CHILE TENNIS FEDERATION FINED $55,000 FOR UNSUITABLE COURT CONDITIONS IN DAVIS CUP TIE

The Chile Tennis Federation has been fined $55,000 for unsuitable court conditions in Chile’s Davis Cup tie against Colombia.

The Colombian team had complained that the clay court installed by Chile was unfit for play. Colombian player Santiago Giraldo was defaulted for walking off the court in protest during the reverse singles, handing the tie to Chile. 



"[The] Davis Cup committee of the ITF decided on a sanction of $55,000 for irregularities during the Davis Cup tie between Chile and Columbia," Colombia’s tennis federation said in a statement. "It consists of $15,000 as a penalty and $40,000 as the partial retention of a bonus."

However, the federation indicated that it may appeal the committee's ruling to not award the tie to Colombia, saying the umpire's decision had been to play the tie.

The decision comes as the Chilean government is investigating the Chilean federation for financial irregularities under its recent president. In addition, Marcelo Rios—a former world No. 1 and Chile's assistant captain—recently decided to step aside.

Chile's win sent it into the World Group playoffs.

U.S. OPEN PRESSURE POINTS: NO. 1 SEED NOVAK DJOKOVIC AND AN UNEXPECTED TURN OF EVENTS

A few years ago, Janko Tipsarevic sat across a table at the Miami Masters and said one of the wisest things this reporter has ever heard. Tipsarevic, fellow countryman and good friend of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, said that his primary goal in most matches was to win his first three or four service games. “Once it gets to be four-all, or 4-5, the pressure can get to anybody,” Tipsarevic said. “Anybody can choke. Even the great players because everybody is human.”

The relevant point as the U.S. Open approaches is that even iconic players can fall victim to pressure. That brings us to Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, the top singles seeds at the final Grand Slam of the year, who will certainly be feeling a measure of compression in their minds as the tournament unfolds.


This won’t be the kind of pressure than can be wiped away with a clutch service return winner, or an ace down the T at 30-40. It will be a more general, unfocused kind of pressure, and one that both of them will have every right to resent and may even deny feeling.

Pressure. It’s an occupational hazard for great players, and one they bring upon themselves when, in the case of someone like Djokovic, they make a few missteps at Wimbledon and the Olympics.

Just two months ago, the talk of tennis was the odds on Djokovic completing a calendar-year Grand Slam in 2016. Now we’re wondering if he didn’t take his foot off the gas too soon and set himself up for an ambush.

Despite completing a career Slam at the French Open just a few months ago, Djokovic will be looking to regroup in time for the U.S. Open. At the next tournament he played after Roland Garros, Wimbledon, he took a third-round loss to Sam Querrey and left the impression that all was not well in his well-organized life (he said as much, then refused to talk further about it). The mystery deepened when Djokovic absorbed first-round losses in singles and doubles at the Rio Olympics. Those disappointments left the volubly patriotic star and ordinarily steely player in tears. Four years is a long time to wait for an opportunity, only to make a hash of it.

Andy Murray has lived a similar dream with greater success. He thrilled his tennis-hungry British cohorts by winning Wimbledon for the second time and adding another gold medal (in singles) to the nation’s Olympic medal count. His accomplishments grabbed headlines and put Djokovic’s career Grand Slam in the shade. In the blink of an eye, Murray became the hot hand going into New York. 

But Djokovic has one advantage. He’s made peace with the reality of pressure. In fact, he authored one of the better quotes on the subject when he said, at the onset of Wimbledon: “Pressure is part of what we do. It's inevitable to face this kind of sensation as a top player.” 

Djokovic won’t have Roger Federer to worry about at Flushing Meadows; the Swiss icon is out for the year. Rafael Nadal is on the comeback trail, but Djokovic has a seven-match winning streak against him. Cliff Drysdale, ESPN’s dean of tennis commentators, gives Djokovic a “55 to 45” percent edge as a favorite over Murray. That slender margin speaks volumes.

