Category: Tennis

Adidas Launches Escouade Collection

Clay season just got brighter.
Adidas is bringing the blues to red clay.

The triple-stripe brand unveiled its latest collection of high-performance apparel for the spring clay-court season—the new Escouade collection—for men and women.

More: Kuznetsova Prevails in Comeback Win

The range, which features bold designs and contrast color blocking, will be launched with the start of the outdoor clay-season and Roland Garros.

Dominic Thiem

Caroline Wozniacki



The collection will be worn on court by adidas endorsers including Alexander ZverevStefanos Tsitsipas, Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza, Dominic Thiem and Caroline Wozniacki.

The Escouade Collection has been designed to make a statement on the European clay courts with bold graphics and two distinct colorways: a light blue, black and white colour story for Roland Garros, and vibrant red, light grey and dark purple for spring Masters events.

Available for men and women, this lightweight apparel range incorporates mesh layering and micro perforated fabrics for additional breathability and adidas’ industry leading performance technologies – including Climalite and Climacool to keep athletes cool and dry while on court.

Photo credit: adidas

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Wild Child Olympia Williams Stars in Pampers Ad

The daughter of Serena is a pretty big star in her own right.

Olympia Williams has hit the big time. Well, to be fair, she hit the big time the moment she was born—she is the daughter of 23-time major singles champion Serena Williams after all (and she does have 559k Instagram followers)…

More: Naomi Osaka Inks Apparel Deal with Nike

But this week Olympia starred in her first TV spot for Pampers. The “wild child” is featured with Serena in a spot for the diaper company.

“I would say to parents of a wild child—instead of worrying, embrace it and make the most of it,” says Williams in the advert.

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“Our newest member to the Pampers family, tennis legend, entrepreneur and super-mom Serena Williams shares what life is like as the parent of a wild child,” says Pampers. “Together, we’re encouraging parents to support their active, spirited, curious babies with the help of our Cruisers 360 FIT diapers – designed to keep up with every wild move a baby makes.”

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Kuznetsova Sets Return for Next Week’s Samsung Open in Lugano, Switzerland

The Russian has not played since last September.Svetlana Kuznetsova will make her return to the WTA Tour next week in Switzerland.

The 33-year-old Russian made a comeback from a wrist injury in 2018 (starting her season at Indian Wells) and won the title at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. in August. But Kuznetsova pulled the plug on her season in September after just five more matches.

This winter Kuznetsova announced that she’d be missing the beginning of the season to continue rehabbing.

“In order to get ahead of all the rumors, I want to answer the question that worries the media and my fans. With great regret, I have to inform you that I don’t have time to recover by the beginning of the next game season. We made a difficult decision together with my team and doctors: we will give my body to recover from injuries and then begin intensive training. In the next few days I’ll undergo intensive therapy and try to keep my body in good shape.”

Tennis Express

Kuznetsova owns 642 career wins and 18 titles. The two-time champion is a former World No.2 has reached the quarter-finals or better at 16 majors and won 152 major singles matches.

Last year she hinted that the end of her career may be coming sooner than some think. Kuznetsova underwent surgery to her left wrist in 2017.

"Of course I'm thinking about my future,” Kuznetsova told the Russian website RT last April. I'm 32 now and I can play for two or three more seasons, but anyway later I will have to find new goals and priorities in my life. Without hesitation I would definitely change my tennis trophies for a happy family life," she said.

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Isner Believes He Has Stress Fracture, but Awaits Further Tests on Injured Foot

The American could miss more than a month, depending on what further tests reveal.
John Isner‘s camp is hinting that the big man may indeed have suffered a stress fracture in his left foot during his final with Roger Federer at the Miami Open.

Christopher Clarey of the New York Times reports that Isner is awaiting further test results for clarity, but at the moment they do believe he is dealing with a stress fracture that could potentially keep him out for much of the clay season.

“Somewhere along in the first set I started feeling some pain on the top of my foot, and it didn't go away,” Isner told reporters after he fell to Federer 6-1 6-4 and had his Miami Open winning streak stopped at 11 matches. “It only kept getting worse.”

Isner had the injury looked at during a medical timeout in Sunday’s final. He continued to play but was visibly hobbled by the end of the contest.

