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.

Todd Martin Wins “Retro Racquet” Invesco Series QQQ Event In Newport

NEWPORT, R.I. – During his down time from his role as Chief Executive Officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Todd Martin will sometimes hit the grass courts at the Newport Casino and play tennis using an old wooden Jack Kramer Pro Staff racquet, the racquet he used growing up as a young boy. Martin’s comfort with the wooden racquet on his home courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame served him well Sunday as he won a special “retro racquet” version event on the Invesco Series QQQ, held in conjunction with the ATP’s Hall of Fame Open and the induction ceremonies for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

“It’s nostalgic,” said Martin after beating Mats Wilander 6-2 in the one-set championship match with the Jack Kramer Pro Staff. “I’ve spent my entire life in tennis in various capacities. This is my original racquet. It makes me think about my childhood.”

Wilander, the former world No. 1, used a steel Yonex racquet that he got as a prize when he won a 12-and-under tournament back in Sweden. Wilander, however, could not play with the racquet because his father stole it from him to use himself. Wilander found the racquet in a closet a few weeks ago and decided to use it for this specially-designed event.

The quality of play with the older racquet frames was quite high in all three Invesco Series QQQ matches with few unforced errors. Said Martin of his wood racquet prowess, “Actually my backhand feels better with wood than it does with graphite. My forehand is horrible with both.”

The title was the first for Martin on the Invesco Series since he won the title in Minneapolis in 2011 and his sixth overall title on this North American tennis tour for champion tennis players over the age of 30. Martin also won the title in Newport on this tour back in 2007 defeating John McEnroe in the final. This year’s event in Newport marked only the second Invesco Series QQQ event for Martin since 2014 after competing in New Haven last summer.

En route to the final, Martin beat newly-minted International Tennis Hall of Fame member Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-4, while Wilander beat Jim Courier 6-2. Kafelnikov, the Russian former French and Australian Open champion, was appearing in his first career Invesco Series QQQ event and used a Jack Kramer Autograph racquet. In his loss, Courier used the steel Wilson T-2000 racquet.

The 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit continues August 3 with the Invesco Legends San Jose as part of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State University.

Earlier this season, Haas kicked off the 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit by defeating Roddick 7-6 (2) in the title match at the Oracle Champions Cup in Newport Beach, California. James Blake won the second event of the season at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., defeating Courier 6-3 in the final. Lleyton Hewitt won the third title of the season in Charleston, S.C., as part of the Volvo Car Open in April while Tommy Haas won the Hawaii Champions Cup at the Royal Lahaina Resort in May.

The remaining 2019 Invesco Series QQQ schedule is as follows:

San Jose, CA – August 3 (San Jose State University) James Blake, Andy Roddick, Mark Philippoussis, Michael Chang
New Haven, CT – September 7 (Yale University, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Tommy Haas, Mark Philippoussis)
Toronto, ON – September 26 (Mattamy Athletic Centre): Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis)
Los Angeles, CA – October 26 (Sherwood Country Club) Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish)
Houston, TX – November 15: (Rice University) Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis, Juan Carlos Ferrero

In 2018, Blake won his first Invesco Series QQQ year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.
In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Invesco Series QQQ titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.
In 2015, Roddick won the Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Invesco Series QQQ tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $5 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or InvescoSeries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, pleasevisithorizonmedia.com.

ABOUT INVESCO
Invesco Ltd. is an independent investment management firm dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. NYSE: IVZ; Invesco.com, Invesco Distributors, Inc. is the US distributor for Invesco Ltd. and is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.”

US Open Tennis Pros Get Eight Percent Raise For 2019 To $57 Million Total Prize Money

The USTA announced that total player compensation for the 2019 US Open will surpass $57 million for the first time, maintaining the US Open as the richest purse in tennis history. The USTA worked collaboratively with the ATP and WTA Tour to determine specific prize money levels on a round-by-round basis, including for the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The individual payouts for each round of the tournament are all Grand Slam records.

In addition to the prize money provided to the players by the US Open, the USTA will make a payment of $1,000,000 ($500,000 per tour) to support the ATP and WTA Tour player programs including pension.