Williams and Djokovic receive pressure differently. They respond to it differently. Djokovic tries to demystify it with rational discourse: “Expectations are always there from myself and from the people around me,” he once said. “I think that's normal and logical to expect that.” Williams tries to deny or turn her back on it, acknowledging only the pressure she puts on herself, perhaps not recognizing it may amount to one and the same thing.

Andre Agassi's powerful US Open farewell from 2006 still resonates

It wasn't merely short; it was divinely concise. It wasn't merely sweet; it was heart-wrenchingly sincere. It was Andre Agassi's farewell speech, delivered on the floor of Arthur Ashe Stadium a decade ago at the US Open.

Few speeches had ever had to satisfy so intense a build-up. Over 23,000 spectators had stood showering Agassi with applause and cheers for more than four minutes before he even stepped out to address them. They stood clapping and cheering, whistling and crying out, some with tears welling in their eyes.

An emotional Andre Agassi thanked the fans for their loyalty after his final match at the US Open in 2006.
Taking it all in, Agassi felt that he finally understood what tennis meant in his life and what he had meant in the lives of tennis fans.

"It was my greatest moment on a tennis court," Agassi recently told ESPN.com. "And I mean it every bit the way anyone would hear or read that statement."

A decade later, the extraordinary scene that unfolded on the floor of Ashe that Sept. 3 afternoon after Agassi lost in the third-round of the 2006 US Open resonates with even greater meaning. It echoes like a fitting eulogy for perhaps the greatest generation of male tennis players ever produced in the U.S., the generation that included fellow Grand Slam champions Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Michael Chang.

Agassi sat, trying to compose himself, after losing to Benjamin Becker in four sets in 2006. It was the last US Open match of his career.
This is also the 10th anniversary of the last American male's appearance in a US Open final. One week after No. 112 Benjamin Becker of Germany stopped Agassi, Andy Roddick lost the championship match to Roger Federer.

"I guess you could call it irony," Agassi said. "Or is it tragedy?"

At the time, Agassi could not know what lean times lay ahead for the domestic game. Besides, he was too worried about his own failing condition.

Agassi was ranked No. 7 at the outset of 2006, but over the course of the year an ankle gave out, and his back threatened to follow. By the US Open, he was living in a cocoon of pain and looking hard at life after tennis. In his own mind, he thought of that portion -- two-thirds of his life, with any luck -- as, simply, "the abyss." He would have to go into it soon, but he wasn't going without a fight.


"It was my greatest moment on a tennis court. And I mean it every bit the way anyone would hear or read that statement."
Andre Agassi, on his farewell to the US Open in 2006


In his first match in Flushing Meadows, Agassi got by Andrei Pavel in four sets. Then he survived a five-set match with Marcos Baghdatis, mounting a spectacular rally after dropping the third and fourth sets. But Agassi was cooked. The ensuing day off still had too few hours. Agassi played a respectable match against Becker, but he was heavy-legged, dull at the edges. He lost in four sets.

Agassi knew as he walked off the court that it was time to say farewell. He had no script, but he had been thinking about this moment, and what he might say when it arrived, for months. He knew what he valued.

"My journey was less linear, more complex, less honest than most," he said. " But I knew what this game and people have meant to me, and why I had gotten through so many difficulties and achieved so much despite all else. That's why feeling connected, and communicating the value of that feeling, seemed so important."

After Becker ended Agassi's career with an ace down the middle, the loser sat with his face buried in a brilliant white towel. The standing ovation raged around and above him as he tried to compose his thoughts and control his emotions. At one point, he buried his face in his hands, and as the tears streamed down his face he tried wiping them away with the heels of his palms.

After making his short speech, Agassi waved while walking off the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2006.

Mary Joe Fernandez interviewed Becker briefly, finally quieting the crowd. Agassi then walked out on the court and took the microphone from Fernandez. He scratched the back of his head, looked up, and spoke these words:

"The scoreboard said I lost today. But what the scoreboard doesn't say is what it is I have found. Over the last 21 years, I have found loyalty. You have pulled for me on the court and also in life. I found inspiration. You have willed me to succeed, sometimes even in my lowest moments.

"And I've found generosity. You have given me your shoulders to stand on, to reach for my dreams, dreams I could never have reached without you. Over the last 21 years, I have found you, and I will take you and the memory of you with me for the rest of my life."

