serve huge, and from the baseline he didn't miss a lot. So I need to be in better shape to compete against this kind of match. Was not the day to do that. Even like this I tried to the end."
In the second set, Coric served for a 6-1 5-0 lead over the 14-time Grand Slam champion, before Nadal rallied to win three games. In the end, Nadal says his body paid the price for the mileage put on it by playing so much tennis at the Olympics. He simply had run out of gas.
Nadal did not know his immediate plans after the early loss in Cincinnati. He said he would decide with his team whether to stay in Mason for a few days or fly to New York, site of the U.S. Open beginning August 29th.
When asked whether he would be taking a few days off from practice, Nadal said "probably, yes. I think I need to recover emotionally, physically, and especially I need to give some rest to the wrist, the arm, to everything, no?"
"Even if I am not arriving here with the best possibilities because I played 23 hours in seven days . . . I am here to try my best and I am here to play at the highest level that I could," said Nadal.
After not playing any tennis for almost six weeks with an immobilized wrist, Nadal's participation at the Olympics was in doubt up to the last minute. But, Nadal is confident that his wrist has withstood the pressure of the Olympic grind.
"Looks like after a marathon for me in Olympics that the wrist resisted, so that's a great news for me."
Having just returned from serious injury and then playing so many hours on court in Rio, Nadal's decision to play in Cincinnati came as a surprise. But, according to the Spaniard, playing Cincinnati was always part of his schedule, the health of his wrist permitting. Still, Nadal acknowledges that his task in Cincinnati will be a difficult one.
"Cincinnati is Masters 1000. It's a big event . . . I am not arriving here with the best possibilities because I played 23 hours in seven days and my body is a little bit tired, it's obvious that's going to be tough."
The world #5 begins his quest for a second Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati (2013) in good spirits, still thrilled about the Olympic gold medal he won alongside Marc Lopez in doubles last week.
"The gold in doubles was amazing. Win a medal is always very, very special, but especially doing with one of my best friends is even more special, no?"
When asked if there was any advice he would give his younger self to prepare for the career he would go on to have, Nadal offered "you need to accept that if you are not lucky you're going to have injuries, and you need to be prepared for that."
Nadal is not looking for a strong result in Cincinnati to build confidence; he is happy with the current state of his game.
"I know I was ready this year to have a strong results in Grand Slams. I get injury. I was unlucky," he said. "But I feel competitive again. I feel with the right motivation. I don't have anymore the feelings I had last year. It's something that don't worries me much, no?"
The 14-time Grand Slam champion has reached a point in his career where results don't matter as much as the journey. For Nadal, the most important thing for him in tennis right now is to "enjoy" and be happy with what he's doing. But, Nadal is not resigned to a tennis life without winning Grand Slams.
"I believe that I going to keep having chances to win Grand Slams in the future if I am healthy. I have the right confidence that that can happen."
Rafael Nadal begins his Cincinnati campaign Wednesday evening against Pablo Cuevas in the second round, with Nick Kyrgios his potential opponent in the third round.
This Week In Tennis
Volume 32 of #ThisWeekInTennis looks back at Olympic tennis from Rio de Janeiro, recapping the happenings through player tweets, press, articles, rankings, and podcasts.
- Monica Puig turned in the performance(s) of her career, stringing together a series of upsets on her way to Olympic singles gold in Rio. Puig's gold medal was the first ever for Puerto Rico at the Olympics.
- Andy Murray won a second consecutive Olympic gold medal, beating Juan Martin del Potro in a four-hour final in Rio. He also had a quick response for John Inverdale when the BBC presenter said Murray was the first tennis player with two Olympic gold medals.
- Juan Martin del Potro scripted one of the feel good stories of 2016, turning his opening round upset of Novak Djokovic into a silver medal. The former world #4 previously won a bronze medal at the London Games in 2012.
- Rafael Nadal began his Rio campaign amidst uncertainty as to whether he would be fit enough (wrist) to compete. The Spaniard won doubles gold alongside Marc Lopez, and reached the semifinals in singles, losing to del Potro and then to Nishikori in the bronze medal match.