The new record total represents an 8% increase over 2018 total compensation. Main draw prize money for the first round (round of 128) has increased by 47% over the last four years, and in that same time the second round (round of 64) has increased by 46%. By committing to these large increases for the opening rounds, the USTA’s goal is to provide a better financial balance that benefits all players.

Both the men’s and women’s singles champions will earn $3.85 million, and the men’s and women’s doubles champion teams will earn $740,000, both payouts the highest in US Open history. The US Open Qualifying Tournament, which this year will see a near 20% increase in total prize money, and a doubling of prize money over the past four years, will offer more than $3.5 million in prize money for the first time.

“The US Open prides itself on offering the best tennis players in the world, the richest total prize money in our sport,” said Patrick Galbraith, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “We strive to be innovative, and feel that our new contribution of $500,000 to the ATP’s player programs including its pension and the WTA Tour’s transition programs for players will go a long way toward the long-term financial well-being of all of our sport’s athletes.”

US Open Fan Week begins with the US Open Qualifying Tournament and a full slate of free events for the public on Monday, August 19. The Main Draw of the US Open begins on Monday, August 26 and runs through the Sunday, September 8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

Barbora Strycova Seals Near Perfect Wimbledon With Doubles Title To Lift Her To No. 1 Doubles Ranking

The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) announced that Czech Republic’s Barbora Strycova will ascend to WTA World No.1 in doubles for the first time in her career when the rankings are released on Monday, July 15.

By capturing her maiden Grand Slam doubles title at Wimbledon, alongside former WTA World No.1 doubles player Hsieh Su-Wei, Strycova becomes the seventh woman representing the Czech Republic to achieve the No.1 doubles ranking. She joins her compatriots Helena Sukova, Jana Novotna, Kveta Peschke, Lucie Safarova, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

Strycova also becomes the 43rd woman overall to reach the WTA World No.1 doubles ranking, taking the top spot from Kristina Mladenovic, who has held it the past five weeks. At 33 years, 109 days, Strycova becomes the second oldest player to debut as the World No.1 in doubles following Kveta Peschke in 2011 (35 years, 361 days).

“It’s a great honor to become the World No.1 doubles player,” said Strycova. “I’m so happy to win my first Grand Slam, and I could not have made it here without my amazing partner Hsieh. We’ve put in so much work and I’m proud of all of our accomplishments together.”

Over the last 12 months, Strycova has lifted six WTA doubles trophies from eight finals including titles at the 2018 Connecticut Open in New Haven and China Open in Beijing (both w/Andrea Sestini Hlavackova), and 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Mutua Madrid Open, Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, and Wimbledon (all w/Hsieh).

“Earning the WTA World No.1 Doubles Ranking is a reflection of the hard work and dedication that Barbora has put forth,” said Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Congratulations to Barbora on this very special achievement which highlights her outstanding career in both singles and doubles.”

The new WTA Doubles World No.1 holds 27 career WTA doubles titles, including three WTA Premier Mandatory trophies at 2018 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (w/Hsieh), 2018 Beijing (w/Sestini Hlavackova) and 2019 Madrid (w/Hsieh).

In addition to winning her first Grand Slam doubles title at Wimbledon, Strycova also reached her career first major semifinal in singles this fortnight at the All England Club, defeating four seeded players including British No.1 Johanna Konta before falling to Serena Williams.

Click here to read more on about the history of Czech Tennis in the book “A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0942257685/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_Fn8kDbRYNM39M

Novak Djokovic Wins Historic Wimbledon Final Against Roger Federer In First-Ever Final-Set Tiebreaker

Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon for a fifth time in historic fashion beating Roger Federer 7-6 (7-6), 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 13-12 (7-3) in a match that featured the first fifth-set tiebreaker in Wimbledon singles history. The final was the longest men’s final in Wimbledon history at 4 hours and 57 minutes. The win was the 16th major title for Djokovic, closing the gap between he and Federer, the all-time leading major winner at 20 and Rafael Nadal at 18.

Djokovic saved two match points with Federer serving for the match at 8-7, 40-15 but was not able to finish off the Serbian. Djokovic becomes the first man to save a match point in a Wimbledon final since Bob Falkenburg in saved three match points in the 1948 singles final against John Bromwich.

“I’ll try to forget,” joked Federer, who is less than a month shy of his 38th birthday and would have been the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the professional era.

