WISHING everyone a cheeky Merry Christmas from the Manly Lawn Tennis Club, where an invitation has gone out to one Nick Kyrgios to play an event he bombed in back when he was a teenage nobody.
Nobody? Well, cheeky perhaps, as Kyrgios was an up-and-coming 15-year-old at the time and played the event at Sydney club.
The Manly Seaside Championship on Sydney’s northern beaches, we are told has a 90-year history – and has previously hosted so me Aussie greats: Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad and Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
Kyrgios, who took part back in 2010 – and bombed out in the quarters – won’t be returning, but the cheeky invitation has given the event renewed profile.
“What better way to do that than to play at the Seaside and work his way back into it at a laidback but competitive tournament played at a great time of the year,” a club official told local media.
“We are situated a lob shot away from the beach and there are plenty of good restaurants, shops and bars to keep him entertained when the tennis is done.”
The biggest problem here though is this event offers no payday for Nick as a recent lucrative appearance in the Middle East has shown that to be high on his agenda.
AND Christmas came early last week for Venus Williams, who accepted a wildcard invitation to the Australian Open.
It will see Williams’s 22nd appearance at Melbourne Park, where she made her Australian Open debut 25 years ago.
The elder Williams sister has won 49 titles in her career, including Wimbledon five times and the US Open twice.
BORIS Becker has claimed he was a ‘nobody’ in prison in the UK, where he served eight months of a 30-month sentence for bankruptcy fraud.
Really, Boris? Yet you said last week in an interview you were threatened by inmates and had to have a single cell.
Becker, 55, said he prayed daily and was given three experienced inmates, ‘lags’ in British prison parlance, to help him get used to life behind bars.
Just before his release though, fellow prisoners organised a cake for his birthday.
Once wonders if it has the obligatory file inside – used to saw away at those bars for an attempted escape in many a Hollywood movie.
Becker also claimed that Liverpool football, coach Jürgen Klopp a fellow German, was prevented from visiting him because of safety concerns.
“We are good friends and I gave his name to the authorities but then they came back and said that he couldn’t come as he was too famous,” Becker told Sat TV during an interview in Munich last week.
But don’t have too much sympathy for Becker – he received over half a million dollars for the interview.
AFTER spending the last few weeks training with coach Ivan Lendl in Florida, Andy Murray believes he is now fit enough to compete at elite level again.
Melbourne in a few weeks time will of course be the barometer of that statement.
With Roger Federer already retired and Rafa Nadal hinting he is almost done, how long can Murray continue?
“If my body is in good shape and I’m still able to compete consistently, I’ll keep playing,” Murray said.
“But I can’t look so far in advance with the age I’m at and with the issues I’ve had. If I was to have a big injury, I probably wouldn’t try to come back from that.”
Amazingly, Murray is still ranked in the top 50, albeit at No.49.
“I spent three weeks in Florida, getting my body right and getting some work done on my game and it went really well,” Murray added.
“I’m certainly in better shape than I was. A lot of work was done in the gym, trying to build up my endurance and my stamina a bit and I’m hoping that’s going to help me next year.”
RAFA Nadal joked it was something he would have to work on after receiving ‘Best Dad’ award by Spanish newspaper Marco recently.
Nadal and his wife Maria became parents to Rafael Jr. on October 8.
“For the moment I will have to work on this,” Nadal joked, but there is no joking when it comes to preparing for the 2023 season.
Nadal arrived in Australia on December 3, took a week off to relax, and has been preparing for the new season since.
Earlier this week the Spaniard announced the addition of Argentine Gustavo Marcaccio to his staff, after the departure of veteran coach Francis Roig.
“I turned to Gustavo because Francis decided to take different path,” Nadal said.
Nadal will open his season in Sydney starting tomorrow at the United Cup.
ABERDEEN, it seems, is not best place in the world to watch tennis.
The oil capital of Britain, on Scotland’s north east coast, hosted the Battle of Brits tournament last week, with Andy Murray making a rare appearance in his native country.
But fans ended up watching the match at home on TV because the seats they bought gave no view of the court.
A section of fans who purchased ‘higher value’ court side tickets were left frustrated because of restricted views.
The seats were not banked, leaving fans with a view of the back of a person’s head.
When they asked the ticket office to be moved they were told there was nothing that could be done.
“I was in Row B, in line with the baseline,” Willie Inglis, told the Press and Journal newspaper.
“I couldn’t see the server because of the people in front.
“All I got was the ball toss and the sound of the racquet on ball. When I turned to see the return, all I got was a different person’s head. Pointless.”
The tickets cost over $125 apiece and another fan, Clare Smith, left to watch the match on TV.
“I realised there was no point in staying,” she said.
I’d like a refund as that was an unacceptable fan experience.”
AMERICAN Taylor Fritz is worried the upcoming new Netflix series Break Point will use artistic licence to create fake rivalries, as it did for its recent F1 series.
“I don’t know if I want to watch it,” Fritz said.
“I’m scared. I’m scared of how things can be cut up. Especially because I haven’t tried to filter myself at all. Yeah, I’ve tried to just be very, very genuine. But they can cut things however they want to cut things.
“They could cut it up to make Nick (Kyrgios) look such an amazing guy. And then they could also cut it up to make him look like the villain, which I feel like they might do just because that’s how a lot of people in tennis see him – even though I think he’s great for the sport.”
F1 world champion Max Verstappen had the same concerns about Drive To Survive and pulled back from giving the series any interviews.
The show launches on January 13.
AND finally …
It’s that time of year when we check out who has made the most money from their endeavours during the year.
No surprises perhaps as Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams occupy the top two spots in the 2022 list of the highest-paid female athletes.
Osaka earned $51 million in 2022, but most came from off court activities, due to a series of injuries.
Williams, who retired after the US Open, still took out second spot, through her own business, Serena Ventures, contributing to her earnings of $41.3 million.
Freestyle skier Eileen Gu came in at No. 3 with 2021 US Open winner Emma Raducanu and World No. 1 Iga Swiatek at No. 4 and No. 5 respectively.
Osaka and Aussie Nick Kyrgios are the recent to invest in tennis spinoff pickleball.