Randy Walker

communications and media specialist, tennis historian and investor in TennisGrandstand, LLC. He worked for 12 years in the USTA’s Marketing and Communications Division where he coordinated media activities at 13 US Opens, 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties and for three U.S. Olympic teams. He is also the Managing Partner for New Chapter Press Media and the author of the book On This Day In Tennis History.

Oracle Makes Major Investment In Grass Roots American Pro Tennis, Partners With InsideOut Sports & Entertainment

Oracle announced today the creation of the Oracle Pro Series, a schedule of more than 25 new ATP, WTA and ITF World Tennis Tour professional tournaments to be held across the United States over the course of 2019 and 2020. The Oracle Pro Series will create more than 40 percent new playing opportunities in the United States for tennis professionals.

Nearly all the tournaments will be combined men’s and women’s events with equal prize money ranging from $25,000 to $108,000 per tournament. The six combined tournaments scheduled for the fall of 2019 offer equal prize money of $25,000 and will be played in California, Texas and Florida. The 2019 Oracle Pro Series schedule is as follows:

October 6 – 13 – The Claremont Club – Los Angeles, Calif.
October 13 – 20 – Baylor University – Waco, Texas
October 20 – 27 – Texas Christian University – Fort Worth, Texas (ATP)
October 20 – 27 – Southern Methodist University – Dallas, Texas (WTA)
November 4 – 10 – Pepperdine University – Malibu, Calif.
November 11 – 17 – USTA National Campus – Orlando, Fla.
November 17 – 24 – Sanchez-Casal Academy – Naples, Fla.

The final schedule for 2020 will include more than 20 tournaments, most of which will be combined events. Locations will be announced later this year.

“At Oracle, we’re looking at this holistically,” said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd. “We want more exposure for tennis at all levels in the United States. All of our efforts, from awards to tournament series to collegiate sponsorships and strategic partnerships, are pieces of an overall plan to raise the quality of American tennis.”

In addition to more playing opportunities in the U.S., the Oracle Pro Series will expand the pathway for the next generation of aspiring champions from college tennis up to the ATP Tour and the WTA Tour. The Oracle Pro Series will reward success with immediate access to higher level tournaments by connecting all Oracle events into one merit-based path to the highest levels of international professional tennis.

Oracle is partnering with InsideOut Sports & Entertainment, led by former World No. 1 and Hall of Famer Jim Courier and his business partner Jon Venison, to manage the Oracle Pro Series. InsideOut brings more than 15 years of experience producing live and televised events.

“The Oracle Pro Series is an unprecedented expansion in the number of U.S. professional tournaments and reinforces Oracle’s commitment to advancing the sport,” said Courier. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Oracle to give up-and-coming players more opportunities to compete for prize money, improve their rankings and launch their careers. Together, we will play a big part influencing the future of tennis in the U.S.”

Oracle also supports collegiate tennis through sponsorship of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). This includes hosting several marquee ITA championship events throughout the year such as the Oracle ITA Masters and the Oracle ITA Fall Championships. At the grassroots level, Oracle supports tennis through its strategic partnership with Universal Tennis Rating (UTR). UTR leverages Oracle’s industry leading cloud technology to power its algorithm-based, big-data rating system and digital platform.

Tennis Associations Endorse Oracle Pro Series
“This series of events has been created to provide an unprecedented level of opportunities for aspiring young players to compete and earn the valuable WTA ranking points needed to earn a ranking that will provide them the ability to realize their dreams of playing at the highest levels of the sport.” ~ Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO

“The ATP continues to focus on enhancing and strengthening the ATP Challenger Tour, and we welcome Oracle’s growing involvement at this level of the sport. The Oracle Pro Series will provide increased opportunities for players competing on the pathway to the ATP Tour, and we look forward to seeing the series come to life.” ~ Ross Hutchins, ATP Chief Player Officer

“We are incredibly excited that Oracle is providing even more opportunities for American players to compete throughout the year, as well as more opportunities for fans to attend professional tennis events throughout the country. These events help develop American talent and serve as a stepping stone for players to reach the highest levels of the game, while at the same time inspire kids across the nation to pick up a racket and play this sport.” ~ Stacey Allaster, USTA Chief Executive, Professional Tennis

About Oracle Tennis
Oracle is committed to supporting American tennis for all players across the collegiate and professional levels. Through sponsorship of tournaments, players, ranking, organizations and more, Oracle has infused the sport with vital resources and increased opportunities for players to further their careers.

About Oracle
The Oracle Cloud offers a complete suite of integrated applications for Sales, Service, Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Supply Chain and Manufacturing, plus Highly Automated and Secure Generation 2 Infrastructure featuring the Oracle Autonomous Database. For more information about Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), please visit us at www.oracle.com.

Trademarks
Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Another Juan Martin del Potro Withdrawal

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion from Argentina, was scheduled to have the first-ever English language biography on him entitled “The Gentle Giant” officially released at the 2019 U.S. Open. However, due to “injuries” in the translation of the book from Spanish to English, the book has “withdrawn” from the tournament and its original September 1, 2019 release date.