This year marked the first year that Wimbledon implemented a tie-breaker in the fifth-set at 12-12, in response to Kevin Anderson and John Isner going to 26-24 in the men’s singles semifinals, causing havoc in the tournament schedule and causing for Anderson, the semifinal winner over Isner, to not be able to be fresh enough to play at his best in the final against Djokovic in the 2018 final. The Federer vs. Djokovic match was the first singles match this year to go into the 12-12 final-set tiebreaker, but a doubles match early in the event was decided by the final-set tiebreaker.

To read about other great tennis matches in history, order “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” book here by Steve Flink: https://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Tennis-Matches-All-Time/dp/0942257936/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=greatest+tennis+matches+of+all+time&qid=1563128508&s=gateway&sr=8-1

USTA Announces Tennis Team For 2019 Pan American Games In Peru

The USTA announced that Usue Arconada, Caroline Dolehide, Alexa Graham, Kevin King, Michael Redlicki and Sam Riffice will represent the U.S. in the 2019 Pan American Games July 29-August 4 in Lima, Peru, while Casey Ratzlaff, Chris Herman, Dana Mathewson, Emmy Kaiser, David Wagner and Bryan Barten will play for the U.S. in the Parapan American Games August 24-30 in Lima.

The Pan American Games are a summer sports competition for countries in North, South and Central America held every four years in the year prior to the Olympic Games. The Games will feature men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles competition on the red clay courts of Lima’s Lawn Tennis Club. More than 6,000 athletes from 41 countries are expected to compete across 36 sports in this year’s Games. The Parapan American Games will feature 1,850 athletes, with wheelchair tennis, featuring men’s and women’s singles and doubles and quad singles and doubles, as one of its 17 sports.

All Pan American and Parapan American Games roster nominations are pending final approval of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

USTA National Coaches Adam Peterson (women) and Eric Nunez (men) will coach the U.S. Pan American team. Jason Harnett and Paul Walker will coach the Parapan team.

Tennis has been contested at the Pan Am Games since 1951. Americans who have won the gold medal at the Pan Am Games include Althea Gibson (1959, singles), Arthur Ashe (1967, mixed doubles), Patrick McEnroe (1987, men’s doubles), Pam Shriver (1991, singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles), Paul Goldstein (1999, singles), and Irina Falconi (2011, singles).

The Pan American men’s entry list also includes current ATP Top 100 players Nicolas Jarry, of Chile, and Hugo Dellien, of Bolivia. The women’s field includes former Top-100 players Beatriz Haddad Maia, of Brazil, Rebeca Marino, of Canada, and Veronica Cepede Royg, of Paraguay.

Arconada, 20, is ranked No. 214 in singles and No. 171 in doubles and currently lives in Naples, Fla. She’s won three ITF World Tennis Tour-level doubles titles and two singles titles in 2019, and was ranked in the Top 5 in the world in junior (18-and-under) competition. A product of the renowned JTCC in College Park, Md., Arconada was born in Buenos Aires and has also lived in Puerto Rico, where her father was Puerto Rico’s national volleyball coach. Her brother, Jordi, played tennis at Texas A&M.

Dolehide, 20, is ranked No. 269 in singles and No. 106 in doubles and currently lives in Orlando, Fla., training out of the USTA National Campus. She nearly broke into the WTA Top 100 last summer after reaching the second round at the French Open and has won three ITF World Tennis Tour-level doubles titles in 2019. A native of Hinsdale, Ill., Dolehide turned pro instead of attending UCLA, where her older sister, Courtney – now the head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Georgetown University – was the captain of the Bruins’ 2014 NCAA championship team.

Graham, 20, is ranked No. 728 in singles and recently completed an All-American junior season at the University of North Carolina. From Garden City, N.Y., Graham went 37-7 in singles for the Tar Heels this season, was ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation in collegiate singles and earned singles and doubles All-America honors. In three seasons at North Carolina, Graham has a 106-22 record in singles and a 55-17 record in doubles.

King, 28, is ranked No. 397 in singles and No. 527 in doubles. A collegiate star at Georgia Tech from 2008-12, King reached a career-high No. 162 world ranking in May 2018 and has served as a practice partner for the U.S. Davis Cup Team. He was a doubles All-American as a junior in 2011 and has won six singles and 11 doubles titles at the ATP Challenger and ITF World Tennis Tour level.

