Maria Sharapova's Doping Ban from Tennis Reduced: Maria Sharapova will be eligible to return to competitive tennis in April after the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced her doping ban from two years to 15 months. Sharapova tested positive for the banned heart medication meldonium at this year's Australian Open. The court ruled Sharapova bore "some degree of fault" but "less than significant fault." She's now eligible to return a month ahead of the French Open in 2017.
Chris Christie: Hot Female Tennis Players Are Hot: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie commented on the attractiveness of women tennis players during a four-hour-long appearance on sports talk radio on Thursday. "We need [Maria] Sharapova. ... You need [Caroline] Wozniacki. ... I liked Martina."
Novak Djokovic Holds All 4 Grand Slam Trophies: In an achievement that isn't getting nearly enough press, Novak Djokovic won the French Open Sunday and became the first men's tennis player since Rod Laver in 1969 to be the champion of all four Grand Slam events at the same time. Djokovic, 29, was the crowd's favorite on Philippe Chatrier court Sunday, getting a lot of vocal support after dropping the first set to Andy Murray before winning 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Djokovic won the next three and followed past winner Gustavo Kuerten's tradition of drawing a heart on the clay. The slam achievement puts him in a three-member club with Laver and Don Budge.
Tennis Tourney Exec: Women Ride Men's Coattails, But They're Attractive: The finals of the BNP Paribas Open are today at Indian Wells. So what better time for Raymond Moore, the CEO of the tournament host, to say that the WTA women "ride on the coattails of the men. ... If I was a lady player, I'd go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport." He also said of the women's game, "They have a lot of very attractive players. ... They are physically attractive and competitively attractive."
Shelter Dogs Serve As 'Ball Boys' At Brazil Tennis Open: Dawwwwwww Now I wanna go home and play tennis with my Addie.
Tennis Authorities Warned About 73 Suspicious Matches Last Year: BuzzFeed News continues its series on possible match-fixing in tennis.
Lleyton Hewitt Ends Singles Career at Australian Open: Twenty years after his first appearance at the Australian Open, local hero Lleyton Hewitt has ended his singles career there following a second-round loss. Hewitt, 34, became the youngest male ever ranked No. 1 at age 20. He won the 2001 U.S. Open and 2002 Wimbledon singles titles and another 28 tournaments. In a nicely written remembrance, Russell Jackson of The Guardian notes that Hewitt finished at Rod Laver Arena and declares, "They’ll never need to scatter his ashes here -- he's spilled so much sweat on center court that his DNA will surely linger for eternity."
Tennis match fixing: Evidence of suspected match fixing revealed: Secret files exposing evidence of widespread suspected match fixing at the top level of world tennis, including at Wimbledon, can be revealed by the BBC and BuzzFeed News.
Tennis Player Throws Racquet, Hits Ball Boy: At the ASB Classic in New Zealand, women's player Jelena Ostapenko threw her racket and struck a ball boy, which her opponent Naomi Broady argued was deliberate and should have resulted in her disqualification. See the video on YouTube, along with discussion of similar incidents that did result in a DQ. In 1995, Tim Henmen was disqualified with his doubles partner at Wimbledon when he hit a ball in anger and it struck a ball girl in the ear.
Serena Williams and the Fear of a Dominant Black Woman: '.... it’s surprising that Williams’s story of picking up a tennis racquet in Compton and ending up the greatest women’s tennis player of all time hasn’t been turned into a homily on Americana. “If Serena were smaller, lighter, and less connected to her roots she would probably be more popular,” says Kendall. “But racism means that many Americans look at her refusal to be ashamed of coming from the inner city, her rejection of European beauty aesthetics, and her spectacular record and see a negro that doesn’t know her place.”'
Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition: "Williams said that one particular long-sleeved garment would help her go unnoticed in public. “My arms are really fit, but I wanted to cover them, because when I do people don’t recognize me as much,” she said. [......] “It’s our decision to keep her as the smallest player in the top 10,” said Tomasz Wiktorowski, the coach of Agnieszka Radwanska, who is listed at 5 feet 8 and 123 pounds. “Because, first of all she’s a woman, and she wants to be a woman.”