“Juan Martin del Potro: The Gentle Giant” was written by Sebastian Torok, a globally respected tennis writer from La Nacion newspaper in Argentina. The book tells the life story and rise to prominence of del Potro, also focusing on his inspiring comebacks from his many injuries, culminating in his winning the silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, leading Argentina to its first Davis Cup title in 2016 and reaching the final again at the 2018 U.S. Open. The injury narrative for del Potro, however, continued once again in 2019 after he a knee injury forced him to miss Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

“Like Juan Martin del Potro himself, the book will not have a presence at the 2019 U.S. Open,” said Randy Walker of New Chapter Media, the publisher of the book. “We are proud to publish this inspiring and informative biography of Juan Martin, which all sports fans will enjoy. The reality is that with Juan Martin’s absence from the tour and the U.S. Open, and a slight hiccup in the development process, we felt it best to delay the launch of the book to a more appropriate time in the not-to-distant future.”

Fans can pre-order the book on Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559920/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_IfvBDbTMABNJN

New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is a global leader in tennis publishing founded in 1987. It is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “Sport of a Lifetime: Enduring Personal Stories From Tennis” by Judy Aydelott, “Trojan Tennis: A History of the Storied Men’s Tennis Program at the University of Southern California” by S. Mark Young, “Absolute Tennis: The Best And Next Way To Play The Game” by Marty Smith, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Your Playbook For Beating Depression: Essential Strategies For Managing and Living with Depression” by Cliff Richey and Mary Garrison, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Days of Roger Federer” by Randy Walker, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All-Time” by Sandra Harwitt, “Cattle to Courts A History of Tennis In Texas” by Ken McAllister, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “How To Permanently Erase Negative Self Talk So You Can Be Extraordinary” by Emily Filloramo, “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.

Althea Gibson Statue A Welcome New U.S. Open Sight

The USTA has unveiled a dramatic new sculpture honoring trailblazer and tennis great Althea Gibson. The sculpture, created by Eric Goulder, was unveiled outside Arthur Ashe Stadium on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open.

Gibson became the first African-American tennis player, male or female, to win the title at the U.S. National Championships (now the US Open) in 1957. She was a trailblazer of great talent and greater courage, who overcame many obstacles while compiling a career filled with firsts. In addition to breaking the color barrier in tennis (1950), she was the first African- American to win singles titles at the French Championships (1956), Wimbledon (1957) and the U.S. Nationals (1957). In 1958, she repeated both her Wimbledon and U.S. wins. With her success, she became the first African-American to be named Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year (1957 and 1958). Gibson won 11 Grand Slam titles in all, adding six doubles crowns to her five major singles crowns. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971 and was inducted into the US Open Court of Champions in 2007.

“Althea Gibson’s talent, strength and unrelenting desire to achieve made her a great champion,” said Patrick Galbraith, President and Chairman of the Board, USTA. “She made tennis a better place, by opening doors and opening minds, doing so with grace and dignity. She is receiving a recognition she richly deserves.”

“It’s simple. She’s the first African-American to break the color barrier in our sport,” said former USTA Chairman Katrina Adams. “By doing so, she made it possible for every person of color after her to have a chance to achieve their goals in the sport. This is a tribute that’s long overdue—period.”

Created by noted American sculptor Eric Goulder, the Althea Gibson sculpture is comprised of a bust of Althea rising from a granite block placed amid a group of five other granite blocks. The bust of Althea is 3.5 times life-size and each of the five granite blocks weighs 2.7 tons. Altogether, the sculpture weighs more than 18 tons. The Althea bust is patinated bronze, made in water-based clay, molded and cast using the lost wax method. Goulder spent roughly three months on the model and three months on the large clay. The molding and casting took an additional three months. The model was made in a 600-year-old villa in the hills surrounding Florence, Italy, that was once owned by Machiavelli and remained in his family for 150 years. The large clay and bronze cast was made in Pietrasanta, Italy, at the foundry, Massimo Del Chiaro. The granite used for the blocks comes from South Africa. It was cut and hand-flamed at Henraux S.p.A Marble and Granite Company in Querceta, Italy. The monument was shipped in six crates by boat and traveled 4,146 miles to reach its present location.

To enhance fan interaction with the piece, the sculpture also will activate an augmented reality experience. Developed by MRM/McCann, visitors will be able to activate exclusive content about Althea Gibson’s life and legacy by focusing the Augmented Reality (AR) Viewfinder found within the 2019 US Open app onto the sculpture. Narrated by Billie Jean King, the additional AR experience traces Althea’s humble roots, her early interest and involvement in tennis, her career and her legacy through video footage, photos and graphics. Fans can also view the AR experience anywhere by using the APP to place a full-size 3D “hologram” of the sculpture into their surroundings and re-live the experience again or for the very first time.