Redlicki, 25, is ranked No. 327 in singles and was an All-American at Arkansas in 2016-17. A Chicago native, Redlicki was an All-SEC First Team selection in his junior and senior seasons as a Razorback and finished his senior year as the No. 12-ranked collegiate singles player in the country. Redlicki and his younger brother, Martin, who went on to star at UCLA, trained at the former USTA Player Development headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., as teenagers.

Riffice, 20, is ranked No. 496 in singles and recently completed a standout freshman season at the University of Florida, earning All-America honors after reaching the NCAA singles quarterfinals. A native of Roseville, Calif., who currently lives in Orlando, Fla., and trains out of the USTA National Campus, Riffice was ranked in the Top 20 in the world in junior (18-and-under) competition and won his first ITF World Tennis Tour-level singles title at the M25 event in Wichita, Kan., in June.

Ratzlaff, 21, from Wichita, Kan., is currently ranked No. 25 in singles and No. 34 in doubles in the ITF world wheelchair rankings, and is 23-9 on the year in singles play. He competed for the U.S. in the recent BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Israel and has won three ITF Futures Series wheelchair singles titles in 2019.

Herman, 21, from St. Petersburg, Fla., is ranked No. 56 in singles and No. 70 in the world wheelchair rankings and competed in men’s doubles at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in May. He won the singles title at the Wheelchair Tennis Collegiate National Championships each of the last two years as a junior and senior at the University of Florida.

Mathewson, 29, from San Diego, is ranked No. 18 in singles and No. 7 in doubles in the world wheelchair rankings and competed in the 2016 Rio Paralympics. She’s won two ITF wheelchair doubles titles in 2019 and is a multiple-time BNP Paribas World Team Cup competitor.

Kaiser, 29, is ranked No. 29 in singles and No. 34 in doubles in the world wheelchair rankings and is a two-time Paralympian (Rio 2016, London 2012). Kaiser also competed in the 2015 and 2011 Parapan American games, winning doubles gold and singles silver at Guadalajara 2011.

Wagner, 45, from Portland, Ore., is the No. 2-ranked Quad singles and No. 1-ranked Quad doubles player in the ITF world rankings. He’s competed in four Paralympic Games, winning eight medals in total: three gold, three silver and three bronze, and has won 19 Grand Slam titles in wheelchair tennis. He’s been ranked among the Top 3 in the world since 2002.

Barten, 45, from Hart, Mich., is ranked No. 10 and No. 6 in the world in Quad singles and doubles, respectively, and is a two-time Paralympian. He has helped with the U.S. five BNP Paribas World Team Cup titles in 12 appearances and is a former French Open wheelchair doubles champion.

International Tennis Federation and National Associations Announce World Tennis Number (WTN) Project

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and leading National Tennis Associations announced a strategic project to develop and implement a global, level-based tennis rating, designed to enable more matches to be played between players of similar levels, from beginners to professionals.

The new rating, called the World Tennis Number (WTN), will aim to break down one of sport’s key barriers to participation – uneven match-ups – allowing players of all abilities to determine their individual level. This will help players identify opponents and competitions of an appropriate standard and access to more competitive and enjoyable playing opportunities.

ITF President, David Haggerty, said: “Our vision is simple, to create local online communities of tennis players sharing meaningful and enjoyable tennis experiences through level-based play. With this new platform, we have the means to connect a worldwide community of 87 million tennis players and fans.”

The WTN project, approved by the ITF Board of Directors in March 2018, is led by a steering committee composed of executives from the ITF, French Tennis Federation (FFT), LTA and United States Tennis Association (USTA), and supported by a project team and an advisory group of nations that also includes experts from the National Associations of Canada, China, Ireland, Netherlands and Switzerland.

Sports technology experts, ClubSpark, have been selected to build the World Tennis Number digital platform. This platform will create a global online tennis community, enabling players to access their WTN from anywhere in the world, record and measure their progress, and interact with other tennis players. The digital platform will also assist tournament organisers in the staging of competitions based on ability levels.