The speech lasted exactly 50 seconds. Agassi made it through nearly 40 of them before his voice showed any sign of wavering or cracking. Finished, he walked to his chair like a man who had just had a thousand-pound weight lifted off his shoulders. He packed his tennis bag, but he was no longer apprehensive about his destination. He was no longer feeling uneasy about the abyss.

"It's a bit of death of sorts," Agassi said of retiring. "You're crossing over into a different world. You can never know what to expect, what it looks like. And you don't know how you feel about it until after that day comes."

Agassi's day came, and afterward he felt pretty good about it. When he looked into the abyss, he found it filled with light and the love of 23,000 fans in Ashe and millions more who watched that day.

Viz Media Sets ‘Prince of Tennis’ Manga Sale

Viz Media continues to work some digital manga sales in a very good way to make large runs of series accessible, both in price and storage – something that got me to stop collecting years ago when it comes to physical manga. The latest sale is for the Prince of Tennis series from Takeshi Konomi, which Viz Media now has the original 42-volume series on sale via ComiXology, which can be viewed via Amazon Kindle as well. Or you can just by the Kindle Edition’s directly, which are also on sale here.

Prince of Tennis

The original run was serialized in Weekly Shonen jump between 1999 and 2008 and was adapted into a 178 episode anime TV series. A sequel manga series kicked off in 2009 as New Prince of Tennis, which Viz Media has not licensed, and has 18 volumes to its name so far. It also saw a brief anime adaptation in 2012 that ran for 13 episodes.

Plot concept: There is a rumor going around that a twelve-year-old boy is going to enter the sixteen-year-old and under tennis group. How can someone so young ever hope to compete with kids much older and more experienced than him? This is no ordinary kid: he is none other than Ryoma Echizen, the Prince of Tennis! Ryoma’s father was destined for greatness until he injured himself during a match, ending his career forever. His talent was passed on to his son, who is determined to be the best tennis player in the world. Can the prince gain the respect of his fellow teammates despite his small size and young age? Find out in this intense sports manga!

Cako, Lao earn wild card with National Playoffs doubles title

Jacqueline Cako and Danielle Lao are headed to the US Open after taking the US Open National Playoffs women's doubles title Tuesday at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale in New Haven, Conn.

Jacqueline Cako and Danielle Lao


The American duo earned a wild card into the US Open women’s doubles draw after prevailing in the championship match over top seeds Ashley Weinhold and Caitlin Whoriskey, 6-2, 7-5.

“My first emotion was disbelief. It’s been a tough few months trying to string together solid performances. [But] the second emotion was pure happiness,” wrote Lao on her blog. “It was awesome to share an exciting moment with someone who wants it so bad.”

Their journey to the US Open began by winning the Southern California sectional qualifying tournament to advance to the US Open National Playoffs - Women's Doubles Championship. Cako and Lao endured several tough battles to reach the championship match, including a marathon quarterfinal win over Gabriela Porubin and Julia Schiller that ended with an 18-16 match tiebreak.

Cako has a WTA ranking of No. 230 in women’s doubles, while Lao is ranked No. 266. They have teamed up regularly throughout the year on the USTA Pro Circuit, winning the doubles title at the $25,000 event this February in Surprise, Ariz. Cako has won eight USTA Pro Circuit doubles titles in her career, while Lao has won three.

Cako won the 2014 US Open National Playoffs – Mixed Doubles Championships with Joel Kielbowicz, earning a wild card that year into the US Open mixed doubles draw. This will be Lao’s first appearance in the US Open.

The US Open National Playoffs are designed to bring the spirit of the US Open to cities and sections across the country, making entry into the US Open eligible to anyone and everyone 14 and over with the passion to compete, regardless of playing ability or nationality.

Andy Murray might pay for missing the Olympic party!

He started the Olympics by carrying the flag. He continued it by leading from the front making sure his medal was among Team GB's haul of 27 golds. But then he got it wrong.