Tennis Express

“It's a terrible feeling, because you're on an island out there, and, you know, you have no teammates to hide behind and going up against the greatest player ever, you know, playing in this incredible atmosphere, and my foot's killing me.”

Isner told reporters that he had never felt an injury like this before: “I have never had anything like this before, ever. I mean, I have had a few injuries in my career. I have been very fortunate. I have stayed healthy throughout my career. Something happened today. It wasn't like a certain point, either. I just all of a study started feeling something, and it just kept getting a little worse, getting worse and worse as the match went on.”

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Shapovalov on Bittersweetness of Beating Tiafoe

The pair of NextGen ATP starts have developed a solid friendship.

Next Gen ATP stars Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe are developing quite a rivalry on the court. But off the court it’s a much different story. There is a great deal of support between the two players, as they’ve developed a great relationship over the years.

That’s what made Shapovalov’s 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 victory over the American a bit bittersweet when it was all said and done on Thursday in Miami.

Tennis Express

“I think we're definitely pretty close,” Shapovalov said of Tiafoe. “It kind of developed throughout the years on tour. Honestly, in juniors, we kind of knew of each other, but he was really good at a young age and I was just starting up. Obviously I saw him around, but we didn't hang around too much.

“Then once we started playing pros, we played Laver Cup together, all this, and we just started getting closer and closer, and obviously we have practiced together a bunch of times. We've played each other a bunch of times. It feels like every time we play we kind of bring out the best in each other. It's always an honor to be on the court with him.”

Shapovalov, who advanced to his third career Masters 1000 semi-final and will face Roger Federer on Friday, says that he is always wishing the best for Tiafoe—unless of course the pair collide in the draw like the did tonight and on two occasions in 2018.

“I think it's tough in the sense that I wish the best for him, and I love seeing him go deep in tournaments and doing as good as possible. But, you know, when you're on the other side, like, for example today when you win, obviously you feel great, but part of me does also feel kind of bad, you know, just in the sense that he couldn't go on in the tournament. I know he deserves it as much as I do. He works so hard. He's such a great person.”

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Kvitova’s Attacker Gets Eight Years in Prison

Kvitova's testimony was key to the prosecution. The man who stabbed Petra Kvitova in a botched burglary in 2016 has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

33-year-old Radim Zondra was convicted by a regional court in Brno, Czech Republic, of causing Kvitova serious bodily harm.

Kvitova, who testified against Zondra in February via video feed to avoid facing the subject, was informed about the sentence, and her spokesman Karel Tejkal said she "respects the ruling of an independent court."

"She's satisfied with the verdict because she identified the convicted person as the attacker," Tejkal said, according to the Associated Press.

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Kvitova’s testimony was key to the prosecution.

Kvitova said the suspect, who entered her apartment after claiming to be there to inspect the boiler, grabbed her from behind and put a knife to her throat. When she grabbed the knife with both hands, the left hand was injured.

Kvitova, who suffered severe lacerations to the digits of her left hand and needed career-saving surgery to repair damaged tendons and nerves in the hand, says that she found herself lying on the floor with blood everywhere, as she screamed. She later offered the man money and he took the equivalent of $440 and left.

Zondra can appeal and so can the prosecution. He is currently in jail for another crime.

Kvitova returned to the game in May of 2017 and since then has climbed back to the top of tennis, becoming a true inspirational figure of the sport. She won five titles last season and began 2019 by reaching the final of the Australian Open after claiming the Sydney title.

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Reunited: Johansson Talks about the Future of David Goffin

The Swede is working with David Goffin for the second time and hopes to get his charge on track. Former Australian Open champion and World No.7 Thomas Johansson is ready to hit the ground running with David Goffin. The pair began working together about three weeks ago after the Belgian split with longtime coach Theirry Van Cleemput in Australian and Johannson and his former charge Filip Krajinovic parted ways.

The Swede has history with Goffin as he was a part of the Belgian’s team in an advisory role in 2016. As World No.20  Goffin looks to get his season on track in Miami ahead of a round of 16 clash with American Frances Tiafoe, Johansson, who know is the head coach, knows the pair will have their work cut out for them with all the young guns in the game rising and becoming a part of the conversation.

“I think this time is more challenging because I think the depth in tennis now is amazing, Johansson said. “Now is the first time ever that the youngsters are coming up and actually challenging the big guns. The mental part of the game in today’s tennis is that the youngsters are coming up. As you get older you are more aware of the risks, you are more aware of the dangers on the court. These youngsters, they are coming out firing left and right.”