The scale and algorithm for the World Tennis Number is currently being modelled and refined using a database of millions of match records, and through worldwide player consultation. The project has already received significant input from nations representing the majority of the world’s tennis players.

“The goal is more people playing more tennis more often,” explained Luca Santilli, ITF Executive Director of Tennis Development. “Creating a rating system for players of all levels that is commercially independent has been a very positive step; but what is really exciting is the potential for the World Tennis Number to become a giant leap forward for the sport. With the correct algorithm and adoption on a worldwide basis, it could be game changing.”

The World Tennis Number is planned to be in operation towards the end of 2019, with National Associations launching officially within each country from 2020.

FFT President, Bernard Giudicelli, said: “France will always be supportive of initiatives enabling tennis to grow worldwide and will share its experience with other nations to build their own grassroots development plan. Competition is the best leverage to achieve that aim. The World Tennis Number platform is a ten-year dream come true. This is Tennis 4.0, using technology to provide easier access to tennis and deepen the connection between local players and worldwide tennis.”

LTA CEO, Scott Lloyd, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the ITF and leading tennis nations to create the new World Tennis Number. The LTA is working hard to open tennis up to anyone who wants to play, and we believe that a new rating system will support our plans to offer players appropriate and enjoyable matches at every level of the sport.”

USTA CEO Gordon Smith, said: “One of the USTA’s top priorities is to elevate all aspects of the tennis player’s experience, regardless of their age, background or skill level. As a nation with one of the largest tennis player communities on the planet, the USTA constantly strives to utilise best-in-class technology to improve products for the needs of players and fans. We believe the new World Tennis Number platform will foster relationships, increase opportunities to play and connect US players with the global community.”

The ITF and steering committee nations believe that the World Tennis Number will be a powerful enabler in fulfilling the fundamental objectives of increasing participation, and recruiting and retaining players of any age, gender and ability.

Djokovic, Federer or Nadal (Who Else?) Will Win 2019 Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer.

Once again, it seems inevitable that one of these three great all-time champions will be the 2019 men’s singles champion at Wimbledon. The top three seeds, respectively, are head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field as far as their Wimbledon odds to win the title. John McEnroe said this week that not only are these three the best three players in the game, but they are the best three players in the game EVER! With Federer holding down the top spot in major singles titles won with 20, and Nadal trailing by two with 18 titles and Djokovic with 15 titles in third place, it’s not something you can argue with, even if you throw in Rod Laver with 11 majors and Pete Sampras with 14 majors. These three players have a firm grip on the top of the men’s tennis world and don’t seem willing to surrender any ground to the younger generation.

Looking at the Wimbledon careers of these three all-time greats, Federer has the best record with eight titles, but he is fast-approaching his 38th birthday next month. He last won at SW19 in 2017 when he beat Marin Cilic in the final for his eighth title. To boot, he has won 19 career grass court tournaments, which is more than doubles Djokovic (five) and Nadal (four) combined! He will have to potentially tangle with Nadal in the semifinals and even though they will play on grass, Nadal’s brutal straight-set dismissal in the French Open semifinals may still be fresh in him mind.

Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, but not since 2010 and of the “Big Three” he has had the least amount of success of the Wimbledon grass. After winning his 12th career French Open title last month, he took the grass court season completely off (although he practiced on the grass of his native Mallorca). At age 33, the years are also piling up on him, but one thing is for sure, he will not give up until the last ball on the last point of his tournament is hit.

Djokovic, age 32, is not only the top seed and defending champion, but also has the easier draw to the final without Federer or Nadal to contend with. He has plenty of positive memories at the AELTC to draw from his four singles titles on Centre Court. Experts will point to the big-serving Canadian and former Wimbledon singles finalist Milos Raonic as his potential semifinal opponent. Djokovic has won Wimbledon four times.

Andy Murray Took Big Risk With His Hip, Says Medical Expert

Leading hip surgeon Winston Kim says tennis star Andy Murray took a major risk by undergoing a hip resurfacing procedure.

The former world number one struggled for fitness over an 18-month period, before being diagnosed with the early onset of arthritis in his right hip.

An emotional Murray appeared ready to quit the sport ahead of the Australian Open, but he has battled back after surgery to win the doubles title alongside Feliciano Lopez at the Queen’s Club Championships.