Polish Players Win First Tour Titles – Mondays with Bob Greene

Mondays with Bob Greene (Courtesy of WorldTennisMagazine.com)

STARS

Hubert Hurkacz beat Benoit Paire 6-3 3-6 6-3 to win the Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Magda Linette beat Camila Giorgi 5-7 7-5 6-4 to win the NYJTL Bronx Open in New York, New York, USA

SAYINGS

“I was really surprised how many Polish people are around here, so I’m really thankful for them, that they came and supported me. It’s great because we don’t have a tournament in Poland, we’re not really used to having a home crowd.” – Magda Linette, who won the NYJTL Bronx Open.

“She’s our Jackie Robinson of tennis. I saw what it meant to be the best.” – Billie Jean King, who at 13 watched Althea Gibson play. A statute of Gibson, who broke tennis’ color barrier, will be unveiled on opening day at the US Open.

“For me, I love tennis. Sometimes I feel like I don’t, but I wake up every morning and if I don’t play, I feel like I’ve done nothing during the day.” – Naomi Osaka, the defending US Open women’s champion.

SNARES FIRST TITLE

Hubert Hurkacz won his first ATP World Tour title when he stopped top-seeded Benoit Paire to capture the Winston-Salem Open. The 22-year-old Hurkacz is the first Polish man to win a tour-level tournament since Wojtek Fibak won in Chicago in 1982. The champion beat four straight seeded opponents in the final week before the US Open begins its two-week run. “It’s a huge win for me today,” Hurkacz said. “Benoit is an amazing player, so it is a really great win for me. … I had to fight a lot, but I am so excited that I lifted my first trophy here.” In all three sets the first two games began with consecutive breaks of serve. And the match was slightly delayed by rain before the decisive set. Hurkacz played his best tennis in the final set, breaking Paire at love with deep returns. He converted his first match point when Paire netted a forehand. “For me it was a good week,” Paire said. “Honestly, I could have lost I (my second match), so it was really good to be in the final.”

SUPER WEEK FOR POLAND

It was a great week for Polish tennis. Not only did Hubert Hurkacz win in Winston-Salem, Polish qualifier Magda Linette captured the NYJTL Bronx Open in New York City, rallying from behind to down Italy’s Camila Giorgi. “I’m 27, so it’s not super super young,” Linette said after winning her first career WTA tournament. “So, it means really a lot. It gives a lot of boost, you know, for the confidence, and also a reward. Finally, it’s a reward for us, for all the hard work.” The champion played eight matches, including three rounds of qualifying. And Giorgi, who won their only other matchup, took the opening set. But Linette wo the first three games before Giorgi broke back to level the score at 4-4. Linette then broke back in the 12th game to level the match at one set apiece. Giorgi got the early break and led 3-2. It was all Linette after that as the Pole won the final four games. “I think it was a lot with the confidence,” Linette said. “I’ve played in practices with many top players and I know I’m able to beat them. But when I went to the matches, something was missing. And that was confidence.”

SICK BAY

Two former Grand Slam tournament finalists will miss this year’s US Open because of injuries. Canada’s Milos Raonic, the 2016 Wimbledon runner-up, pulled out because of an injured glute muscle. He was replaced in the men’s singles draw by Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak, who lost in qualifying.

Kevin Anderson withdraw with an injured right knee. The 33-year-old South African was runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the 2017 US Open and to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year. Anderson, who was seeded 16th, hasn’t played since losing in the third round of Wimbledon in July. He was replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi of Italy.

An injured right foot forced Germany’s Mona Barthel out of the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. Her spot in the women’s singles draw was taken by 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, who lost in qualifying but now will compete in her 11th US Open. Barthel hasn’t played since losing her opening match at Lausanne, Switzerland, last month.

STATUE OF ALTHEA

Althea Gibson not only broke the racial barrier in tennis, she dominated the women’s field in 1956-58, winning 11 titles, including the French, Wimbledon and United States Championships, now the US Open. That was a decade before Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win the inaugural US Open in 1968. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) unveiled a statue of Gibson on the first day of this year’s tournament. Among those expected to attend the ceremony was Angela Buxton of Great Britain, Gibson’s doubles partner. “It’s about bloody time,” said the 85-year-old Buxton, who teamed with Gibson to win the French and Wimbledon doubles titles in 1956. When she retired from tennis two years later, Gibson had won 50 singles and doubles titles. But that was before the professional era began in 1968, so she broke the color line in women’s golf, joining the LPGA. No other African American woman won the US Open until Serena Williams in 1999 or Wimbledon until Venus Williams in 2000.

SET FOR SINGLES

Since he reached the semifinals at the Australian Open, Hyeon Chung of Korea has missed so much time because of a back injury that he had to qualify to gain a spot in this year’s US Open men’s singles. He missed more than five months due to a back injury and his ranking fell outside the top 150. Chung began his comeback by winning an ATP Challenger Tour event before traveling to New York. He beat Mikael Ymer of Sweden 6-1 6-3 to qualify for the main draw.

