PIRATES ON THE HORIZON: After ten years Rafa Nadal played with a sleeveless shirt. All of which begs the question, will he again play in those extraordinary pirate pants he wore early in his career?
PETKO DANCE I: Andrea Petkovic is pretty good at tennis. She scored an epic win over the No. 27 seed Petra Kvitova. And the German is pretty good at the Twitter thing too. Here are some recent examples.
• I’m in a cab in NYC and the Polish driver is listening to old Julio Iglesias songs and I think we’re headed to City Hall now to get married.
• I spent NYE with a piece of pricey dark chocolate and a glass of cheap red wine. I then took a long shower trying to wash 2017 out my system. I think it worked – how about you, guys?
WHAT EVERY WOMAN KNOWS: At 11:20 a.m., when a baby starting crying early in Karolina Pliskova’s match, broadcaster Steve Pierce said, “it’s a little early for baby to cry.” His on-air partner Chanda Rubin then noted, “Babies cry at any time. I know. I have a 15-month-old.”
FRUIT CUP: Aussie Cup Radio noted that in Melbourne, “A lot of seeds were planted but few gave fruit…Coco Vandeweghe got a penalty when she refused to play because she didn’t get a banana…Jo Konta said that she was in ‘a blueberry debacle’ because she went to the store just to get two packages of blueberries and only realized that she had left them at the store when she was in her PJs and going to bed.”
A PRESS CONFERENCE THAT ENDED WITH A PERIOD: The oh-so-bright, at times quirky Brit Jo Konta was told that she was a late bloomer in tennis and at the end of her press conference was asked if she was a late bloomer in other parts of her life. She then quipped that she was not going to talk about when her period started – period.
A DIALOG FOR THE AGES: When Jim Courier asked the rising twenty-year-old Sascha Zverev how things have changed after having such a great 2017, the German joked, “My mom still wakes me up in the morning.” Courier replied, “At 20, really?” Then, like an adept politician, Zverev said, “No, actually it’s my dog [who wakes me].” Courier, a former Aussie Open champ who has long been retired, then asked Zverev how far he wanted to get in the tournament. Sascha replied, “I just want to make it further than you.”
DJOKOVIC CALLS FOR NEW UNION: According to reports, Novak Djokovic, the President of the ATP Player Counsel, asked that a recent meeting in Melbourne be cleared of non-players and then called for a new union for the men’s players. He argued that players get only 7% of the revenues of the Slams while baseball players get 50% of revenues in their sport.
GO FIGURE: Sloane Stephens hasn’t spent any of the $3.7 million she earned at the US Open…The only former champions in the woman’s draw are Angie Kerber and Maria Sharapova.
ON-COURT WITH RON BURGUNDY: After Roger Federer won, comic Will Ferrell came on court with him and John McEnroe and said, “It’s great to be here with two legends, Roger Federer and John McIntosh.” He then asked if the Swiss ever got tired of fans yelling “C’mon Roger!”’ and whether he ate the national food of Australia – wombat meat.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH: Since winning the US Open, Sloane Stephens has lost to Qiang Wang, Christina Mchale, Anastasia Sevastova, Barbora Strycova, Aryna Sabalenka, Aliaksandra Sansovich and Zhang Shuai. BTW: It’s been 127 days since Sloane has won a match.
NICK KYRGIOS A ROLE MODEL – YOU’D BETTER BELIEVE IT
JO KONTA CRUSHES MADISON BRENGLE LIKE A BLUEBERRY
MARIA FACES HERSELF: The scoreboard on Margaret Court Arena read Maria Sharapova. That would be Tatjana Maria facing Sharapova, tennis’ more famous Maria.
SAY IT ISN’T SO: Andrea Petkovic’s marathon 6-3, 4-6 10-8 win over Petra Kvitova ended when the Czech double-faulted.
TOUGH LUCK: Frances Tiafoe faced Federer in the first round at the US Open and is up against Juan Martin del Potro in Melbourne.
PERHAPS YOU WILL GET A ‘KICK’ OUT OF THIS: It used to be that the late Pat Summerall – the former New York Giant kicker who went on to be a US Open broadcaster – was the best “kick” in tennis. Then Allie Kiick, the daughter of the Miami Dolphin’s star runner Jim Kiick, reached No. 137 in the world, before she was beset by health problems. Today Argentine Nicholas Kicker beat Aussie Jordan Thompson.
“The first 10-20 [men’s players] live fantastically, and the top 50 live very well. But if you’re ranked 100-300, it’s a struggle because tennis is an expensive sport and you pay for everything yourself.” –
“She was playing very nervous and wasn’t really in control.” – Darren Cahill on his student, No. 1 Simona Halep who struggled mightily before prevailing.
STEPHENS: Yeah, probably. I haven’t touched any of that money.
STEPHENS: Everyone is so depressed and so down. It happens to everyone…I’m going to beat someone eventually. I will have the best Instagram picture when I finally snap this losing streak…It’s just a learning experience – it’s a long journey.
STEPHENS: A lot of amazing things have happened in my life off the court since the U.S. Open and it’s definitely overwhelming and a lot of extra energy you have to put into other things. It’s tough balancing. I’m just trying to find the right balance…I’m in a really good place…I don’t think it’s karma. Q: What is your concept of karma?
STEPHENS: Doing the right things and getting rewarded.