- Venus Williams earned a record 5th Olympic medal in tennis when she won a silver medal alongside Rajeev Ram in mixed doubles. The pair were twice a point from losing their first match, but rallied to reach the final against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock.
- Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova won the women's doubles gold medal. The Russian team, winners the previous week in Montreal, beat Martina Hingis and Timea Bacsinszky in the final.
- At the Hall of Fame Championships in mid-July, Ivo Karlovic became the oldest ATP singles champion since 1979. The 37-year-old scored another title last week in Los Cabos.
- Sania Mirza issued a statement regarding her split with Martina Hingis. The top ranked doubles player clarified rumours of a rift between the two and stated they will compete together at the WTA Finals in Singapore.
- Police are investigating whether British tennis player, Gabriella Taylor, was poisoned with rat urine at Wimbledon.
Thiem concedes, "it was a matter of fatigue and also a little bit of wrong planning by myself and some wrong decisions especially after Roland Garros."
The back-to-back grass events right after the French Open -- in Stuttgart and Halle -- are the ones Thiem pinpoints as potential errors in his schedule.
"After Paris, I could have pulled out of at least one grass court tournament and maybe it would be better," he said.
Despite winning Stuttgart and making the semifinal in Halle, Thiem could only manage a second round showing at Wimbledon. He would go on to lose his first match at his next two appearances, at home in Austria, and then in Toronto.
Still, Thiem has scripted an impressive season in 2016: he is 4-1 in ATP Tour finals and has made at least the quarterfinals in 10 events. In early June, he cracked the ATP top 10 for the first time in his career. For his part, the current world #9 knows the heft of the achievement.
"I want to keep my spot in the top 10, very tough to get there and I think also very very tough to stay there, so now my goal is to stay as long as possible in the top 10."
As for whether reaching the top 10 has changed anything for Thiem on or off the court, he said, "I'm the same person and I will always be the same person. I won't change only because I am top 10. I mean, it's nice and it was a big goal but still I'm still the same person like a couple years ago."
Thiem did note one difference since reaching the upper echelon of the men's game: "Maybe a little bit more interest in my person, but from myself nothing changed."
Thiem, the #8 seed in Cincinnati, gets a bye in the first round before playing either Malek Jaziri or John Millman in the second. Thiem is 0-2 in two prior appearances at the Western and Southern Open.
This Week In Tennis
Volume 31 of #ThisWeekInTennis will take a look back at the big winners and losers in tennis last week and get you primed for week two of Olympic tennis.
- Top seeds upset at the Olympics: Djokovic, V. Williams, Muguruza, Tsonga, Bacsinszky, Radwanska.
- High profile doubles teams losing early: Williams/Williams, Mahut/Herbert, Garcia/Mladenovic, Murray/Murray.
- Novak Djokovic suffered a shock first round loss to Juan Martin del Potro at the Olympics. When the match was over, the two shared an emotional embrace at net, with both players shedding tears before leaving the court.
- Nick Kyrgios made the most of his decision to skip the Rio Olympics by winning the title in Atlanta last week. Kyrgios dethroned three-time defending champion John Isner in the final.
- Irina-Camelia Begu won her third WTA title, beating Timea Babos in the Florianópolis final.
- Ying Ying Duan scored the first WTA title of her career, overcoming a set and a break deficit to beat Vania King in the Nanchang final.
- John Isner, who opted to try for a four-peat in Atlanta instead of the Olympic Games, reached the finals before losing to Nick Kyrgios in two tiebreak sets.
- Reilly Opelka jumps 442 spots in the latest ATP rankings after reaching the semifinals in Atlanta. He defeated Kevin Anderson and Donald Young before losing to Isner.
- Denis Shapovalov followed up his second round showing at the Rogers Cup with a quarterfinal run at the Challenger event in Granby. The young Canadian also announced he will no longer play junior events.
- Frances Tiafoe won the Challenger event in Granby, Canada. The title was Tiafoe's first Challenger win of his career; the young American jumps 26 spots in the rankings to #123.
- Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza have called time on their doubles partnership.
- Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic lost their opening round doubles match. The pair had to scramble at the last minute to comply with tournament rules stating both players must wear the same colours. Garcia took to Twitter afterward to voice her displeasure with the French Federation for failing to alert the pair of the rules beforehand.
- Rafael Nadal says his wrist is still not fully healed, but he has entered all three events at the Rio Olympics.
- Venus Williams suffered first round losses in both singles and doubles. The 36-year-old American will partner Rajeev Ram in the Mixed Doubles event.
CLICK BELOW: Rio Olympic Tennis Draws
The Body Serve Tennis Podcast
Celebrate our 50th episode with us! This one is jam packed - catching up with the past few weeks of tennis, telling you about our adventures at Rogers Cup Toronto, reviewing the Serena doc, performing a dramatic reading, and taking a tennis quiz!
:30 Hey! It's Episode 50!
4:00 Big news: Huge announcements from Vika and Roger
9:00 Recent winners: Konta, Karlovic, Monfils, Deliciano, etc.
12:30 Talking about being on-site at Toronto - where's all the free stuff?
17:00 Up and coming Canadians
22:30 Dimitrov on the right track?
25:45 We saw a LOT of Gael Monfils
36:45 Checking in on the women, in Montreal - Halep, Keys, Kerber, Sveta, etc.
43:30 #SeeWhatHadHappenedWas: Nicole Gibbs draws Coco's ire
49:15 Let's talk about Serena, the documentary - BJK, the Conga, USO heartbreak, Venus has jokes, and much more
1:08:00 Dramatic Reading: Favorite lines from the Serena documentary
1:10:00 James takes the Fast Quiz
This Week In Tennis
Volume 30 of #ThisWeekInTennis recaps the 2016 Rogers Cup, presenting player tweets, press quotes, ranking movers, tennis writing, and podcasts from Toronto and Montreal.
Let's get started!
- Novak Djokovic won his fourth Rogers Cup title and 30th Masters 1000 title of his career. Playing for the first time since his third round loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon, Djokovic improved to 51-4 in 2016 and won his seventh title of the year.
- After retiring in last year's final in Toronto, Simona Halep went the distance this time around, defeating Madison Keys in straight sets. Her path to the title included wins over Gavrilova, Pliskova, Kuznetsova, Kerber, and Keys.
- Madison Keys re-enters the WTA top 10 after making her third final of 2016. She previously won Birmingham and lost in the Rome final to Serena Williams.
- Kei Nishikori made the third Masters 1000 final of his career and second of 2016 last week in Toronto. As was the case in Miami, Nishikori lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic.
- Gael Monfils followed his title in Washington, D.C. with a run to the semifinals in Toronto, losing in straight sets to eventual champion, Novak Djokovic. The result bumps the Frenchman three spots in the ATP rankings to #11.
- Roger Federer is out for the rest of the year. The 17-time Grand Slam champion will rehabilitate the knee on which he had surgery after the 2016 Australian Open.
- Stan Wawrinka made the semifinals in Toronto, losing in straight sets to Kei Nishikori. He also announced his withdrawal from the Olympics.
- Denis Shapovalov, 2016 Wimbledon junior champion, scored the upset of the tournament in Toronto when he beat Nick Kyrgios in the first round. The 17-year-old cracks the ATP top 300 for the first time in his career at #291.
- Bob and Mike Bryan, defending Olympic doubles champions, have also withdrawn from the upcoming Rio Olympics.
- Vasek Pospisil announced a split with his coach. Meanwhile, longtime doubles partner Jack Sock announced he will be paring back the amount of doubles he plays to focus on his singles career.
This Week In Tennis
As both tours head to Canada and players ready themselves for the Olympics in Rio, #ThisWeekInTennis, recaps all the tennis happenings from the last week: winners, player tweets, rankings, articles, and podcasts.