Other men’s singles qualifiers included 18-year-old American Jenson Brooksby, Italy’s Jannick Sinner; Elliot Benchetrit and Gregoire Barrere, France; Soonwoo Kwon, Korea; Ilya Ivashka and Ego Gerasimov, Belarus; Santiago Giraldo, Colombia; Evgeny Donskoy, Russia; Tobias Kamke and Dominik Koepfer, Germany; Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Spain; Sumit Nagal, India; Jiri Vesely, Czech Republic; and Marco Trungelliti, Argentina.

Joining two Americans, Caroline Dolehide and Taylor Townsend, in qualifying for the women’s singles draw were Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan; Magdalena Frech, Poland; Jana Cepelova, Slovakia; Peng Shuai and Wang Xinyu, China; Johanna Larsson, Sweden; Ana Bogdan, Romania; Mariam Bolkvadze, Georgia; Denisa Allertova and Tereza Martincova, Czech Republic; Harriet Dart, Great Britain; Timea Babos, Hungary; Richel Hogenkamp, Netherlands; and Anna Kalinskaya, Russia.

SENIOR FED

By playing in his 19th US Open, Roger Federer is closing in on another record. The Swiss star, then 19, made his US Open debut in 2000, losing to another promising youngsters, Juan Carlo Ferrero of Spain. Federer won five consecutive titles between 2004-08 and 85 matches. This year he’s seeded third, behind defending champion Novak Djokovic and French Open winner Rafael Nadal. Both also have won the US Open. Having just turned 38, Federer is now third behind two Americans on the most US Opens played. Jimmy Connors holds the mark, playing in 22 Opens, while Andre Agassi retired at the US Open in 2006 after playing in his 21st straight main draw appearance. Frenchman Fabrice Santoro played in 18 US Opens.

SET FOR DOUBLES

Youngsters Coco Gauff and Caty McNally will be seeking to add to their winning streak as a doubles team. The 15-year-old Gauff and 17-year-old McNally were granted a doubles wild card by the USTA. Each previously was given a wild card for the singles draw also. Last year, Gauff and McNally won the US Open junior girls doubles title. Then then paired up and won their first WTA trophy, capturing the doubles title at the Citi Open in Washington, DC, earlier this month.

SEEKING MATCHES

Great Britain’s Andy Murray is looking for work. Returning to the game after undergoing hip surgery earlier this year, Murray has decided to play a Challenger event in Mallorca, Spain, in order to get more singles matches. With his ranking of 329th in the world, Murray is ranked lower than any of the 41 players who earned direct entry into the Rafa Nadal Open. With most players competing in the US Open qualifying and main draw, the Mallorca tournament did not receive enough applications to run the usual qualification tournament. As a result, Murray’s first match will be against 17-year-old Imran Sibille, who is training at the Rafa Nadal Academy, which is hosting the event. Sibille does not have an ATP ranking and won total of USD $150 in his career.

SET ASIDE

Umpire Carlos Ramos will not be in the chair in any US Open matches involving either Serena or Venus Williams. Last year, Ramos officiated the women’s final when Naomi Osaka beat Serena 6-2 6-4. Ramos assessed Williams a penalty game, which gave Osaka a 5-3 lead in the second set. “This is our collective decision,” USTA president Stacey Allaster said in announcing Ramos would not umpire any Williams family matches. “We want to focus on the competition.” US Open tournament referee Soren Friemel said the tournament has made similar decisions in the past. “It’s not the first time that we made decision where it’s good for the tournament, good for the players, good for the umpires as well, to not be on those matches,” Friemel said, noting that Ramos “has worked all the other Grand Slams, he has done Davis Cup, Fed Cup, he’s going to the Davis Cup finals. He’s considered still for all high-profile matches.

SIGNED FOR TOKYO?

Japan could have a high-profile mixed doubles team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There’s a small possibility that Kei Nishikori, the UP Open runner-up in 2014, could team with defending US Open women’s champion Naomi Osaka for the fight for the gold next year. “I will play men’s doubles, for sure,” Nishikori said. “With that condition – very hot, very humid – playing singles and two doubles, I don’t know if I can. I haven’t (had to) think too much yet honestly. I don’t know. I will talk to Naomi later.”

SHARED PERFORMANCES

New York: Darija Jurak and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat Margarita Gasparyan and Monica Niculescu 7-5 2-6 10-7 (match tiebreak)

Winston-Salem: Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo beat Nicholas Monroe and Tennys Sandgren 6-7 (6) 6-1 10-3 (match tiebreak)

SURFING

New York: https://www.usopen.org/index.html
New Haven: http://ww1.oracelchallengerseries.com/
Genova https://www.challengergenova.com/

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

MEN and WOMEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (first week)

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

MEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (second week)
$162,480 Jinan Open, Jinan, China, hard
$162,480 Oracle Challenger, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard
$153,218 Aon Open Challenger, Genova, Italy, clay

WOMEN

US Open, New York, New York, USA, hard (second week)
$162,480 Oracle Challenger, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, hard

Sumit Nagal Joins Prajnesh Gunneswaran In Representing India In U.S. Open Men’s Singles, The Most Since 1985

by Sharada Rajagopalan
@rsharada22

It has taken Sumit Nagal near about four years to make it to the main draw of a major since his success in the junior circuit in the same event category. In 2015, the then 18-year-old won the junior boys’ doubles title at Wimbledon with Vietnam’s Ly Hoang Nam. In 2019, he will play Roger Federer in the first round of the US Open as a qualifier.