Wimbledon Finals: Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer, Serena Williams vs. Garbine Muguruza: The Finals have been set for Wimbledon in singles. For the women, No. 1 seed Serena Williams goes for a "Serena slam" and her sixth Wimbledon win on Saturday morning against No. 20 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain. This is the 21-year-old Muguruza's first finals appearance in a major. For the men, No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic meets No. 2 seed Roger Federer on Sunday. Djokovic is the defending champ and has two Wimbledon victories. Federer has a chance to win his eighth, which would pass Pete Sampras for most ever among the men.
New Tennis League Called 'Minor Miracle' by Wall Street Journal: A new league founded by former doubles champ Mahesh Bhupathi, International Premier Tennis League, began last month with events in the Philippines, Singapore and India. The final event of the first season finishes today in Dubai. Four teams featuring some of the sport's best-known men and women -- including past greats -- compete in a series of singles and doubles events as the Micromax Indian Aces, Musafir.com UAE Royals, Manila Mavericks and DBS Singapore Slammers. Some rules speed up the sport, including a serve clock, next-point-wins provision after deuce and a worth-double "power point" a team can attempt once per set. There also are player substitutions mid-match. Wall Street Journal sportswriter Tom Perrotta said the league "should be considered a minor miracle -- and an important part of the sport’s future. ... As of July, there were still rumors that the league would fail before it started. Instead, it has received a lot more attention and praise than anyone thought it would."
Claim: Bobby Riggs Threw the Match Against Billie Jean King: Bobby Riggs threw the famous match against Billie Jean King in 1973 to pay off $100,000 in gambling debts to organized crime, according to a new TV report. Hal Shaw, a former golf pro in Tampa, said he heard three alleged mobsters and a lawyer discussing how Riggs "would beat Margaret Court and then he would go in the tank" against King. The match before 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome became a milestone for women in sports. King, the world's second-ranked female tennis player, beat Riggs in straight sets.
Is Roger Federer Done?: Fallen to No. 7 in the world rankings, Roger Federer said recently that he's no longer playing for the money, the lifestyle or even the pursuit of the top ranking. But he doesn't seem to be contemplating retirement either. "Sometimes, the media uses what they have to make a good article for them, which makes sense," he said, "but right now for me, it is getting back playing well, going deep into tournaments, and then the ranking will follow automatically, up or down.
Wimbledon Champ Marion Bartoli Retires Because of Pain: Only 32 days after surprising the tennis world by winning the Wimbledon title, Marion Bartoli abruptly announced her retirement after losing a second-round match at the Western & Southern Open, a warm-up to the United States Open. "It's time for me to retire and to call it a career. I feel it's time for me to walk away, actually. My body just can't do it anymore. I've been already through a lot of injuries since the beginning of the year. I've been on the tour for so long, and I really push through and leave it all during that Wimbledon."
Andy Murray Wins Wimbledon, Ends Long British Drought: Andy Murray of Scotland has become the first British man in 77 years to win the Wimbledon men's tennis singles championship. Murray defeated Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 in a grueling 3-hour, 9-minute match played in the hottest temperature for a final since 1976. Since losing the final last year to Roger Federer, Murray has won the Olympic gold medal, the U.S. Open and now Wimbledon.
Marion Batoli Wins First Wimbledon Title: In a match of unlikely low seeds, No. 15 Marion Bartoli of France defeated No. 23 Sabine Lasicki of Germany 6-1, 6-4 for her first Wimbledon ladies singles championship. The 28-year-old Bartoli, who lost to Venus Williams in the 2007 final, kept her 23-year-old opponent under constant pressure and fighting nerves, breaking her serve three times in the first set. "I felt overwhelmed," Lisicki admitted in the on-court interview following the match.