Stanford: Johanna Konta, Washington WTA: Yanina Wickmayer, Washington ATP: Gael Monfils, Umag: Fabio Fognini, Gstaad: Feliciano Lopez, Kitzbuhel: Paolo Lorenzi, Bastad: Laura Siegemund
- Johanna Konta beat Venus Williams in Stanford to win her first WTA title. The top ranked British woman rises four spots in the latest WTA rankings to #14.
- Gael Monfils improved on his 5-19 record in ATP finals when he beat Ivo Karlovic for the title in Washington, D.C. The Frenchman saved match point in the second set en route to the biggest win of his career.
- Yanina Wickmayer won both the singles and doubles titles at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.
- Venus Williams came within a set of claiming the 50th singles title of her career. The top seed in Stanford moves up one spot to #6 in the latest WTA rankings.
- Dominika Cibulkova reached the semifinals in Stanford before losing to eventual champion, Johanna Konta. The result bumps Cibulkova two spots in the WTA rankings, matching her career high of #10.
- Ivo Karlovic was one point from winning back-to-back titles on the ATP Tour. The winner last week in Newport, Karlovic fell in the Citi Open final to Gael Monfils.
- Serena Williams withdrew from the Rogers Cup in Montreal citing an inflamed shoulder.
- Nicole Vaidisova has called time on her comeback to tennis.
This Week In Tennis
Caught your breath yet? Let's take a closer look at #ThisWeekInTennis, recapping winners, player tweets, rankings, articles, and podcasts.
Bucharest: Simona Halep, Gstaad: Viktorija Golubic, Bastad: Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Hamburg: Martin Klizan, Newport: Ivo Karlovic
- Simona Halep scored a double bagel win over Sevastova in the final of the Bucharest Open. This title was Halep's second on the year and 13th of her career.
- The Davis Cup semifinals are set: Croatia, France, Argentina, and Great Britain will compete in September.
- Team USA squandered a 2-0 advantage versus Croatia in the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup to bow out of the 2016 event.
- Ivo Karlovic, 37, becomes the oldest titlist on the ATP Tour since 1979.
- The International Tennis Hall of Fame inducted Justine Henin, Amelie Mauresmo, and Marat Safin over the weekend at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island.
- Victoria Azarenka created the biggest news of the week when she announced her pregnancy, as well as her plans to return to the WTA tour.
- This week saw a slew of withdrawals from the Rio Olympics: Simona Halep, Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych, Karolina Pliskova. These most recent withdrawals add to an already depleted field in the upcoming Games.
- Kiki Bertens won five singles matches in three days on her way to the final in Gstaad. Bad weather limited the event to just over three full days of play. Bertens eventually had to withdraw from the doubles semifinals because of the added work.
- Patty Schnyder played her first tour level match since 2011 in Gstaad, Switzerland. The 37-year-old took the opening set from world #92 Katerina Siniakova before losing 6-2 5-7 4-6.
- Pablo Cuevas lost in the Hamburg final to Martin Klizan, but cracks the ATP top 20 for the first time in his career.
- According to Stuart Fraser: "Rafael Nadal has won his appeal to the ITF to play in the Rio Olympics after failing to meet eligibility requirements."
- A rush of tennis weddings over the past 10 days as Dominika Cibulkova, Ana Ivanovic, Tsvetana Pironkova, and Taylor Fritz all walked down the aisle.
- Sania Mirza celebrated the launch of her autobiography, "Ace Against the Odds."
This Week In Tennis
Hours after her historic singles win, Serena returned to Centre Court alongside sister Venus to win their 14th Slam doubles title, while the French pair of Mahut/Herbert added a Wimbledon title to go along with their 2015 U.S. Open crown. The Williams sisters remain unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals, and Nicolas Mahut replaces Jamie Murray as the #1 ranked doubles player on the ATP Tour.
Volume 27 of #ThisWeekInTennis gives a rundown of the back end of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, along with player tweets, press quote, articles, podcasts, and rankings changes.
- Serena Williams overcame the ghosts of the last three Grand Slams past to ink her name alongside Steffi Graf for second on the all-time list of Slam winners. When she collapsed on her back at net after striking the winning volley, Williams shed (if only for a moment) the burden of expectation that accompanies her greatness.