Tennis Express

Goffin has had his share of injuries over the years, including a badly sprained ankle, an eyed injury and some arm problems, but he’s in better health now and ready to make improvements.

“He has been very unlucky with injuries,” Johansson said. “The good thing now is that he’s healthy, he’s hungry, he wants to work hard. He knows what he’s capable of. Now he just needs a couple of months with no injuries and hopefully some good results.”

Johansson wants his charge to think aggressively and to beat his opponents to the punch.

“With David we are trying to make him play a more offensive game, to not be afraid to come into the net, to take a little bit more risk sometimes, because if you go up sometimes against Novak, Rafa or even a guy like Tsitsipas, you have to try to play smart against them. It’s very tough to beat them from the baseline, so when the opportunity comes you have to strike.”

But he also knows that Goffin’s break and butter is quickness, defense and counterpunching. Not blessed with great size or power, Goffin relies on an ability to use the whole court and an ability to use his speed and finesse to create problems for his opponents.

“David is not a player that is basing his game on power. His game is based on being quick on the court, changing directions really fast. And the same with his serve, he doesn’t have a serve like [bigger players] but he serves tactically very good,” he said. “You have to be smart on the court and you have to know what kind of battles you have to fight against them, and sometimes it’s not about the power it’s more about changing directions really fast or cutting corners on the court—that’s what David is one of the best guys in the world at.”

Despite a 4-6 start to 2019, both Johansson and Goffin believe that a big win can change the complexion of a season. Perhaps that time is coming here in Miami.

“We try to work on a couple of things that I think is a key in his game. Maybe he hasn’t had the start of the year that he would have liked, but we try to work smart, we try to work on a couple of things. … a big win and things can change.”

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Spain’s Jaume Munar Has Mad Respect for Idols Ferrer, Nadal

The 21-year-old has two of the best role models one could ever hope for on his side.
21-year-old Spaniard picked up his first Masters 1000 win this week in Miami, before falling to 6th-seeded Kevin Anderson in three sets on Saturday. After his first-round victory over Prajnesh Gunneswaran the rising star talked to ATP Tennis Radiso’s Seb Lauzier about his relationship with two of Spain’s greatest legends, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer.

Munar, who hails from Mallorca and trains at Rafael Nadal’s Academy on the island, says he has forged a great relationship with the king of clay over the years.

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“At the beginning he was my, maybe, work partner, or something like this,” said Munar. “Right now he’s a friend for me. We are sharing a lot of moments on court and of court. I know him a lot right now and he’s special. I think he can teach me everything I’m going to see during the years on the tour. I think he’s trying to do this because he wants me to be the best player I can be, and also I have one of the best friends of Rafa in my team—the relationships is getting closer and I’m really happy with this.”

Munar also professed his deep respect for Ferrer, saying that he admires what the indefatigable baseliner has done over the course of his career.

“David is amazing for me, I’m in love with this guy,” Munar said. “I always say that David is my idol. I think he’s a person who is a “ten” in life and also he’s this way on the tennis court. I have very much respect for him and I think and I hope he will a wonderful career outside of tennis and a wonderful life. Something is going to change for him in the next months but I’m pretty sure that the person he is and he has been during the whole of these years on tour he will be for all his life.”

Munar has enjoyed quite a bit of success in 2019, his first full year on the ATP Tour. He entered this week with a career-high ranking of 61 and a record of 9-7 (now 10-8). He has already reached four quarter-finals this season, including three in a row during the Golden Swing in South America.

He’d like to continue his momentum rankings-wise, but is more focused on working hard and growing his game.

“It’s difficult in the situation I am right now to say numbers, but I am feeling like I am growing,” he said. “I am growing as a player, I really feel like I can do it right now. I have been working so hard for this and this is the important part right now. You have to remain clear and I think I am. I know that I will have my chances for the year. I started with the South American swing and I did well there. Just keep growing… maybe to say a number inside the Top 40 but I don’t like the numbers.”

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Kyrgios on Big Three: I Don’t Think They Are Gods to the Sport

The Aussie breaks down the weaknesses of Federer, Djokovic and NadalIn an exclusive interview with Mike Dickson of the Daily Mail, Nick Kyrgios enumerated what he feels are the weaknesses in tennis’ holy trinity a.k.a Big Three.

