2021 BNP Paribas Open Pulls March Dates; Organizers Hope to Reschedule
INDIAN WELLS, Calif., December 29, 2020 – The BNP Paribas Open will not be held March 8-21, 2021 as originally scheduled. The tournament is proactively working with the ATP and WTA Tours as well as title sponsor BNP Paribas to confirm dates later in the year to hold the event. Details will be released in the near future as plans are finalized.
This decision was made after thorough consultation with state and local health authorities and tournament owner Larry Ellison.
A Delray Beach Open Wild Card for Andy Murray Strengthens the Field for Western Hemisphere’s First Tournament of 2021
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Andy Murray, a 46-time winner on the ATP Tour who has been ranked No. 1 in the world, has been awarded a wild card for the season-opening Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com that will take place January 4-13.
The three-time Major champion joins four former tournament winners – Reilly Opelka (2020), Frances Tiafoe (2018), Sam Querrey (2017) and Kei Nishikori (2008) – in the field.
Murray will make his Delray Beach Open debut during Session 8, which will take place Friday night, Jan. 8. Additional headline matches have also been announced, including Opelka beginning his title defense on Thursday night, Jan. 7. The top-ranked American, John Isner, will headline the Saturday night session on Jan. 9, while Milos Raonic, who is projected to be the top seed, will play on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 10.
“I am looking forward to starting the 2021 season in Delray Beach.” Murray said. “This event will be a good test for me and I’m excited to be back playing on the tour”
Murray will be the 11th of the 26 players to have ever held the ATP’s No. 1 ranking to play the Delray Beach Open, joining Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Lleyton Hewitt, Ivan Lendl, Carlos Moya, Pat Rafter, Marcelo Rios, Andy Roddick and Mats Wilander.
“We are looking forward to Andy joining us for our season-opening tournament,” said Tournament Director Mark Baron. “He is a champion at every level and among the greatest fighters our sport has ever seen. It will be thrilling to see him play here.”
Murray has won his 46 ATP titles from 68 finals during his career. Those tournament wins include being a two-time champion at both Wimbledon (2013, 2016) and the Olympics (2012, 2016). He was also the winner at the 2012 US Open and in 2016 at the ATP Finals, which was his ninth title of that season.
During his career, Murray has spent 41 weeks ranked as the World No. 1. At the end of January 2019, he underwent a hip resurfacing surgery. In June of that year, he returned to the Tour and immediately won the doubles title at Queen’s Club in London. He returned to singles action in August, and in October, won the title at Antwerp.
The 33-year-old and his wife, Kim, have two daughters and one son. Last year, he was knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
His brother Jamie, who is one year older, has been ranked No. 1 in doubles and won the 2008 Delray Beach title.
Originally scheduled for February, the 2021 Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com will now take place January 4-13. The ATP Champions Tour legends event will begin the action Jan. 4-6. ATP 250 qualifying matches will take place Jan. 5-6. The main draw for the ATP 250 tournament, which will feature 16 doubles teams in addition to the 28-player singles field, will begin Thursday, Jan. 7 with two sessions each day until the finals are contested during a single session on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
All tickets for the “Physically Distanced, Forever Social” event at the historic downtown tennis center are on sale now at www.yellowtennisball.com or by phone at +1 561-330-6000. In order to accommodate spacious conditions in the stadium and throughout the venue, attendance for each session at the 2021 tournament will be capped at 2,000 people, just under 25 percent of the outdoor stadium’s total capacity.
Fans who act quickly can take advantage of a special Holiday Sale on tickets if purchasing before midnight on Dec. 31. Using the promo code CHAMPION, a discount of 30% will be applied to individual box and reserved seats for Sessions 1-4 (ATP Champions Tour matches). For discounted tickets to see the ATP 250 matches, fans can use the code JINGLE to get 10% off individual box seats for Sessions 5-14 (excluding Session 8), while the code BELLS will provide a 20% discount on individual reserved seats for Sessions 5-14 (excluding Session 8).