- Andy Murray caught a break with Novak Djokovic losing early at Wimbledon. The world #1 is the unquestioned best on the ATP Tour and victor over Murray in the year's first two Slams. With Djokovic out and home crowd pressure squarely on the Brit's shoulders, Murray summoned some of his best tennis to ensure the opportunity was not wasted. He lost only two sets all fortnight, both against Tsonga in the quarterfinals.
- Angelique Kerber put her hand up as the official #2 on the WTA Tour when she booked her place in the final alongside Serena Williams, securing the tour's first Grand Slam final rematch in the same year since Mauresmo and Henin in 2006. Kerber fought gamely during a straight sets loss, but still cemented herself as a truly elite player and force to be reckoned with in women's tennis.
- Milos Raonic survived a two set deficit to David Goffin in the fourth round, then authored a five-set comeback victory against Federer in the semifinals, before eventually losing in straight sets to Murray in the championship round. The first time Slam finalist, under the tutelage of a conflicted John McEnroe, had no answers for a well-rounded Murray. Still, he should take nothing but positives from the last fortnight.
- Venus Williams scripted a turn-back-the-clock performance at the All England Club, reaching her first semifinal at a Grand Slam in six years. The mouth watering prospect of an all-Williams final was put to rest when Angelique Kerber beat her 6-4 6-4. Still, with her performance, the elder Williams rises to #7 in the latest WTA rankings, and she was also able to attend the Champions Ball as doubles champion alongside her sister.
- Roger Federer entered Wimbledon short on match practice and consequently less of a threat for the title than at any other time in the last decade. But, when Djokovic exited SW19 in week one, the prospect of an 18th Slam title loomed large if he could somehow play himself into form. After coming back from a two-set hole against Cilic in the quarterfinals, his loss to Raonic in the semifinals might sting for a bit. Still, all things considered, a great two weeks for the Swiss maestro.
- Tomas Berdych has made the quarterfinals of all three Slams in 2016. After losing 6-0 6-0 to David Goffin in Rome prior to the French Open and subsequently parting ways with his coach, a semifinal run at Wimbledon didn't seem likely. Yet, Berdych again found his way to week two of a Slam.
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga can hang his hat on being the only player to push Andy Murray at Wimbledon, forcing a fifth set against the eventual champion in the quarterfinals. After having to retire with an injury during the third round of the French Open, his Wimbledon has to be considered a rousing success.
- Doubles Champions: S. Williams/V. Williams, Mahut/Herbert, Watson/Kontinen
The Body Serve Tennis Podcast
Episode 49 gives you a bit of everything we've been known to talk about on The Body Serve: Serena, Venus, Andy, Beyonce, Mariah, Lemonade. We're here to recap a brilliant fortnight for Serena and Venus at Wimbledon, congratulate Andy Murray, and welcome our guest Stephanie Neppl (@StephintheUS) to the show! You'll hear us revel in the Williams Sisters' singles and doubles success, go to bat for the depth of the WTA, and chat with Steph about her time at Wimbledon, including sitting beside Isha and very close to Oracene! Oh, and you won't want to miss our dramatic reading of some of Venus Williams' best quotes from Wimbledon!
2:45 Serena Williams gets 22
7:30 Kerber the clear no. 2 player right now
12:00 The Serena-Patrick coaching relationship
17:45 Building the Williams legacy with another doubles win
27:00 Taking a moment to praise Venus
30:00 A dramatic reading of Venus Williams wisdom
35:00 We talk about not talking about Marion Bartoli
38:30 Those infamous BBC tweets
42:00 Depth on the WTA - "No. 2 by committee"
47:10 Men's wrap-up: Andy Murray wins Wimbledon #2
57:45 Raonic's coach John McEnroe calling his matches for ESPN
1:04:40 Interview with @StephintheUS, Williams superfan and Wimbledon attendee
1:12:00 Steph sat next to Isha & Oracene at Venus' match!!!
