IT’S been coming for a while but American men’s tennis is witnessing a resurgence.
Three young Americans in a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time since 2005.
Add in world No. 9 Taylor Fritz and 17th-ranked Frances Tiafoe and you can see there is much to be pleased about with US tennis.
And interestingly we hear the group have been feeding off each other, as part of a ‘team’, even though men’s singles, by its name, is not a team sport.
Ben Shelton, JJ Wolf, Sebastian Korda and Tommy Paul have grabbed the spotlight this past fortnight.
Shelton, hadn’t even left the USA before this tournament had begun.
Given that less than 20% of Americans traveled outside their own country in 2019, it is perhaps understandable, but to be a success in world tennis travel for about 10 months of the year is a pre-requisite.
And this latest crop of young Americans have certainly done that.
The last time three American men reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal was the 2005 US Open, Andre Agassi, James Blake and Robby Ginepri.
And the last time in Melbourne? Answer: 2000 – Agassi, Pete Sampras and Chris Woodruff.
No American man has won a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick in 2003.
But there are currently nine Americans in the top 50 today – plus Shelton and Wolf.
And the majority are under 25. Jenson Brooksby, Reilly Opelka and Maxime Cressy are just three.
NOVAK Djokovic reportedly flew in famous sports doctor Marijana Kovacevic last week at Australian Open to help the Serb deal with his troublesome hamstring.
Kovacevic has worked with a number of football superstars in the past, most notably Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.
She is famous for massaging injured players using fluids derived from horse placenta.
TALK about overkill … Victoria Azarenka was ordered to remove a Paris St Germain soccer shirt she was wearing before her semi-final loss at the Australian Open on Thursday night because it violated Open rules surrounding displaying sponsor logos.
Azarenka walked onto Rod Laver Arena wearing the jersey but was told by umpire Alison Hughes to remove it.
The 33-year-old had worn the shirt onto court before several of her matches at Melbourne Park, explaining she wears it because it’s the club her son Leo supports and wants to play for one day.
Azarenka had also worn the jersey during press conferences, but the umpire told her to remove it and warm up in the outfit she was going to play in.
“I think it’s the issue with the sponsorships,” Azarenka said.
“I guess the logos are too big … I know that I’m not allowed to play in that. I knew those type of things.
“But I can still step on the court in what I want to step on the court. I do it for my own reasons.
“My son wore the white jersey today to his practice, and I tried to wear a white jersey to my match but couldn’t. So that’s OK.
WITH the Netflix series Breaking Point currently airing footage of Matteo Berrettini with one time love Ajla Tomljanovic, news has broken in Italy that Berrettini has a new girlfriend.
The 2021 Wimbledon finalist has reportedly been spotted with a 36-year-old Italian model, Melissa Satta.
Satta, who was married to footballer Kevin Prince Boateng and recently split from Italian entrepreneur Mattia Rivetti, now hosts a television show.
NOVAK Djokovic can perhaps quite rightly complain that some fans disagree with him being allowed to play at the Australian Open, despite receiving a three year ban for lying to immigration officials and trying to illegally enter the country in 2022.
But there is no excuse for the appalling behaviour of his father and other Serb supporters on Wednesday evening, wearing pro-Russia T-shirts and chanting support for a barbaric country that has illegally invaded another.
Djokovic insisted his father was “misused” by pro-Russia fans he posed with for photos at Melbourne Park. Really?
Srdjan Djokovic knew exactly what he was doing.
And Craig Tiley. Where do you stand?
Significantly quiet on this issue, hoping it will go away perhaps.
POLITICS poked its ugly nose into sport again in Melbourne during the week when the corrupt state of Azerbaijan called on the International Tennis Federati to sanction Karen Khachanov, who wrote messages of support for the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh after his wins.
Khachanov, a Russian who has Armenian roots, twice wrote “Artsakh stay strong!” on a camera lens following victories in Melbourne. Artsakh is the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The tennis player should be punished for the provocative actions and to keep such a situation from being allowed to repeat itself,” the Azerbaijani Tennis Federation said in a statement.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for decades with over 30,000 people killed in a war in the early 1990s.
A brief six-week war in 2020 saw thousands killed before Russia brokered a ceasefire.
“I have Armenian roots. From my father’s side, from my grandfather’s side, even from my mom’s side.
I’m half Armenian,” Khachanov explained to reporters.
“I just wanted to show strength and support to my people. That’s it.”
SO a Russian and a Belarusian made it to the women’s final.
A neutral final. Really?
Last summer’s Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina says she is from Kazakhstan. Bit she was born in Moscow and still lives there.
A flag of convenience? You bet.
- Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk was asked whether Wimbledon should continue to ban players from those countries. She believed they should.
Given the problems around so-called neutrality in Melbourne this last two weeks, SW19 is unlikely to drop their policy.
HEADLINE of the week….
PICTURE OF THE WEEK…
Whoever said the ballkids were being used and exploited, obviously didn’t speak to this lad, thoroughly enjoying his time at the Open. Barely tall enough to see over the net.
FINALLY … Quote of the week?
“Prickly Victoria Azarenka refuses to answer totally legit questions about Srdjan Djokovic’s actions, and scorns media for asking. Is this a #WTA board member and de facto immigrant to the US, or a Moscow-adjacent pawn?”
Respected journalist Pete Bodo discussing Victoria Azarenka’s apparent defence of the Djokovic family.