Kim, a hip surgeon from Manchester Hip & Knee Clinic, believes Murray took a major gamble by going under the knife, although he admits it will have been a very carefully considered decision.

“He will have had an awareness of the intended benefits of resurfacing,” he told Betway Tennis. “If it fails, the next option would be a hip replacement.

“I’m sure he didn’t take the decision lightly – the vast majority of hip surgeons would be nervous about performing a hip resurfacing because of the potential risks, particularly in such a young, elite athlete.”

Hip resurfacing involves the implantation of a metal cap onto the ball of the hip joint and a metal socket into the ‘cup’ of the hip joint.

The risks of the procedure cause plenty of debate in medical circles, with research showing that high blood metal ion levels can result in osteolysis, the destruction of tissues around the joint.

“He wants to be able to play again, so he’s doing something relatively risky,” added Kim. “The average age for resurfacing is in the early 50s, so a 32-year-old elite athlete wanting to return to playing tennis at the highest level within four months is in unchartered territory.

“Research says that 90 percent of runners in their early 50s who undergo hip resurfacing are able to return to running. That’s just runners, and I’m not even giving you a timeframe, and it’s still just a 90 percent return.

“There’s a difference between being able to run and being able to play tennis at the highest level play with abandon.”

Despite Kim’s concerns, the three-time Grand Slam winner played impressively at Queen’s and he is eager to make an impression at Wimbledon when he partners Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the men’s doubles.

He has admitted it is a relief to be playing tennis again without any pain in his hip and Kim says it is pleasing to hear that Murray’s surgery gamble appears to have paid off.

“He was struggling to do even basic things,” Kim said. “Those things included sitting at the dinner table, playing with his kids, and putting on his socks.

“It sounds like it’s been a great success in terms of addressing the pain. It was obviously a quality-of-life decision.”

Wimbledon 2019: The Five Things We Would Love To See Happen

With Wimbledon underway, tennis fans will be eagerly anticipating the outcome of the most prestigious tournament on the calendar. The All England Club will once again play host to the third tennis major of 2019, where a whole host of players will all ensue in battle to try and take the coveted prize. The thing with Wimbledon, is that it tends to be the same old drill every year.

That’s not to say the tournament isn’t exciting, but wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air with a bit more controversy and some stand-out talking points. Throughout its glorious history, Wimbledon has served up some of the most magical and iconic moments – but we would love to see the below happen this year. FYI, this is nothing more than light-hearted fun, so please take it with a pinch of salt… or a dollop of strawberries and cream!

John McEnroe to launch an unnecessary tirade at anyone

John McEnroe was perhaps more notorious for his foul-mouthed tirades than his superb tennis ability, and the current BBC commentator could cause quite the stir again this year. How I can hear you ask? Well, imagine a bad call being made and McEnroe revisits yesteryear and storms out of the media section and squares up to the umpire. I mean, it will have nothing to do with him but the humour factor would be brilliant.

Tim Henman make a comeback and wins a semi-final game

Ah, Tiger Tim. The nearly man who never quite made it in his heyday during the late 1990s and early noughties. Henman’s efforts were never in doubt, although he never made it to a Grand Slam final so wouldn’t it be a remedy of sorts if he hijacked the men’s semi-finals and took the match point to warrant a place in the final! Come on Tiger Tim, you can do it! Imagine the scenes!

Andy Murray branches out from his monotone voice

He won’t be featuring in the men’s singles this year, but Andy Murray will be flying the flag for Britain in the men’s doubles at least. The two-time winner is likely to retire after the tournament, which means we’ll be missing Murray’s lethargic and tiring post-match interviews. The seemingly unenthusiastic Murray has often been criticised for his monotone voice, so wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air if he delivered his thoughts and feelings in a much more positive fashion. Sign off on a high note, eh Mr Murray.

Nick Kyrgios being nice to umpires

He is one of the most controversial players to grace the game and certainly someone who is no stranger to trouble, so imagine a certain Nick Kyrgios actually being nice to people, namely umpires. The hot-headed Australian has been the centre of many misconduct charges in recent years and his charge sheet shows no signs of slowing, so wouldn’t it be a welcome relief to see him actually be pleasant to everybody, for a change.
Federer, Nadal and Djokovic having a big fight

Okay, so this would be a rather peculiar sequence of events and one that would really tarnish the game, but what if the three best players on the men’s circuit all had a huge scrape in the middle of Centre Court? The reasoning behind it is unclear at this stage, but we’d guestimate that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would all be trying to settle who is the best of the best. I mean, we could just determine it from the tennis the play and the H2H records but that’s just boring, isn’t it.