Serena Williams is a Grand Slam singles champion for the 22nd time in her career. In a rematch of this year's Australian Open final, Williams avenged her loss to Angelique Kerber to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish for the seventh time. With the win, Williams ties Steffi Graf for second place all-time with 22 Grand Slam singles titles, leaving her just two shy of Margaret Court's 24. Serena Williams is now the holder of six Australian Open titles, three French Opens, seven at Wimbledon, and a further six at the U.S. Open.
Nearing 35, Venus' younger sister continues to defy expectations of what an athlete of her age should be able to achieve at the highest level of professional sport. After reaching the final of the year's first two Grand Slams, Williams finally scored #22, and followed hours later with her 14th Grand Slam doubles title alongside big sister. Her twin titles at Wimbledon felt like a deluge of glory, the floodgates opening after the disappointment of stalling at the three previous Slams. Her four tries at tying Steffi Graf ended up being the same number of attempts she took before tying Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova at 18. For the past ten months, Serena has been holding steady atop the women's game, clearly the game's best but unable to get to that next level. At Wimbledon today, her rise continued.
On three separate occasions in her career, Williams has won five of the previous nine Slams held. The first "Serena Slam," spread between the 2002 and 2003 seasons, saw Williams win five of six, and between the '08 U.S. Open and '10 Wimbledon, five of nine. In 2011, at age 29, Serena faced another long layoff due to injury and blood clots in both lungs. The idea that her most extended period of dominance was still on the horizon should have been the stuff of fairy tales. Yet, here we are: Williams has won five of the last eight Slams -- again -- and nine of the last seventeen, all after the age of 30. She is also in the midst of a streak of consecutive weeks at #1 that will reach 178 after Wimbledon.
Still she rises.
Serena's late career success should not come as a surprise; she's been defying expectations from before she even won a tennis match. From the "broken down courts" in Compton, as she described them in her acceptance speech for Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year, Williams faced adversity from the get go. She waited in Venus' shadow as big sis made the family's first foray into the tennis world. Then, after becoming a champion in her own right, a spate of tragedy and misfortune tested her mettle: the shooting death of her sister Yetunde in 2003, serious injury and illness, the Indian Wells incident in 2001, and the constant judgement of how she should live her life and play tennis from pundits and fans. All this while maintaining a high profile as a successful black woman in a very white tennis world. Yet, at every turn, Williams found a way back from the abyss.
This Week In Tennis
Let's take a look back at the action that has brought us to this point, with the final four decided in the women's draw and quarterfinal action set to take place in the men's draw tomorrow.
- Serena Williams survived a three-set battle with Christina McHale in the second round, but hasn't lost a set at any point during her run to the semifinals. Elena Vesnina awaits her before a possible final against Venus, should big sis get past Kerber.
- Venus Williams is into her first Grand Slam semifinal since '10 U.S. Open, and first at Wimbledon since 2009. Williams' semifinal is her ninth at Wimbledon, one shy of Serena's ten. This result ensures she'll rise to at least #7 in the rankings, #6 if she makes the final, and #5 if she wins it all.
- Novak Djokovic's quest for a fifth consecutive Slam title and the third leg of the Calendar Slam fell short in the third round against Sam Querrey. It was Djokovic's first loss before the quarterfinals of a Slam since the '09 French Open, and first time he'll miss out on a Slam final since '14 U.S. Open.
- Garbine Muguruza lost to Jana Cepelova in the second round. Last year's Wimbledon finalist was unable to translate her French Open form onto the grass courts. She'll also cede her #2 ranking to Kerber at tournament's end.
- Andy Murray, beaten in the Australian and French Open finals by Novak Djokovic, is now the favourite for his second Wimbledon title and third overall Slam after the world #1's early exit. He's played 10 Slam finals, all against Djokovic and Federer.
The Body Serve Tennis Podcast
2:00 Both French Open winners are out!
13:00 Looking at the women's draw: who's left, great match-ups, Serena-Sveta XIII
23:30 Shall we talk about court assignments?