In these four years, Nagal’s career widely seesawed with injuries and poor results forcing him to take step backs. These not only affected his professional time-line but also curtailed Indian aspirations that longed to see more names among its tennis-playing ranks make it to the biggest event of the sport.

From the Indian perspective, it also seemed as though injuries would mark another promising name adding Nagal to the likes of Somdev Devvarman, Saketh Myneni and Yuki Bhambri, each with injury scars of his own. Devvarman retired in 2017 but Myneni and Bhambri are still out there fighting past their own physique as much as trying to defeat on-court opponents.

In Nagal’s main-draw debuting at the US Open, there is an unmistakeable cutting through of the prevalent gloom for Indian tennis. For once, there will not be just one home favourite for a nation’s people to root for what with Prajnesh Gunneswaran already taking his place as a direct entry in the 128-man draw.

This will be the first time in almost 21 years that there will be two Indians in the men’s singles main draw at a major tournament. Prior to this, it was in 1998 that Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had played in the Wimbledon men’s singles main draw. The 22-year-old Haryana native who made it possible was less than a year old when that happened.

In a chat with Randy Walker, the world No. 190 spoke about the milestone he had accomplished. “There was Somdev and then you know there was a time where Somdev and Rohan (Bopanna) was playing singles a bit ago,” the New Delhi resident said. “And since then there was not too much happening, then we had Yuki coming up making main draws which is nice. Then, two years nothing happening and now we had Prajnesh playing well, making all main draws. Was very nice. And then we always had Ramkumar playing qualies and now I’ve secured a ranking where I can play all the qualies. So at least we have two between us playing singles instead of one guy playing main draw and then nothing coming up for 2-3 years.”

In his conversation with Walker, Nagal also mentioned about the Amritraj brothers and the father-son duo of Ramanathan and Ramesh Krishnan who had upheld the Indian banner aloft for a long while. However, his mentioning them was almost in passing as though these were merely names for him. It is easy to understand why.
The year 1998, despite its distance from 2019 is still within memory’s reach. More so, because (in a manner of speaking) both Paes and Bhupathi are still Nagal’s colleagues. Paes is still active on the ATP Tour while Bhupathi is the Indian Davis Cup captain. As regards the older generation, especially speaking about Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan as contenders at the US Open, the calendar needs to be turned back to 34 years, specifically to the 1985 edition of the Slam.

The year in question turned out to be the last time that two Indian men were in the singles main draw of the season’s final Major. The length of this interlude contextualised the chasm greeting India’s past, present and future vis-à-vis its contribution to the tennis world. In that, no matter how great its past was, it was not susceptible from being forgotten or worse still, only meriting a passing glance.

This is the biggest upshot to Nagal and Gunneswaran being in the main draw at Flushing Meadows in 2019. That theirs is not merely a long-delayed continuation of India’s tennis ambitions but also a viable map to monitor the Indian tennis trajectory hereafter.

Madison Keys, Daniil Medvedev Win Cincinnati Titles

Madison Keys and Daniil Medvedev each produced signature triumphs of their early careers on Sunday by winning the Western & Southern Open singles titles in Cincinnati.

Keys defeated former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 7-5, 7-6(5) to win her second title of 2019 and first at a Premier 5 event. The victory means the 24-year-old Orlando resident will return to the Top 10 at No. 10 and become the second-highest-ranked American, behind No. 8 Serena Williams.

Medvedev, appearing in his third singles final in as many weeks, won his first ATP Masters 1000 crown, defeating Belgium’s David Goffin, 7-6(3), 6-4. The 23-year-old Russian, the youngest Cincinnati champion since 21-year-old Andy Murray in 2008, is projected to reach a new career-high ranking on Monday, at No. 5, becoming the first Russian in the Top 5 since No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko in June 2010.

The US Open Series wraps up this week with the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina. Tennis Channel will have weeklong cover from Winston-Salem, through to Saturday’s singles final at 5 p.m. ET. View the full television schedule here.

With Success of Naomi Osaka, Ash Barty and Coco Gauff, Comes Added Pressure

by Sharada Rajagopalan

It took Naomi Osaka a few years on the tour to build up her professional resume, with the biggest titles and rankings. The fall was much quicker – building up within months – with various reasons spouted to rationalise her sudden loss of form. No matter what was being speculated, it was not until Osaka clarified what had not been working for her that the matter became clear. Not just about her career alone but also of other fellow youngsters on the professional tennis tour.