All jokes aside, take a look at all the latest prices for this year’s event at Paddy Power, where you can bet on Wimbledon right now.

New Fed Cup To Kick Off In Budapest

The ITF announced a new ‘World Cup of Tennis’ format for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, including the launch of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in Budapest, Hungary on 14-19 April 2020. The Finals will be staged at the Laszlo Papp Budapest Sports Arena on clay on two match courts for three years, 2020-22.

The bold new format will see an increase from eight to 20 nations competing each year to become world champions, with 12 nations qualifying for the Fed Cup Finals where they will compete for a total prize fund of $18 million, with $12 million going to players and $6 million to National Associations.
Sixteen nations will compete in the 2020 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Qualifiers on 7-8 February on a home-and-away basis over five matches to earn one of eight places in the Finals, where they will join the previous year’s finalists, Australia and France, host nation Hungary and one wild card nation to be confirmed.

The following 16 nations are currently set to contest the 2020 Fed Cup Qualifiers based on their performances in the 2019 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas: Belarus, Belgium, Brazil (*), Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Kazakhstan (*), Latvia, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, USA.
(*) two highest ranked losing nations in 2019 World Group II Play-offs.

The Finals will feature a round-robin format with four groups of three teams, followed by knock-out semi-finals and final. The top two nations will be guaranteed a place in the following year’s Finals, while the nations finishing 3rd-10th will contest the following year’s Qualifiers. All matches will consist of two singles and one doubles.

The new format was approved by the ITF Board following an extensive review and consultation process with National Associations, Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and WTA Player Council. The format respects the existing women’s tennis calendar by reducing Fed Cup to two weeks of competition in existing Fed Cup weeks, and supporting player health through the extension of the off season by moving the Finals from November to April.

There will be no change to the format of the regional group events, which will continue to consist of week-long round-robin tournaments. With the expansion of the elite level of the competition, the number of nations qualifying from the regional Group I events for the Fed Cup Play-offs has doubled from four to eight. These nations will face the eight losing nations from the Fed Cup Qualifiers to earn a place in the following year’s Qualifiers.

Balazs Furjes, Hungarian Secretary of State of Budapest’s Development and International Sports Events, said: “The announcement of Budapest as host for the new Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals is the jewel in the crown of the city’s global tennis ambitions and underlines our status as one of the prime global capitals of sport.”

Hungarian Tennis Association (HTA) President, Lajos Szucs, said: “Hungarian tennis has a proud history of hosting men’s and women’s tour events and more than 100 ITF tournaments, and we are delighted to welcome the world to witness the best in women’s tennis next year. The Finals will provide the ideal platform to showcase Hungarian tennis – and, of course, the beautiful city of Budapest.”

ITF President, David Haggerty, said: “The launch of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals will create a festival of tennis that elevates this flagship women’s team competition to a new level, yet remains loyal to the historic core of the Fed Cup. We have consulted and listened to stakeholders and worked with the WTA and its Player Council to make sure the new format represents the interests of the players. We pledged to our National Associations during the 2018 AGM that we would introduce reforms that will grow the competition’s global audience and enable greater investment into the future of the sport. We believe this bold new Fed Cup format delivers this pledge.”

Billie Jean King, recently announced as Global Ambassador for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, said; “Fed Cup has evolved since I was part of the first winning team in 1963 but it has always remained true to its roots. These reforms are historic as they reflect the ITF’s commitment to unlocking the Fed Cup’s huge potential, hosting a competition with prize money deserving of the world’s best women’s tennis teams and players. It is an honour to be part of the next evolution of the greatest event in women’s team tennis.”

The increased prize money for Fed Cup by BNP Paribas starting in 2020 will include an additional $4.9 million for nations competing below the elite level of the competition.

These reforms will help the ITF in its mission to deliver tennis for future generations by ensuring the long-term growth and sustainability of the sport.