Last year, Delray Beach resident Opelka served a tournament record 99 aces during the week in which he won his second career ATP Tour title. In doubles Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan captured their sixth Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com title and their 119th as a team. It was the final tournament for the twin brothers who announced their retirement in August. In the opening weekend’s ATP Champions Tour matches, Team Europe, led by Tommy Haas and David Ferrer, earned a 5-2 win over the James Blake-led Team World. This marked the third straight defeat for the home nation in ATP Champions Tour competition at Delray Beach.
In an ever-changing world the tournament will maintain the highest level of health and safety standards for fans, players and staff alike. Please remain updated on our measures at https://yellowtennisball.com/faq/
2021 Delray Beach Open Kicks Off Tour With Milos Raonic and Former Champs Kei Nishikori, Frances Tiafoe, Reilly Opelka and Sam Querrey
Seriously. It’s been too long. The last time we saw the men duke it out for an outdoor title was at the 2019 US Open. Our pale skin will be tested under the sun at the Delray Beach Open, the ATP 250 tournament taking place on January 4-13 in Delray Beach, Florida. The event marks the first time in decades that the men’s tour begins in the United States, with the Australian Open’s retreat into February setting the stage for Delray Beach and Antalya, Turkey having the honors of serving as the inaugural events on the annual calendar.
Fans will be held at 25% capacity along with mandatory mask use throughout the grounds.. Tickets must be purchased in isolated blocks of 2 to promote distancing between members of different households. If you are thinking about attending the tournament, you would be well advised to purchase tickets now, I have an unadvertised tip to relate: Due to COVID-19, all former general admission seats are now reserved seating and available for about $25 a piece.
It’s a strong 250 field, with former champion Kei Nishikori and former finalist Milos Raonic headlining, joined in the hunt by the American platoon of Isner and former champions Opelka, Tiafoe and Querrey.
The Delray Beach Open was slated to start in mid-February, so tournament organizers are scrambling at break-neck speed to advance an international event by a staggering 5 weeks. That’s an impressive feat even without the threat of a global pandemic.
This news is a gift to American fans after the year we’ve had.
Arlington, Va., November 18, 2020 — NeuroTennis, Inc. today announced the release of its smart tennis wristbands. Two key differences make this wearable technology so different from other smart tennis devices on the market.
“One major difference is that NeuroTennis coaches you while you play,” said NeuroTennis CEO, Alain Cohen. “Other tennis trackers just report statistics on speed, spin, and stroke counts, without much actionable information. NeuroTennis, on the other hand, provides coaching instructions that are synchronized with the rhythm of your hitting, as you play.
Cohen stated the second revolutionary aspect of the technology is that it wirelessly connects the wristbands of two players across the court, in order to pinpoint the timing of audible coaching instructions, precisely when your opponent hits the ball.
Former world No. 1 Mats Wilander was an integral part of designing NeuroTennis. “To reach the next level, I believe in modifying your game and not just measuring it,” Wilander said. “I believe that to reach your full potential, you need to train your brain just as hard as your skills and fitness.”
Features and benefits of NeuroTennis include:
Two player or solo mode – NeuroTennis is most typically used in a two-player mode, meaning that the sensors in each device communicate with each other, across the court.
NeuroTennnis App – The feature-rich app allows you to select lessons and drills from an extensive library designed by world-class coaches, including Mats Wilander. Taking it to the next level, you or your coach can easily customize content to specifically address your goals. Available for iPhone and Android.
Game Modifying Technology™ – While other wearable tennis products just measure physical results, like speed and spin, NeuroTennis is about ingraining better habits and accessing your tennis skills consistently so you can raise your game while you practice. Training at higher levels leads to playing at higher levels.
NeuroTennis is available now at NeuroTennis.com and sells as a pair for $269. For more information on how to train your brain and raise your game, visit NeuroTennis.com.