“The last few months for me have been really rough tennis wise… I can honestly reflect and say I probably haven’t had fun playing tennis since Australia and I’m finally coming to terms with that while relearning that fun feeling…” Osaka shared in a Twitter post. Though the entirety of the 21-year-old’s post stood out, the portion in which she spoke about “not having fun” stood out sharply than the rest.

Going back to her matches after the Australian Open, it became obvious to what she was referring. After the US Open, making her way into the new season as the most in-form player, alongside her results, expectations boomed. And, direct proportional to these expectations, pressure also rose on her to justify these – as though, these were of her making.

When Osaka won the Australian Open, she seemed to have found a way to negate both while fulfilling her potential. The way things have turned out, it now feels as though Osaka only – albeit successfully – masked the circumstantial despondency. Articulating the same now, is her attempt of coping with it while subtly putting out an advisory that she needs her space to re-find herself.

Borrowing from what Osaka wrote, a case for leaving a player alone can be made for other such players who are considered as the successors on the professional tour. Among the men, the scenario has been pushed to its zenith with touting such as “NextGen” forcibly nudging the idea that the present is all about the future. As youngster after youngster stumbles along the road, the idea of present – older players – being dominant versus a future that has letdown the sport in its uncertainty is also being polished in its reiteration.

In contrast, the WTA lot, especially the youngsters evade such deeply-poring intensity until obliviousness is not an option. That is, while talent abounds among the juniors, somehow or the other, the men’s action takes more precedence shoving the women into the shadows. That, however, is a debate of men’s tour vis-à-vis the women’s remains a topic to be discussed at some later, finite point. Yet, this existing chasm between the reception of the men’s and women’s game helps the younger WTA players focus on developing their game and make their way upwards, literally, through the ranks.

Once they step into the tour events and the world at large cottons on to their aptitude, and paean-like articles are sung about them being the proverbial future that is when reality enters the fray, disrupting years’ worth of carefully-nurtured concentration. Be it Osaka, or be it Jelena Ostapenko, or even Ashleigh Barty to name a few.
In case of the Australian, praises about her finding her place among the major champions do make it a point to include how she took a sabbatical from tennis to play cricket. Barty, too, has credited how cricket helped center her. The 23-year-old’s confessions aside, these narratives do not talk about how Barty moved on to play a team sport that does not receive much attention (if any, at all) from non-Commonwealth countries. If she needed to regroup, the 11-player game gave her as much of an opportunity to be connected with the sports’ world as much as there was a gulf separating her from expectations.

More than her win on a surface that was always thought to be non-conducive to her playing style, Barty’s winning a singles major at the French Open when everyone’s usual picks fell off the draw sheet was the bigger surprise. As if it were a given offshoot, it was also not surprising that Barty’s Roland Garros title led to chants of her winning Wimbledon.

This externally-driven pipe dream may have been extinguished for Barty. But onlookers latched on to another player to fuel their aspirations – in 16-year-old Coco Gauff. It also became convenient to do so since she defeated 38-year-old Venus Williams, one of her idols, in the opening round thereby earning the moniker of being someone-like the Williamses in the years to come.

However, the irony is that Venus and Serena Williams did not become who they are now while starting off as teenage prodigies. It has taken the Williams sisters over two decades on the tour to get to where they are now. In a way, they are outliers to the usual plotlines spun around tennis because they have not only shunned expectations – while battling against odds – but also used them as expedient benchmarks to be surpassed.

If they are to be used as examples, more than their achievements, it is this quality of theirs that the likes of Gauff and Osaka need to be expected to emulate – in their wins as in their losses.

Can Roger Federer Win A 21st Grand Slam Title?

Roger Federer, a formidable force in the men’s singles tennis, going down as a legend in the sport. He has positioned himself at the top of the table for the most Grand Slam singles titles of all-time with a current total of 20. Although his titles are pretty spread out across the four major competitions, he has seen most success at Wimbledon. From his first win in 2003 to his most recent win last year at the Australian Open, Federer has provided us with numerous intense matches – most of them facing his biggest rivals, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. With these top three dominating in each Grand Slam it is hard to see someone disrupting their flow, but can Roger Federer make it number 21 at the US Open this year? If you think you know who will win this year’s final Grand Slam you can bet on US Open 2019 with Betfair.

Although Federer has seen unprecedented success across all Grand Slams, his best years were earlier on in his career. Between the years of 2003 and 2010, we saw Federer claim 16 of his Grand Slam titles, which means in the last nine years, he has only won four. It could be fair to say that Federer has slowed down (especially as he has recently celebrated his 38th birthday), but it is also a valid argument that he has been overthrown by the arrival of Nadal and Djokovic who have both seen most of their successes after 2010, but have collectively claimed 34 Grand Slam titles.

It is true that since Nadal and Djokovic came on the scene they have made things slightly trickier for Federer, and although he has not won as many titles since they came about, he has still been reaching the finals at least once every year with the exception of 2013 and 2016. In fact, most of the Grand Slam finals since 2003 have been contested between these three tennis players with only a handful of exceptions.