CBS Loses U.S. Open After Four Decades: After broadcasting the event for 46 years, CBS will be losing the rights to the U.S. Open to ESPN in 2015, thanks to an $825 million, 11-year deal for the broadcast and cable rights. Viewership fell to a 25-year low of 2 million in 2012. Rain has postponed the men's final from Sunday to Monday for five straight years.
Look dude, you can do this.: Teenager Sloane Stephens takes down her idol Serena Williams in the Australian Open. Stephens also happens to be the daughter of former New England Patriot, John Stephens.
Novak Djokovic Buys Up World's Supply of Donkey Cheese: The No. 1-ranked men's tennis player and Wimbledon champion has bought up the world's entire 2013 supply of donkey cheese for his chain of restaurants in Serbia. The Zasavica farm in that country is the only place in the world that milks donkeys for cheese, which is called pule and sells for around $650 an ounce.
Shot, sir!: SLYT: David Wetherill's table tennis shot at the London 2012 Paralympics.
Drop Shot Picks Up at U.S. Open: The drop shot, once regarded as desperate on hardcourts, has come back into vogue, reports USA Today. Roger Federer, who thought of it as "sort of a panic shot" in the past, is now using it to throw off heavy hitters standing at the backline. "I just realized it was very hard to hit through the guys time and time again, because they track down everything," he said. "Maybe by using the drop shot a bit more they have to play closer to the line; then it's easier to hit through them again."
Serena Still Unapologetic About Outbursts: Asked by the New York Times about her on-court tantrums against a lineswoman and chair umpire at the U.S. Opens of 2009 and 2011, Serena Williams remains unapologetic. After being called for a foot fault, Williams told lineswoman Shino Tsurubuchi in 2009, "I swear to God I'll [bleeping] take this ball and shove it down your [bleeping] throat" and was immediately disqualified from the quarterfinal. Her take on the controversy today? "I don't foot-fault. Like, I have in the past, but this woman should never make a call in the semifinals of a Grand Slam on a person who doesn't foot-fault. She was totally wrong. I'm sorry. I'm not sorry. I looked at her like -- I tried to warn her. And then she did it again."
Federer Denies Murray, Wins 7th Title: Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray in the Wimbledon men's final Sunday, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4, claiming his seventh title in the event and making the United Kingdom cry. Federer reclaims the No. 1 ranking in tennis and becomes the first player in his thirties to win a Grand Slam final since Andre Agassi in 2003. Murray, 25, won his first set in a slam final after nearly taking Federer's head off with a return at a pivotal moment.
Serena Williams Wins Fifth Wimbledon Title: At the age of 30, sixth-seeded Serena Williams completed an unexpected Wimbledon singles title run with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska. She joins her sister as five-time Wimbledon singles champs, winning her first Grand Slam title in two years.
Andy Murray Reaches Wimbledon Finals: For the first time since 1938, a male British tennis player has reached the Wimbledon finals. Andy Murray defeated Jo-Wilifried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 and advances to play six-time champion Roger Federer, who beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Player Completes Perfect Set at Wimbledon: Yaroslava Shvedova played a flawless set of tennis, the best by a woman in at least 44 years, in the third round at Wimbledon. She won every point (24) and every game (6) in the first set against Sara Errani, winning 6-0, 6-4. The last pro to do it was Bill Scanlon in a first-round match in 1983. "To me, that's almost as incredible as Isner-Mahut," said Sam Querrey, one of the men's competitors.
Nadal Knocked Out of Wimbledon: The 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol sent Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon Thursday in a shocking second-round upset, 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Nadal had never lost a grand slam match to a foe ranked 70th or higher. Between games in the third set, Nadal bumped Rosol. Asked what his goal had been going into the match, Rosol said, "Just don't lose 6-0, 6-1, 6-1."