It’s Azarenka’s With Asterisks: Vika Wins @CincyTennis Title After Osaka Withdraws
The hot mess that is the 2020 Western & Southern Open has reached its exciting conclusion: with the withdrawal of Naomi Osaka, suffering from a left hamstring injury which occurred in Saturday’s semifinal against Johanna Konta. Vika Azarenka is your women’s singles champion.
In a statement from the tournament, Osaka said that “this has been an emotional week and I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support.” Osaka’s initial announcement on Thursday that she would be withdrawing from the Western & Southern Open taught us a lot about who she is as a person, and even more about tournament organizers clumsiness in responding to off-court issues.
Before American tennis’ governing body even had a chance to decide if it was sufficiently woke, it postponed all play on Friday at the tournament in Queens. According to reports from Tennis.com and ESPN, Osaka tweeted her decision not to play and in less than two hours, the USTA announced that all play would be suspended. Osaka’s courage to make her decision was effectively co-opted by the USTA for their gain. Their Come-to-Jesus moment is not one to be celebrated, as it was only made after Osaka’s decision. The tournament-wide postponement would never have happened if there had been paying ticket holders in the stands and it most certainly would not have happened if the tournament were held in its ancestral home of Mason, Ohio. If Donald Young had announced his intention to withdraw from the first round of the event, would the USTA have postponed 32 matches on a Monday? It’s clear that Osaka’s star power carries enormous weight.
While I continue to consider Osaka’s decision a bold one, her fellow players didn’t ask for a day off. This is unprecedented, and as you know, horrible injustices occur against minorities and the poor every single day of the year. I don’t pretend to know how to eliminate police brutality and social injustice, but I wonder if a precedent is now set: that if something horrible happens to an individual somewhere, that a single athlete can put an entire tournament on hold. I pray that we never lose another human being to police brutality, but in a country of 329 million people, it will sadly happen again. Maybe there is a better way to seek redress for these injustices. To beat the USTA at their own game of glomming on to Osaka’s decision as if it were their own original thought, Osaka should have continued to do the right thing and bowed out of the tournament. We always knew there would be an asterisk next to this year’s Western & Southern Open in the record books, but we didn’t know there would be a ball basket full on the women’s side. Now we’ll remember it for Osaka’s courageous leadership, her left hamstring and virtually nothing else.
Ten Americans Among Wild Card Recipients for Western & Southern Open Qualifying
The Queen City. Borough of Queens. Fuhgeddaboutit!
CINCINNATI (AUGUST 7, 2020) – The Western & Southern Open has awarded 11 wild cards to its qualifying field, with 10 Americans – including one Cincinnatian – among the recipients.
The five men and six women round out the 48-player qualifying fields. Two rounds of qualifying matches will be held Aug. 20-21, with a dozen women and 12 men joining the main draws, which will begin Aug. 22. All tournament action will take place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
Cincinnati native JJ Wolf, who played at Ohio State, will be joined in ATP Tour qualifying by Sebastian Korda, Mackenzie McDonald, Michael Mmoh and Brandon Nakashima. Ohio State standout Francesca Di Lorenzo joins the WTA qualifying field along with CiCi Bellis, Anna Kalinskaya, Ann Li, Shelby Rogers and Katie Volynets.
Wolf owns four career Challenger titles and has been victorious in three of his last five events dating back to last season. He was 14-2 with two titles during the first two months of this year before play was suspended due to the pandemic. Wolf turned pro in 2019 after going 35-2 and earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors as a junior at Ohio State University. A graduate of Cincinnati Country Day, the 21-year-old will play Western & Southern Open qualifying for the third time in his career.
Sebastian Korda, 2018 AO Boy’s Champion
Korda is a 20-year-old Floridian who reached a pair of Challenger finals last season. In 2018, he was the Australian Open junior champion. His father, Petr, won the 1998 Australian Open and was a two-time Western & Southern Open quarterfinalist (1992, 98).