In his recent years, we have seen Federer consistently challenging for a title but with Djokovic dominating at Wimbledon and the ‘King of Clay’ Nadal dominating at the French Open, he seems to be struggling to breakthrough. Federer has seen some success at the US Open in previous years, totalling five Grand Slam titles there, but he hasn’t won a title at Flushing Meadows since 2008 and the last final he reached was in 2015. However, at the Australian Open, we have seen Federer claim the Grand Slam in 2018 and 2017, so although he missed out on the win this year, he could be in with a greater chance of achieving number 21 there next year. There is a lot of debate as to where Federer could achieve his next Grand Slam title, but actually, will he claim it at all?

Is the era of Roger Federer’s Grand Slam title wins starting to phase out, or has he got a few more victories left in him? There has recently been a lot of speculation regarding his retirement. His reign has already been incredible and landed him well and truly in the history books of the sport, but it might be possible that his struggle to claim a title in recent years is a sign, that his last title in the Australian Open, was his last.

Whether you believe Federer’s time as a champion is up or that he has still got some glory moments left, one undeniable thing is his dedication and incredible achievements within the sport.

Rafael Nadal, Bianca Andreescu Win Rogers Cup Titles

The continuing dominance of a tennis legend and the further emergence of a hometown star were the Sunday themes in Canada, as Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu took home Rogers Cup singles titles in Montreal and Toronto, respectively.

Nadal defeated 23-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev, 6-3, 6-0, in Montreal to win his fifth Rogers Cup and record 35th ATP Masters 1000 title, which is two more than Novak Djokovic’s 33. The match was the Spaniard’s 51st ATP Masters 1000 final appearance — also a record, leading Roger Federer’s 50 — while it was the first for Medvedev, who trails only Nadal in wins on tour this season (41 to 38).

Andreescu, playing in her first event since suffering a shoulder injury at the French Open, became the first Canadian woman to win the Rogers Cup singles title in 50 years after Serena Williams, bidding to win her fourth Rogers Cup title and first since 2013, had to retire at 3-1 down in the first set with an upper back injury. That gave Andreescu a second Premier-level title of 2019 to pair with her Indian Wells crown and will elevate the 19-year old to a new career-high ranking, projected at No. 14.

The US Open Series makes its penultimate stop in Cincinnati this coming week with no shortage of storylines. Andy Murray will return to singles play for the first time since the Australian Open, after which he underwent hip surgery and eased back into competition by playing doubles this summer. Murray’s return reunites the “Big Four” of the ATP, as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer lead a men’s field featuring nine of the Top 10. The Cincinnati women’s draw features all of the Top 10, as well as wild-card entries Maria Sharapova — drawn against Wimbledon quarterfinalist Alison Riske in the first round — and 17-year old Citi Open semifinalist Caty McNally, a Cincinnati native.

Tennis Channel and ESPN2 will each televise ATP and WTA matches from Cincinnati. Tennis Channel will feature early-round coverage through Thursday, while ESPN2 picks up its coverage on Thursday and will carry next weekend’s matches from the quarterfinals on. View the full television schedule here.

Thuuz Sports Says Federer-Djokovic Wimbledon Final Among Top Global Sports Events

Palo Alto, CA – Thuuz Sports, the most powerful automated video highlights production platform for worldwide sports, announced their July Top 10 most exciting games, with a very unique 24 hour period in the UK, The Cricket World Cup and Men’s Final at Wimbledon outdistancing some exciting and emotional MLB matchups during the month The full top ten is below.

Using their custom designed algorithms to measure real-time event excitement, Thuuz provides a unique look into what games have gotten fans the most excited and engaged as 2019 rolls along.

The game excitement ratings are measured on a 0 to 100 scale and take into consideration game pace, team parity, play novelty, momentum shifts, social buzz, and historical context. The algorithms behind the excitement ratings are statistically calibrated to insure the appropriate distribution of ratings across the duration of a season or course of a tournament.

Using the Thuuz excitement measurement platform, the top ten most exciting games were:

1. New Zealand 241/8 & 15/1, England 241 & 15/0 (Cricket): 7/14: Some people are dubbing this cricket match the greatest one ever, and rightly so. In front of their home fans, England prevailed over New Zealand in the first ever Super Over in a Cricket World Cup Final. After the match ended with both teams at 241, the Super Over then ended with both teams at 15. The teams were so evenly matched that they even tied in OT. In the end, ENG were declared the winner because they had more boundaries than NZ.

2. Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) (ATP): 7/14: London had quite the day. At the same time the Cricket World Cup was happening, so was the Wimbledon Final between these two classic rivals. It resulted in the first ever 5th set tiebreaker in Wimbledon history after the tournament introduced a tiebreaker at 12-12 in the 5th set at the beginning of the tournament. Federer won more points and games, but Djokovic won when it mattered most, including all 3 tiebreakers to secure his 5th Wimbledon trophy.