27:45 Men's draw
36:45 Interview with Michael Lewis, who just came back from his first visit to Wimbledon - the quiet, the pomp, and poppin' bottles
44:30 A few players he saw: Federer on Centre, Venus, Dustin Brown, Vandeweghe, Vinci-Riske
59:00 Sneaking into good seats with the aid of Body Serve friend @stephintheus
1:06:30 Thumbs Up to Marcus Willis, Queen Venus
1:13:30 Thumbs Down to boys behaving badly
1:17:00 #SeeWhatHadHappenedWas Serena gets petty af; or, the "we all hate each other" fallout
Check out our guest Michael Lewis' Wimbledon blogging here.
This Week In Tennis
Click here for the WTA Wimbledon preview
(1) Novak Djokovic
Best Result: W - 2011, 2014, 2015
At this point, any result outside of a Djokovic victory at Wimbledon would be considered a big upset. The Serbian #1 has dominated men's tennis for the last 18 months to the extent that if an opponent is able to win a set it should be considered a Pyrrhic victory. Holder of the last four Grand Slam titles, Djokovic is half way to a calendar year Grand Slam, owns a 44-3 record in 2016, and has already won six titles. He is the unquestioned favourite to win, period.
(2) Andy Murray
Best Result: W - 2013
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal all own more Wimbledon titles than Andy Murray. However, Murray has demonstrated his own grass court pedigree throughout his career: eight consecutive appearances in the quarterfinals or better at Wimbledon, plus five titles in London at the Queen's Club, and an Olympic gold medal at the 2012 London Games. Yes, Djokovic has Murray's and everyone else's number at the moment, but Centre Court Wimbledon could be the neutralizing factor that gives Murray the elusive edge over the world #1.
(3) Roger Federer
Best Result: W - 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Federer's grass court pedigree and history of success at Wimbledon make him one of only a handful of players who can be considered legitimate pre-tournament favourites. However, Federer enters this year's event having battled injury for an extended period for the first time in his career. At age 34, one wonders if he has had enough match play to cope with the demands of best-of-five tennis over seven rounds at a Grand Slam, especially when Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are likely awaiting him at tournament's end.
(4) Stan Wawrinka
Best Result: QF - 2014, 2015
Wawrinka has cultivated a reputation as one of the more inconsistent elite performers on the ATP Tour. While his performances at ATP tour events align with that reputation, Wawrinka has actually been one of the most consistent performers at the Grand Slam events over the last three seasons. Wawrinka has made the quarterfinals at the last two Wimbledons, and at least the final eight in 10 of his last 13 Slam events. Seeing him still in action on the final weekend should come as no surprise.
This Week In Tennis
WTA SINGLES DRAW
(1) Serena Williams
Best Result: W - 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015
Williams let the world know that she was "really pissed" after losing the French Open final last month to Garbine Muguruza. She gets her chance to make amends over the next two weeks at Wimbledon, and another chance to win her 22nd Grand Slam singles title. Her potential path to the title: qualifier, McHale, Mladenovic, Stephens, Bacsinszky, Radwanska, Muguruza.
(2) Garbine Muguruza
Best Result: F - 2015
Muguruza enters Wimbledon fresh off her first Slam title at Roland Garros. Last year's finalist draws Camila Giorgi in the first round; the Italian holds a 2-1 head-to-head lead over the Spaniard. Should Muguruza get through her opening match, a quarterfinal against Venus Williams and a semifinal against either Halep or Kerber lurk as the major obstacles blocking a return to the final.
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska
Best Result: F - 2012
Of the top eight seeds, Radwanska is one of four who has made the final at Wimbledon. The Polish #3 has made at least the semifinals in three of her last four appearances at the All England Club. Drawn in the same half as Serena Williams, Radwanska will likely have to go through Kvitova or Bencic as the top seeds in her quarter to get to the top seed.
(4) Angelique Kerber
Best Result: QF - 2014
The reigning Australian Open champion also carries a grass court pedigree with her into the 2016 Wimbledon event. She has twice made the final in Eastbourne and won the Birmingham Classic in 2015. The fact that she has yet to advance past the quarterfinals at the All England Club doesn't represent the totality of her grass court prowess. If healthy, she stands as good a chance as any to make a deep run.