Does Tennis Need a Shot Clock?: Novak Djovokic and Rafael Nadal played a 5-hour, 53-minute final at the Australian Open in January. Both players averaged more than 30 seconds between points, above the 20 seconds allowed in Grand Slam play, and still took too long after an umpire's warning. According to USA Today, the match "would have run roughly an hour shorter had they stayed within the rule." Andy Roddick and some other pros would like to see a shot clock. "I think that would be a good idea," said Robby Ginepri. "You have the radar gun there. Why not have it right above that?"
Djokovic Over Federer in Epic U.S. Open Comeback: Novak Djovokic fell down by two sets to Roger Federer in the U.S. Open semifinals Saturday but came back to win 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. Down 5-3 in the final set, Djokovic survived two match points and won over a loud pro-Federer crowd, then celebrated with a post-match victory dance.
Novak Djokovic is a Pod Person: Current men's No. 1 Novak Djokovic improves his fitness by climbing into a $75,000 egg-shaped, bobsled-sized pressure chamber. The CVAC Pod, one of only 20 in the world, uses a computer-controlled valve and a vacuum pump to simulate high altitude and compress the muscles at rhythmic intervals. "The company claims that spending up to 20 minutes in the pod three times a week can boost athletic performance by improving circulation, boosting oxygen-rich red-blood cells, removing lactic acid and possibly even stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis and stem-cell production," reports the Wall Street Journal.
Tennis Hall of Famer Accused of Molesting Girls: Tennis Hall of Fame doubles player Bob Hewitt, who won all four Grand Slam doubles titles during his career, sexually abused or harassed underage girls he trained as young as 10, according to a six-month Boston Globe investigation. "When I was 9, he started asking me if the other girls were virgins, when I didn't even know what a virgin was," said Suellen Sheehan, one of four women to come forward with allegations of sex abuse. "When I was 10, it escalated to him taking it into his own hands that he needed to teach me about what he called the birds and the bees. And that's what he did."
NBC Losing Rights to Wimbledon: After 43 years, the Wimbledon tennis tournament will no longer be broadcast by NBC -- and is likely to end up on ESPN. "While we would have liked to have continued our relationship, we were simply outbid," NBC said in a statement. The network had to outbid ESPN and Fox last month to keep the Olympics.
The Long Autumn of Roger Federer: Now, in 2011, in his endless middle-sunset as a player, [Roger] Federer has become something mysterious, an all-time great whose career feels increasingly fragile. Brian Phillips on Federer's long autumn. DFW, five years ago, on Federer as a religious experience (previously). Riffing on DFW, Phillips on Pele as comedian (via MetaFilter).
Isner Will Play Mahut at Wimbledon: A year after they played the longest match in tennis history at Wimbledon, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut have drawn each other again as first-round opponents in the tournament. They play Tuesday. Isner is ranked 46 and Mahut 99. The two became friends after their epic 11-hour match. "Before Wimbledon, we'd never said one word to each other," Isner said. "Now we text each other quite often and I've got to know that he's a really class act and a really good guy."
Tennis in San Quentin: "...it was a group of convicted felons who were perhaps the best-behaved and most ethical group of competitors I have ever witnessed."
Man Bet Federer Would Win Wimbledon 7 Times: The good news? If Roger Federer wins a seventh Wimbledon title, the $2,336 bet you made in 2003 will pay you $156,000. The bad news? You died in 2009. Nick Newlife of Oxford, arranged in his will for the bet to be paid to the charity Oxfam.
US Tennis Players Completely Absent from Top 10: Monday is a historic day for United States tennis. For the first time since computer rankings begain almost 40 years ago, no man or woman from the United States is ranked in the top 10 in the world in singles. "Europe has done a remarkable job; they are producing virtually all of the top players," said Doug MacCurdy, the former director of player development for the United States Tennis Association.
Tennis Player Lobs Ball at Crying Baby: After a baby in the crowd was heard wailing during his serve at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami on Wednesday, Spanish tennis player David Ferrer lost the point and then lobbed a ball into the crowd in the direction of the child (who was not hit). Ferrer went on to lose the match to Mardy Fish.