3. Yankees 14, Twins 12 (MLB): 7/23: Similar to the first two games on this list, this battle between two of the American League powerhouses was a runaway candidate for the best game of the year. After being down 8-2, the Yankees scored 3 runs in the 5th inning followed by another 5 runs in the top of the 8th to take a 10-9 lead.. The Twins took the lead back in the bottom of the 8th. The Yanks took the lead again in the top of the 9th. Then, in the bottom of the 9th, the Twins tied the game to send it to extra innings. NYY followed with a run in the 10th, and after an Aaron Hicks’ diving catch with the bases loaded, the Yankees secured the win.. In total, the teams combined for 12 runs in the final 3 innings, including 9 for the Yankees.

4. Astros 11, Angels 10 (MLB): 7/7: The game’s best player Mike Trout (LAA) homered twice for the Angels, but they ultimately came up short after WS MVP George Springer hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning. Each team had 6 hitters log multi-hit performances, including 4 of the Astros recording 3+ hits. The game also had a really dark moment when Angels’ catcher J. Lucroy suffered a devastating concussion on a collision at the plate, dampening the mood of an otherwise fantastic baseball game.

5. Twins 7 Athletics 6 (MLB): 7/21: A back-and forth affair, this game saw at least one team score a run in seven innings. Trailing 5-4 entering the 8th inning, the bottom of the A’s lineup did some damage, hitting an RBI double and sac fly giving the A’s bullpen a 6-5 lead. It was not enough, though, as Twins leadoff hitter Max Kepler hit a walkoff single for his 3rd hit and 4th RBI of the night.

6. Cardinals 12, Reds 11 (MLB): 7/19: A wild offensive output saw the Reds take an early 7-0 lead behind a 3-R HR from catcher R. Lavarway. Down by 7, the Cards exploded for a 10-run 6th inning. However, the real story of the inning was that STL scored 7 of those runs with 2 outs in the inning, culminating with a 3-R HR from slugger Jose Martinez. That wasn’t it for the offense, as the Reds scored 4 runs and had Joey Votto up with 2 outs in the 9th, but he grounded out to end the game and the offensive fireworks.

7. Brewers 7, Pirates 6 (MLB): 7/5: Powered by 3 homers, the Brewers took a comfortable 6-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th inning. The Pirates, however, would not go down easy, putting together a spirited rally capped off by a game-tying solo homer by Jung Ho Kang with 2 outs in the 9th. In the top of the 10th, The Brewers responded with a go-ahead single by Lorenzo Cain to make the score 7-6. After blowing the save in the 9th, Junior Guerra shut the door in the 10th to give the Brewers a thrilling 7-6 win.

8. Blue Jays 10 Rays 9 (MLB): 7/27: The Blue Jays faced a daunting 9-3 deficit heading into the bottom of the 8th inning. They put up 2 runs in the 8th inning on solo homers, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. crushed a three-run homer in the 9th to cut the Rays’ lead to 1. With the Blue Jays down to their final out, Brandon Drury hit a solo homer to tie the game at 9. In the bottom of the 12th, Teoscar Hernandez broke the tie with a walk-off home run to complete the Blue Jays’ improbable come-from-behind win.

9. Rays 10, Blue Jays 9 (MLB): 7/28: Take the recap from the game above, flip it on its head, and that is pretty much the outcome of the game between the Jays and Rays from the next day. The Jays were down 8-1 after 5 innings, but 3 runs in the 6th, 2 in the 7th, and 3 more in the 8th tied the game up at 9 apiece. An RBI groundout with the bases loaded gave the Rays a 10-9 lead in the 9th that they wouldn’t relinquish to extract some revenge from the previous night’s game.

10. Angels 13, Mariners 0 (MLB): 7/12 On the surface, a 13-0 game is not all that exciting. Dive into it and suddenly the power of sports becomes apparent. In the Angels first home game after suffering the tragic death of pitcher T. Skaggs, two Angels pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter. Some of the crazy stats from that night include… The Angels scored 7 runs in the first and 13 runs overall, and Skaggs’ birthday was on July 13th. In the 1st inning, Mike Trout hit a HR 454 feet. Skaggs number was 45. And yes, every Angels player was wearing his number on their jersey that night. The no-hitter began with Skaggs’ mom throwing a perfect strike in the ceremonial 1st pitch. It was a brilliant and emotional night from start to finish.

ABOUT Thuuz Sports

Leveraging its automation platform, Thuuz Sports enables Personalized Clips, Highlight Reels, and Condensed Games: any duration, any perspective, involving any set of plays, players, fantasy rosters, narratives, and themes. Thuuz Sports also offers a Subjective Sports Metadata Service that enables its customers to deliver sports apps and guides that deliver a true personalized experience to their fans based on leveraging Thuuz Sports excitement ratings, dynamic headlines, and real-time notifications. Thuuz Sports customers reach well over 150 million sports fans worldwide and include some of the biggest names in the industry.

Like us on Facebook: Thuuz

Follow us on Twitter: @Thuuz