Mackenzie McDonald, 2018 Citi Open (Photo: Tennis Atlantic)
McDonald, who owns a pair of Challenger titles, posted his best ATP result in early 2019 with a semifinal in Delray Beach. His season was then cut short due to a hamstring injury which kept him out of action until the start of the 2020 campaign. The former UCLA Bruin was the nation’s No. 1 collegiate player in 2016, a season he capped by winning the NCAA Singles and Doubles titles. Before enrolling at UCLA, McDonald became the third unranked player to qualify for an ATP Masters 1000 when he did so at the 2013 Western & Southern Open. This year the 25-year-old Californian is seeking his third main draw appearance at the tournament.
Mmoh owns five career Challenger titles, including last fall in Knoxville after he missed four months earlier in 2019 with injury. The 22-year-old Florida resident suffered the injury after a 2018 campaign that included quarterfinals at ATP events in Brisbane and Los Cabos along with a pair of Challenger titles. He was the USTA Boy’s 18s National Championship winner in 2016.
Nakashima burst onto the pro scene in February with a run to the quarterfinals at Delray Beach in his ATP debut. He has reached the semifinals at three ATP Challenger Tour events since turning professional in the summer of 2019. The 19-year-old Californian was named ACC Freshman of the Year last year while playing for the University of Virginia.
Di Lorenzo was a two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and won an NCAA doubles championship during her career at Ohio State. As a professional, she has reached the second round at the US Open in each of the past two seasons. Born in Pittsburgh, the 23-year-old Di Lorenzo was raised in Columbus, Ohio. Her sister, Cristina, was a two-time All Big East honoree while playing tennis at Xavier University.
Bellis has reached the third round at three of the four Majors, most recently at this year’s Australian Open. The 21-year-old Californian is working her way back after undergoing four surgeries in 2018-19 on her right arm. The 2014 USTA Girl’s 18s National Champion, Bellis finished that year as the No. 1 ranked junior in the world.
Kalinskaya is a seven-time winner on the ITF Circuit. In the second half of 2019, she posted her best career WTA results with a semifinal at Washington, D.C., and a quarterfinal at Tashkent. The 21-year-old Russian’s parents were both professional badminton players.
Li reached five finals while posting more than 40 match wins on the ITF Circuit in 2019. Early this season she made her Grand Slam tournament debut as a qualifier at the Australian Open. In 2017, she finished as runner-up in the Wimbledon Girls’ Championship. The 20-year-old Pennsylvania native owns two career ITF Circuit titles.
Shelby Rogers, 2017 Volvo Car Open (Photo: Tony Callaio, Tennis Atlantic)
Rogers has twice been a finalist at WTA events. The South Carolina native claimed her sixth career ITF Circuit title earlier this year in Midland, Michigan. A quarterfinalist at the 2016 French Open, Rogers battled knee injuries before undergoing an operation in 2018 that sidelined for over one year. As a junior, she was the 2010 USTA Girl’s 18s National Champion.
Volynets won the 2019 USTA Girl’s 18s National Championship and in doing so, earned a wild card into the US Open where she faced eventual champion Bianca Andreescu in the opening round. The 18-year-old Californian closed the 2019 season by reaching her first ITF Circuit final. As a junior, she reached the 2017 US Open quarterfinals.
Coco Vandeweghe and Nicole Melichar Survive a Championship Point And Rally To Win Super Tiebreaker And King Trophy Over Chicago Smash, 21-20
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.V. (Aug. 2, 2020) – The King Trophy came down to as dramatic a finish as you can have in World TeamTennis as one point decided the entire season with the New York Empire capturing the King Trophy over the expansion Chicago Smash, 21-20, in a Super Tiebreaker on Sunday at Center Court at Creekside at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
It all played out in front of a live nationally-televised audience on CBS Television Network. With the match in Extended Play at 20-20 and at 6-all in the Super Tiebreaker (best of 13) the Empire’s Coco Vandeweghe ripped a Sloane Stephens serve with a forehand down the line that nicked the baseline, was reviewed by Hawk-Eye and signaled in. The Finals Female Most Valuable Player Vandeweghe embraced her partner Nicole Melichar as the rest of the Empire players and head coach Luke Jensen joined into the celebration.