Andy Murray should have still been with them wearing flashing trainers at the closing ceremony. He should have been on the plane home with the rest of the team last night, part of the giant selfie group of proud athletes showing off their success. He should have been doing his bit with the likes of Laura Trott and Jason Kenny doing the rounds of media appearances this morning.

A few weeks after properly putting his name alongside Fred Perry's as a multiple Wimbledon singles winner, Murray achieved another astonishing feat in collecting gold. But in failing to drink in that moment he might just have cost himself the chance of a third triumph at the US Open.

On the face of it, flying straight to Cincinatti and then reaching the final of an ATP tournament might appear something to celebrate. Before getting beaten by Marin Cilic he'd stretched his winning streak to 22 matches.

But he has given himself barely a week to rest and recover from an unbelievably gruelling schedule and you fear that, when it gets to playing five-set matches in New York, something in his body - and possibly his mind too - will have to give.

Murray's heroic exploits in Rio - together with Novak Djokovic's first round collapse there - have seen the British number one's odds to win the US Open come in to just 3.15. Djokovic, who stayed away from Cincinatti claiming a wrist injury, was once odds-on but is now 2.22.

I'm not sure I'll be in a hurry to back either of them at those prices. Djokovic, having seemed earlier this year like Superman, seems to be struggling to deal with the realisation that he can have Clark Kent days too. Murray, for all he made Cilic fight every shot to win the Cincinatti title, looked like a man who was running on empty.

If there's value anywhere in the draw it will be in backing Juan Martin del Potro at 19.50. The man who removed both Djokovic and Rafael Nadal from Rio made his excuses from Cincinnati and will get to Flushing Meadows fresh to continue his climb back up the rankings.

Go back to 2012 when Olympic glory was the catalyst for Murray's US triumph, and you might argue that I'm wrong. That year he not only dashed away from the gold medal ceremony to play in Cincinnati, but squeezed in a trip to the Canadian Open first.

The difference was that in Toronto after a stroll against Italian qualifier Flavio Cipolla he withdrew from the tournament before having to play Milos Raonic, and then in Cincinatti after beating wildcard Sam Querrey he offered tame resistance before going out in straight sets to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who was only in the draw at all as a lucky loser.

That meant he got to New York with proper rest, and his legs strong enough to deal with the epic four-and-a-half hour final that saw him fight off a Djokovic comeback to win his first Grand Slam title.

I hope I'm wrong. I'd love to see Murray make it back-to-back Grand Slams. But I can't get away from the fear that in skipping one celebration party, he's cost himself the chance of another.

Debut victory for Alejandro Gonzalez in the US Open qualifier


Alejandro Gonzalez, the first of Colombians in action in the qualifying round of the US Open, sealed with victory Tuesday his debut in the fourth Grand Slam of the season, which will be played from August 29 to November 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, United States.



The national tennis player, sponsored by the Argos Group, won the first round to Italian Luca Vanni (165 °) with partial 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour and 27 minutes, which meant the second European to win against three games.

A González (158th) took just five breaks to triumph over Vanni, who this year recorded a title in the Open Castilla y León (Spain) and the quarterfinals in the Challengers of Recanati and Todi, both in Italy.

The next opponent for the second best male country racket will be the Spanish Albert Montanes (135th), number 21 seed, who in the day left on the way to Australian Benjamin Mitchell 6-1, 6-2.

The history between Gonzalez and it leads the Iberian Montanes 1-0 duel that occurred in the Challenger Monza (Italy) 2012 and won 7-5, 6-3.

For 'Gonzo' the aim will be overcome for the second time US Open qualifier, milestone achieved last year after leaving the road to the US Marcos Giron, Romanian Marius Copil and Argentine Facundo Bagnis.

On Wednesday, meanwhile, will be the debut of the other two Colombians in action: Santiago Giraldo (132nd), the Colsanitas Team, will face the Salvadoran Marcelo Arévalo (181st) and Eduardo Struvay (195th) against the US Jared Donaldson (122nd) . Read here: Defined Colombian rivals in the qualifying round of the US Open .

It is worth remembering that three Colombians and have direct berth in the main tables of the US Open: Women's singles Mariana Duque and possibly double feminine and Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah in men's doubles.