Read the Full Exclusive in Daily Mail Here

'They don't do anything spectacularly well,” Kyrgios explains, before taking a quick crack at explaining how he has gone about solving the relatively unsolvable games of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in recent years.

“Obviously Federer is unbelievably talented and the greatest of all time, but he gets tired in tight situations," Kyrgios says. "Djokovic struggles with short balls, he doesn't like to come forward. Second serve can get a bit shaky. Rafa loves to be defensive so you can really push through his forehand and expose how far back he stands. So they do have weaknesses and if you play the right way and execute it right under pressure then they can be beaten."

Kyrgios may not have figured out how to play at a consistently high level week in and week out on the tour, but he has done a great job against the biggest names in the sport.

"You just have to play the right way and for the stars to align," he said. "Of course they are a level above all of us, but they are definitely beatable, I don't think like they are Gods to the sport.”

Kyrgios is one guy that deserves to have a say. He owns a 6-6 lifetime record against the trio (3-3 v Nadal, 2-0 v Djokovic and 1-3 v Federer) and recently stunned Nadal in a tremendously entertaining three-setter en route to winning the title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

Tennis Express

It’s well known that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have some players beaten before they even leave the locker room, but Kyrgios isn’t about to dole out too much respect to players that he feels get preferential treatment from the tour as it is.

“I don't know how much respect the others show them but I'm not going to really respect someone just because they can hit a ball over the net, that's not enough for me to give them respect,” Kyrgios told Dickson. “Why would I give them an inch? They've already got the advantage with always playing on the best courts in the best conditions, all that sort of stuff, so I don't know why you would give them inches.”

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Wozniacki Finally Healthy and Rounding into Form at Miami

The Dane has been struggling to get healthy for a month, but looked good in her win on Friday at Miami.

One of Caroline Wozniacki‘s greatest seasons ended with what may prove to be her greatest challenge as a player in 2018. The Dane won her first major and reclaimed the WTA’s No.1 ranking last year, but by the end of the season her career was in jeopardy as she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

Wozniacki has been positive about things, but admittedly was in a state of shock when she got the news. “In the beginning, it was a shock,” Wozniacki said last year at Singapore. “Just, you feel like you’re the fittest athlete out there—or that’s in my head, that’s what I’m known for—and all of a sudden you have this to work with.”

But rather than dwell on the difficulties Wozniackimuch in the same fashion that Venus Williams has become a poster woman for what is possible for people with Sjogren's syndromehas set her sights on being an inspiration for those afflicted with the autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain and affect mobility.

Wozniacki found out the news officially after last year’s U.S. Open and since then has played a relatively full schedule. But this winter she fell ill and had not played since the Australian Open, where she lost in the third round to Maria Sharapova, when she arrived at Indian Wells. She lost in California in her first match to Ekaterina Alexandrova but in Miami she got off on the right foot with a 6-4 6-4 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Friday.

“I feel like it's definitely not been the greatest start to the year health-wise for me,” Wozniacki told reporters. “I'm just really thankful I can be out there and play and compete. All I can do right now is just try and get the matches under my belt, try to play better.

Wozniacki will next face Monica Niculescu of Romania in third-round action. She feels like she’s making progress with her game and hopes to take advantage of a favorable draw—Niculescu stunned Spain’s Garbiñe Muguruza on Friday and Wozniacki owns a 9-0 record against her.

“Finally the last week or so, I really feel like I'm starting to hit the ball well in practice,” Wozniacki said. “Hopefully that's going to transfer into a match and it's just going to get better.”

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The Dane has had a rough go of it lately, but she’s eager to keep battling.

“It's hard when you're in bed most of the time through Doha, Dubai,” she said. “I expect a lot out of myself. Going to play Indian Wells and basically not having practiced for a month, I still wanted to play well. I thought I played pretty decent compared to how much I'd been able to practice. I was proud of my fight.

“I just have to keep putting myself out there and I have to keep just doing my best. That's really all I can ask of myself right now. Hopefully tomorrow is going to be better. That's all I can do.

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The Art of Successful Stick Switch

A familiar face has inspired Karen Khachanov's surge.
A familiar face has helped Karen Khachanov regain a winning state of mind.