“I never had this opportunity in World TeamTennis to do Extended Play, to the Super Tiebreaker to the super buster to the Super Breaker (last deciding point),” Vandeweghe said. “I mean I’ve never been under that kind of pressure, ever. It was so much fun to be on my racquet to control the situation. Luckily I controlled it in the right way. It really accentuated what World TeamTennis is; the team vibe, team energy, people picking each other up when they’re down. I had so much fun out there.”
Said Melichar: “I didn’t want to tell Coco to go line, because I know her instincts, but I felt that Bethanie (Mattel-Sands) was going to try and cross and then the second she hit it and they didn’t call an out call I was thrilled, but then the fact that they were challenging (asked to look at Hawk-Eye), we were like ‘oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no’ and then it was just pure joy. It was just incredible.”
World TeamTennis titles are nothing new for New York franchises as the New York Buzz won the King Trophy in 2008 and the New York Sportimes did the same in 2005.
“It’s just so amazing that it came down to one point,” Empire coach Luke Jensen told the crowd after accepting the King Trophy and the $500,000 winning check his team will split. “When you’re a Grand Slam champion you’ve accomplished what you wanted as a kid. That she (Coco) didn’t hesitate to take that shot is amazing. And for New York specifically. Her grandfather played for the Knicks (Ernie Vandeweghe). Her uncle played for the Knicks (Kiki)…We made the trade for her, I reached out to her to say she should play for the orange and the blue, the Knicks colors and our colors. She’s such a gamer and a winner.”
The Smash held a championship point in regulation at 4-all in the tiebreaker (best of nine) as Melichar hit a service winner that Genie Bouchard was unable to handle, giving the set to the Empire and sending the match into Extended Play, 20-18. Vandeweghe won her serve for 20-19, and the Empire pair then broke Bethanie Mattek-Sands’ serve to knot the score at 20-20.
“I’m proud of this team for the fight all year,” said Chicago Smash Coach Kamau Murray. “I made two different decisions at both the end of the regular time and the tiebreaker and we’d have been in a different position. I’m sorry to see it end this way, but they all played well … Looking ahead to next year, I think we have a good core. We’ll bring most of them back and we’ll be here (in the Finals) again.”
In Women’s Singles, 2017 US Open winner Stephens extended the Smash’s lead with a 5-3 win over Vandeweghe to make the score 16-13.
The Empire jumped out to a quick start thanks to the play of WTT Male Most Valuable Player Jack Sock as he recorded wins in Mixed Doubles with Vandeweghe and in Men’s Doubles with Neal Skupski. He then ran into a buzz-saw in the way of 18-year-old Smash rookie Brandon Nakashima, who reeled off a 5-0 win to swing the match in favor of Chicago.
“I think I would chalk that up as my worst set of the three weeks, and unfortunately it came on the most important day, as well,” Sock said. “I just kept my head up. I was able to put 10 points on the board with Neal and Coco and you can’t ask more than that.”
WTT CEO Carlos Silva still had goosebumps talking about the match an hour after the memorable conclusion. “A flip flop in the middle of the match with Nakashima coming back to win 5-0 and swing the match, you couldn’t ask for any more than that,” Silva said. “And Coco’s winning forehand was like a walk-off home run, a buzzer-beater. My heart is still pounding.”
No. 4 New York Empire def. No. 3 CHICAGO SMASH, 21-20 (EP)
After a noble experiment in a bubble and 62 matches played over the course of three weeks in the Allegheny Mountains, we are left with the #3 seed Chicago Smash and the #4 seed New York Empire to battle it out on a gorgeous sunny day at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. There were probably a few naysayers who thought the WTT season wouldn’t last with so many players at the same site during a Coronavirus resurgence in North America.
Here we are, though: Zero positive COVID-19 test results and one match to go. The first year expansion franchise, the Smash, have surprised a lot of long-time followers of the league, but their success shouldn’t come as huge shock to anyone. With Sloane Stephens, Genie Bouchard, Rajeev Ram, Brandon Nakashima and Evan King, the Smash would have been competitive in 2020. The extra sauce on this squad comes from Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who was named the league’s female player of the campaign. She’s been off the charts in doubles, and doubles are every bit as important as singles in the world of World Team Tennis.