This Week In Tennis
For these and other stories, let's take a look back at #ThisWeekInTennis, recapping the main stories, player tweets, articles, rankings, and podcasts.
- Madison Keys captured the second WTA title of her career, both on grass, and both in Birmingham. Keys becomes the first American woman to debut in the WTA top 10 since Serena Williams in 1999.
- Andy Murray defended his title in London, winning his record fifth Queen's Club Championship. The tournament was also Murray's first with former coach Ivan Lendl back on his coaching team.
- Florian Mayer authored the feel-good story of the week, claiming the second ATP title of his career. Ranked as high as #18 in 2011, Mayer's career was stalled by injury in 2014 and entered Halle ranked #192.
- Caroline Garcia won the first grass court title of her career at the inaugural Mallorca Open. For Garcia, it is her second WTA title in the last month (Strasbourg), and the 22-year-old now owns three WTA Tour singles titles to go along with a flourishing doubles career with Kiki Mladenovic.
This Week In Tennis
Meanwhile, both tours took to the grass courts after the conclusion of the French Open. Tournaments in Stuttgart, 's-Hertogenbosch, and Nottingham yielded Dominic Thiem, Karolína Plíšková, CoCo Vandeweghe, and Nicolas Mahut as winners. For these and other stories, let's take a look back #ThisWeekInTennis, recapping the first week of the grass court season in tweets, articles, rankings, and podcasts.
- CoCo Vandeweghe won her second career title, both coming on the grass courts of the Ricoh Open.
- After a largely disappointing 2016 campaign, Karolína Plíšková reached her first final of the season and converted that into the fifth WTA title of her career.
- Nicolas Mahut defended his title at the RIcoh Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, his third title at the event and fourth overall in his career. Mahut is also currently the #1 ranked doubles player on the ATP Tour.
- 2016 continues to be a breakout season for Dominic Thiem. The world #7 won his fourth title of the year in Stuttgart. Thiem has won the most matches on tour thus far, and now owns titles on clay, grass, and hard courts in 2016.
- Other finalists this week: Gilles Muller & Kristina Mladenovic ('s-Hertogenbosch), Alison Riske (Nottingham), and Kohlschreiber (Stuttgart).
- The first week of the grass season featured some high profile comebacks: Juan Martin del Potro, Caroline Wozniacki, Belinda Bencic, Ash Barty, and Roger Federer all made their return to tennis after varying lengths of time away for the tours.
- Rafael Nadal announced his withdrawal from Wimbledon, due to the same wrist injury that forced his third round withdrawal at Roland Garros.
- Flavia Pennetta and Fabio Fognini got married over the weekend.
- Andy Murray announced he will reunite with former coach Ivan Lendl after dissolving his partnership with Mauresmo before the French Open.
- Stan Wawrinka, following in the footsteps of Milos Raonic, announced his partnership with a former high profile tennis player for the grass court season. Former Wimbledon champion, Richard Krajicek, will join Wawrinka's camp as they gear up for the season's third Grand Slam.
- Caroline Wozniacki was ruled ineligible for the Rio Olympic Games and will have to appeal the decision during Wimbledon on June 30.
- Nike and Head will continue their sponsorship of Sharapova after announcement of her two year ban from tennis.
The Body Serve Tennis Podcast: Episode 46
0:00 Breaking news! Sharapova gets 2-year ban
2:15 What "intentional" means
19:30 Roland Garros recap: Serena's loss to Muguruza
26:00 Is Muguruza the real deal?
34:30 The Rant: Taking aim at Serena's fairweather "fans"
41:30 The warring fandoms
45:00 Serena passes currently banned Sharapova as top-earning female athlete
50:30 Bartoli's major gaffe exposes the blurred lines in tennis
55:00 Men's results: Novak wins Career Slam, 4 in a row, and we are petty af
1:01:15 Kyrgios' withdrawal and questioning the "Olympic spirit" fallacy
1:08:45 Some good news: Venus is back in the top 10!
1:12:25 Comebacks by Ashleigh Barty and del Potro
This Week In Tennis
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