Khachanov, who arrived in Indian Wells mired in a three-match losing streak, switched back to his Wilson Blade racquet and has reaped the rewards.

More: Federer Charges Into IW Semifinals

The 13th-ranked Russian, who announced he signed with Head in January, extended his Masters winning streak to nine matches surging into the Indian Wells quarterfinals against Rafael Nadal.

Interestingly, Khachanov was a member of Team Head until 2015 before bouncing to Wilson. 

These days, some racquet changes are cosmetic though changing brands can create cracked confidence even in elite players.

Karen Khachanov

Rod Laver, the only player in history to win the Grand Slam twice, briefly switched from Dunlop to Spalding but could not find the feel and went back to Dunlop. 

Roger Federer's switch from a 90-square inch Wilson Pro Staff to a more powerful 97-square inch sized version of the frame back in 2014 was a game-changer that gave him easier access to power on his backhand and serve.

Asked about Khachanov's racquet change today, Federer said trust is the quality he values most in his frame.

"It's the extension of the arm, essentially, and your hand," Federer said. "So from that standpoint the question is you always have to ask yourself, is your racquet and your mind going to be aligned at 5-All in the third set at 30-All?

"Can you hit it into the corner? Some days you just can't. That's nothing to do with the racquet. But that's why racquet changes need to be taken very seriously and at the right time of the year and with the right mindset, a positive one, not one in frustration."

Federer said he advocates experimenting with racquet and string technolog in the offseason, but cautions making the change can be a tricky process.

"(Khachanov) did it in a position of strength after a good season. Breakthrough season, essentially," Federer said. "But it's definitely not easy, you know. I never heard anybody say, This was, like, such a simple move for me. It just takes time, you know. I think it seems like he's back to his old racquet again.

"But I think it's good to test racquets, test frames, test new technology, because all of a sudden you realize that something is working better for you. Same with strings, for that matter. There is so much out there in the market that I have always been curious to find out what's out there, because maybe you find some that's better."

Photo credit: BNP Paribas Masters

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Raonic and Santoro: Opposites Attract

The Canadian is already benefitting from the presence of the Magician in his box.

At first glance Milos Raonic and Fabrice Santoro might seem like an unlikely player-coach tandem, but a look deeper below the surface, coupled with a very successful tournament together, shows that there may be more to the pairing than meets the eye.

After his 6-3 6-4 victory over Miomir Kecmanovic, Raonic talked more about some of the positive impact that the talented Frenchman has been having.

It starts with respect.

“You can see how effortlessly he can do a lot of things, a lot of things that sort of surprise you,” Raonic told reporters. “You know, he can't blow you off the court, but he can make you feel pretty bad out there with the different rotations of spin.”

Raonic says that the relationship has instantly flown off on the right foot due to the fact that both players share a love of advance scouting and a love for breaking down tape.

“I think the most important thing where we really struck a note was that we are both very meticulous about how we go about things,” the No.13 seeded 28-year-old said. “We spent a lot of time throughout this week, together and apart, watching matches over and every again, my matches, other matches, the guys I'm playing. Something I have always been very keen on, and he approaches it the same way. I think that kind of attention to detail can only be a good thing.”

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Raonic said that one of the things he has begun to work on with Santoro is finding ways to lure top players off the baseline. He was asked about using his backhand slice in rallies on Thursday and said that it has been a point of focus from Santoro.

“Everybody moves extremely well laterally,” he said. “Sometimes you can try to get glimpses of better looks by trying to bring them in a bit more. And I think that's what I was trying to do and something I'm trying to incorporate more and more into my game. Fabrice has put quite a bit of attention on it. Sometimes I do it too much, but it's a good option to have, to incorporate.”

Raonic has reached at least the semi-finals at Indian Wells in each of his last four appearances. He owns a 19-4 record in his last five appearances and will face either Dominic Thiem or Gael Monfils in Saturday’s semis.

“Gaël, he's been playing well over the last couple of weeks,” Raonic said. “It's tough with him. You never really know what you're going to get. It's important to focus on yourself and make sure you take care of your things and try to execute them well.

“With Dominic, you know, you can't give him too much time. He can do a lot of good things, get ahead in the point, and start to run you around a lot if he has time to get into a point and work it.

“Both of them, it's going to be important that I'm very strict with myself and on top of it from the first shot.”

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