The New York Empire are riding high on emotion after knocking out the top-seeded Philadelphia Freedoms in the semifinals on Saturday. The immovable object may be Mattek-Sands, but the unstoppable force would be Coco Vandeweghe of the New York Empire. Like Mattek-Sands, she’s playing some of her best tennis in a long while and her leadership in doubles has given her confidence in singles as New York’s Kim Clijsters has been sidelined for the last week.
The Smash took out the Empire 21-16 a week ago, when Sloane Stephens was a 5-1 singles winner. When the Smash edged the Empire, 22-21, two weeks ago, it was Kim Clijsters dominating Stephens, 5-2 and Mattek-Sands/Bouchard defeating Clijsters/Lisicki 5-2. With Clijsters participation unlikely today, it’s hard to see a different result than the two previous meetings.
I give Sock a slight edge against Nakashima in men’s singles, and Sloane Stephens with the nod over Vandeweghe in singles. As usual, that means it’s all coming down to the dubs. I give the advantage to Mattek-Sands and Rajeev Ram against Vandeweghe and Sock in the mixed, which should just be enough for the Smash to win it all in the first year of the existence of the franchise.
Prediction: Chicago Smash 22-20
In terms of the restarting of pro sports in the United States, the World Team Tennis bubble has been a resounding success. The Greenbrier Resort was chosen by the Feds to house the legislative branch of government in a post-nuclear apocalypse at one time because of its remote location. Queens, or Disney World, for that matter, are hardly a White Sulphur Springs. With only a few thousand people, a few restaurants outside the resort and neither a strip club nor a nightclub for 60 miles, other pro sporting events should consider such a locale.
Empire State of Mind in Mountain State as @NYEmpireTennis Advance to @WorldTeamTennis Final
The New York Empire advanced to the World Team Tennis final at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia with a 22-18 win over the top-seeded Philadelphia Freedoms this afternoon.
Jack Sock and Neal Skupski broke serve and started New York off with a 2 game lead after beating Fabrice Martin and Taylor Fritz, 5-3. They never relinquished that lead. Coco Vandeweghe played Sofia Kenin close in a 5-4 loss and frankly, did her job by minimizing the effectiveness of the Freedoms most potent weapon.
The big turning point of the affair came when Sock and Vandeweghe posted a 5-1 mixed doubles win over Taylor Townsend and Fabrice Martin/Taylor Fritz. Fritz was inserted into the match after the Freedoms were down 4-0. Vandeweghe teamed up with Nicole Melichar against Townsend and Caroline Dolehide. Philadelphia scrapped to a 5-3 win to keep hope alive. In the final set, Taylor Fritz needed a miracle comeback against Sock to turn the match for Philadelphia. Fritz challenged Sock all the way to the tiebreak, which Sock won 5-3 to seal the victory for his team.
The late afternoon semifinal between the Orlando Storm and the expansion Chicago Smash should be a close match. Despite the teams sharing a 1-1 head to head record, the key to the Smash has been the monstrous doubles play of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and whatever partner with whom they team her up. Although the Storm beat the Smash, 21-16, on July 14, it was in large part due to Danielle Collins rolling over Sloane Stephens 5-0. In the loss, Mattek-Sands and Genie Bouchard managed a 5-1 victory against Pegula and Darija Jurak. When the Smash beat Orlando, 24-19 five days later, Mattek-Sands and Bouchard again beat Jessica Pegula, this time paired with Collins, by a 5-3 score.
No one expects Stephens to put in a poor performance against Jessica Pegula today and the men’s singles between Tennys Sandgren and Brandon Nakashima looks to be a draw. Pegula and Ken Skupski will have their hands full with Team Bethanie as well, with Mattek-Sands and Rajeev Ram on the other side of the net for the mixed doubles match.