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 sportís 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.
Clijsters Withdraws from September Japan Event: Kim Clijsters has withdrawn from the Pan Pacific Open to be held in Tokyo over nuclear radiation concerns -- even though it doesn't take place until September. "I wish everybody a lot of courage," she said.
Karlovic Hits Fastest Serve Ever: Croatian tennis player Ivo Karlovic has set a new world record with a 155.96-mph serve during a Davis Cup World Group doubles match against Germany, passing Andy Roddick's 154.96-mph serve in 2004. Video of the shot.
Serena Williams Suffers Blood Clot in Lungs: Serena Williams suffered a blood clot in one of her lungs last week and needed emergency treatment Monday for a hematoma. "What if we have seen the last of the career of the great Serena Williams?" Injuries have kept the 29-year-old out of tennis since she won last year's Wimbledon. asks Christine Brennan.
Roddick Takes a Dive, Wins Tournament: Finishing with the "best shot I've ever hit in my life," Andy Roddick defeated rising Canadian star Milos Raonic 7-6 (9-7) 6-7 (11-13) 7-5 in the finals of the ATP Tour tournament in Memphis. Roddick is third among active players with 30 career titles, trailing only Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Letters Reveal J.D. Salinger Had Henmania: The reclusive author J.D. Salinger, who died in January 2010 at age 91, was a fan of British tennis player Tim Henman, private letters sent to a friend reveal. "Salinger remarked that he liked the look of Henman's parents, who were appearing on TV a lot at the time, mentioning that they didn't look like your average pushy sports stars' parents," said Professor Chris Bigsby of University of East Anglia, which received the letters and is prohibited from quoting them directly by Salinger's estate. In one letter Salinger hoped that when Henman played Germans at Wimbledon he "knocked 'em all down," according to BBC Sport.
Ferrer Ends Nadal's Grand Slam Bid: World number one Rafael Nadal was dumped from the Australian Open quarter-finals 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 by fellow Spaniard David Ferrer Wednesday, ending Nadal's bid to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time. Ferrer has beaten Nadal four times in 15 encounters.
Kim Clijsters Gives TV Commentator a Tennis Lesson: After a match at the Australian Open, Kim Clijsters taught TV commentator and former pro Todd Woodbridge why men should never ask if a woman is pregnant. Particularly if she's going to be talking to you later on live television at center court.
Andre Agassi Joins Tennis Hall of Fame: American tennis great Andre Agassi will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. Agassi, who was No. 1 for 101 weeks over his career, was playing outside the top 100 in 1999 when he won the French Open and became the fifth player to complete a career Grand Slam.
Tennis Player Makes Comeback Bid at 43: After 11 years away from the ATP men's tour, Thomas Muster is making a comeback attempt at the age of 43 and will play the upcoming tournament in Vienna. The Austrian won 44 singles titles from 1986 to 1997 and has played at least two tournaments this year. "He's slightly nuts," said former player Mats Wilander, 46.
Women's Pro Tennis Turns 40: Women's professional tennis was launched by World Tennis magazine publisher Gladys Heldman 40 years ago on September 23, 1970, with a tournament that had nine entrants and $7,500 in prizes. The original nine were Billy Jean King and Rosemary Casals along with the lesser known Peaches Bartkowicz, Judy Dalton, Julie Heldman, Kerry Melville, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey and Valerie Ziegenfuss. A year later, King became the first female athlete to earn six figures in her sport. In the '80s, Martina Navratilova became the first to earn $1 million. Today the WTA Tour is an $85 million-a-year sport. "We wanted to make sure that any young girl, if she was good enough and if she wanted to, would have the opportunity to make a living playing tennis," King said.
Fans Brawl at US Open Match: A fight in the stands between a young man and a middle-aged woman and her father interrupted a second-round U.S. Open match between Novak Djokovic and Philipp Petzschner. "I hope it was no Serbian up there," Djokovic said.
McEnroe: Women Should Play Fewer Tournaments: John McEnroe said women aren't cut out to play as many tournaments as they're being asked to play. "There should be less events for women," McEnroe said in a conference call before the U.S. Open, which starts Monday. "You need an actual meltdown on court or someone to quit the game altogether before they realize you need to change the schedule."