ESPN Sued By Tennis Broadcaster Fired Over Venus Williams Remark

Tennis broadcaster Doug Adler, who didn’t return to ESPN’s Australian Open broadcast after commenting on Venus Williams’s “gorilla” or “guerrilla” style of play—that’s the big question here—has sued ESPN and two ESPN executives in charge of tennis broadcasts in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging wrongful…

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U.S. Performs Nazi-Era "Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles" Before Fed Cup Match Against Germany

The USTA has apologized to Germany for performing the antiquated first verse of that country’s national anthem—the “Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles” one, last used by the Nazis—before yesterday’s Fed Cup match between German Andrea Petkovic and American Alison Riske.

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After All That, Nick Kyrgios Isn't In The NBA All-Star Celebrity Game

Last fall, tennis’s rowdiest underperformer Nick Kyrgios said he was pulling out of the Rotterdam Open, an ATP 500 tournament that begins in four days, so he could compete in the NBA’s Celebrity Game during All-Star Weekend. This struck me as wise for a few reasons. First, late in last year’s season, when Kyrgios…

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Gael Monfils, Snubbed By France For Davis Cup, Fucks Around With Obscure Sport Instead

Gael Monfils, the best living tennis player from France, was curiously not chosen to play the first round of the Davis Cup, the most important international tournament in the sport. He can blame his long-simmering beef with team coach Yannick Noah, national tennis legend—and father of Knicks sharpshooter Joakim—who…

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Science! Shows That Roger Federer's Backhand In Fact Defeated Rafael Nadal

Yesterday we argued that Federer’s unusually strong backhand anchored his Australian Open win over Rafael Nadal, and today we found a startling statistical basis for that claim. It comes courtesy of the always helpful Jeff Sackmann at TennisAbstract. Relative to other sports, tennis remains fairly data-poor, but…

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Roger Federer Played Free And Gave His Archrival The Back Of His Hand

“I’m a different player due to Rafa’s presence,” Roger Federer said in a 2015 press conference, and if you needed it, yesterday’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 Australian Open win offered the clearest possible evidence. When your defensive-genius nemesis applies crushing pressure on you for more than a decade, you might end…

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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal Will Face Off In A Throwback Australian Open Final

This photo’s from 2005—they were about to meet in a Grand Slam for the first time, the 2005 French Open, a semifinal match Rafael Nadal won before claiming the title, his first of many. They’d then spend about a decade at the top of the game, sucking up all the available oxygen, dominating all majors in sight. Then…

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Old Man Federer Survives To Reach Australian Open Final

Thirty-five-year-old Roger Federer sputtered his way to the championship round of the Australian Open. Though his all-Swiss semifinal against Stan Wawrinka looked like a gutsy struggle on paper—five sets! 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3!—it actually lasted just over three hours, and the two major inflection points were injury…

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Venus Williams Is Very, Very Happy To Be In The Final Of The Australian Open [Updated]

All evidence suggests that 36-year-old Venus Williams is feeling good about reaching the final of the Australian Open. She defeated CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-2 to become the oldest women in a Grand Slam final since Martina Navratilova in 1994. And she’s pretty damn excited about that win.

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Now It's Just Rafael Nadal And A Bunch Of Gorgeous One-Handers

Rafael Nadal dug around and exploited two glitches in the Milos Raonic serving machine—two successfully converted break points, that is—to win his Australian Open quarterfinal 6-4, 7-6 (7), 6-4. And now he’s surveying a field full of the prettiest one-handed backhands in all the land. Roger Federer’s got the regal…

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Stan Wawrinka Drained Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's Will To Live

The notion of athletes “wanting it more” than one another must be one of the most insufferably inane tropes of sports analysis, but halfway through an Australian Open match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka the commentators began flinging it, and at some point it actually began to stick. Tsonga looked…

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Rafael Nadal Turned Off The Gael Monfils Show

Rafael Nadal put up a sweat-saturated 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 performance to end Gael Monfils’s run at the fourth round of the Australian Open. Through the first two sets it looked like old-school Nadal dominance. Both sixth seed Monfils and ninth seed Nadal are rangy scramblers who cover every inch of the baseline,…

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Gael Monfils, At The Peak Of His Career, Is Still A Good Clown

Gael Monfils cannot turn down an opportunity for a good show, not even with set point in the Australian Open. With the second set at stake, in the middle of a rally, the Frenchman chose to go behind the back. His second-round opponent Alexandr Dolgopolov, whether thrown off by the mild sidespin or the plain audacity,…

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Nick Kyrgios Stopped Giving A Shit And Crashed Out Of The Australian Open

Lots of choice words spill out of Nick Kyrgios’s mouth—many of them amusing, wounded, self-righteous—but you don’t need to hear a single one to understand how he feels about the game at a particular moment in time. You can see that spelled out on the court, in the way he chooses to swing his racket at the ball. On the…

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What Does Novak Djokovic's Body Mean For His Career?

In today’s Beyond the Baseline podcast, tennis legend Martina Navratilova talks to SI’s Jon Wertheim about an issue that’d been haunting me lately: is Novak Djokovic looking a bit skeletal? He’s still winning, sure; last week in Doha he wrung the title away from Andy Murray in a gutsy three-set final, avenging his…

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Tennis Match Turns Into A Contest Of Who Can Retire First

Sachia Vickery (ranked No. 135) and Elise Mertens (ranked No. 127) are set to play qualifiers later this week to try and earn slots in the main draw of the Australian Open. That’s a Grand Slam, a far more alluring attraction than the Hobart International, where these two met in the second round yesterday. What do…

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"Baby Federer" Is Growing Up, Collecting Scalps

It can’t be totally pleasant to attract premature comparisons to the greatest of all time. Too early in his career, Grigor Dimitrov was saddled with the nickname “Baby Fed,” a comparison that spoke more to aesthetics than to his record of success: He has the same lethal, fluid groundstrokes as the Swiss master, that…

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