Edmund, Evans Remain Undefeated At Battle Of The Brits

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Kyle Edmund stayed up until 2 a.m. early Friday morning celebrating Liverpool’s first English Premier League title in 30 years. A longtime fan of the Reds, the British No. 2 carried plenty of adrenaline from the victory party into his final round-robin match of the Schroders Battle of the Brits at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, England, on Friday afternoon.

Edmund hit 22 winners and committed just eight unforced errors during his 6-3, 6-3 victory over winless Liam Broady (0-3) to improve to 3-0. He had already secured a semifinal berth after beating Andy Murray on Wednesday. So, it was just a formality for the 44th-ranked Edmund to play his Friday match. Next, he will face No. 77 Cameron Norrie in Saturday’s second semifinal match. Norrie reached the last four with a 6-0, 6-2 win over No. 515 Paul Jubb.

“I was buzzing last night. Just watching all the videos and stuff,” Edmund said during an on-court interview following his one hour and 20 minute win over Broady. He held up one of his many Liverpool jerseys which he draped over his bench and showed off an ear-to-ear grin, too. “Coming out here, I have to remember I’m a tennis player, too. I was a bit tired this morning, but it was good today. I played balanced tennis.” 

Meanwhile, Saturday’s first semifinal will pit the 129th-ranked Murray (2-1) against British No. 1 Dan Evans (3-0). On Friday, Evans was pushed to three sets by No. 394th Ryan Peniston before winning 6-2, 3-6, 10-4.

“I lost a bit of concentration. All credit to Ryan,” said Evans. “He stepped up and played some good tennis. It was a dogfight in the end. There’s no easy opponent here.”

Indeed, and for Evans, it will be his first time to face Murray as they’ve never met previously on the ATP Tour.

“I’m going to leave him alone, I guess. He’s tough to beat as it is,” said Evans. “It’s going to be great. It’s the first time we’ve played in a competitive match. Hopefully I come out on top.”

The doubles final will match up event organizer Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski against Evans and Lloyd Glasspool.

Teen queen reigns at Credit One Bank Invitational

Last year’s French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova from the United States has earned the monicker of “teen queen.” After all, the native of Freehold, New Jersey, who now resides in Aventura, Florida, is just 18.

On Friday, in Day 4 of the Credit One Bank Invitational team charity exhibition, Anisimova defeated Caroline Dolehide by taking over in her match tiebreaker to come out ahead 5-7, 7-5, 10-2. She won 25 of the final 28 points in the match. Talk about strategy! Her victory earned two points for Team Kindness over Team Peace.

Ivanisevic tests positive for COVID-19

Twice, Goran Ivanisevic had tested negative for coronavirus.

However on Friday, 10 days after he was initially checked, the 2004 Wimbledon champion who now coaches Novak Djokovic and also served as event director of the Adria Tour stop in Zadar, Croatia, announced a third test came up positive with COVID-19. He becomes the ninth person associated with the Adria Tour to test positive for the contagious coronavirus this week.

“I would like to inform everyone who has been in contact with me that I tested positive and ask them to take extra good care of themselves and their loved ones,” Ivanisevic wrote on his Instagram page. “I will continue to self-isolate as I have been doing already.”

Venus Williams returns to WTT Kastles for 15th season

The Washington Kastles confirmed Thursday that 23-time Grand Slam champion, four-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time WTT champion Venus Williams has committed to play the entire 45th season of World TeamTennis for the Kastles. The three-week WTT season is scheduled from July 12-30 at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

“I’m excited to be playing World TeamTennis with the Kastles again this year,” Williams said in a statement. “It’s always a great time and I’m looking forward to getting back on the court, embracing the team approach, and hopefully leading the Kastles to another King Trophy.”

Behind The Racquet – Daria Kasatkina

“Tennis is one of the most difficult sports because you’re alone,” writes Daria Kasatkina in a first-person essay published this week for the Instagram series Behind The Racquet. “Our season is longer than most other sports and we are not financially secure. If you’re not playing tournaments, you don’t earn money. If you do not play well at the main events, you have to earn money somewhere else so you play even more tournaments. At some point, you break down. Most professional players reach a point where they cannot do it anymore.”

Last year was one of those years for Kasatkina. After finishing 2018 as World No. 10, her ranking plummeted to No. 69 twelve months later. She won just 12 of 33 singles matches and won no titles. A year earlier, Kasatkina compiled an impressive 42-24 win-loss record and won a title in Moscow after reaching the finals in Dubai and Indian Wells. As 2018 ended, Kasatkina had high expectations for herself. Then, things fell apart. She split with her coach and most of her team, didn’t have a practice partner, and overall felt lost.

During 2019, Kasatkina pondered the unimaginable: “I wondered if I wanted to quit. But then I thought, ‘If I want to quit now, what am I going to do?’ All of these doubts in your head make you crazy because you love what you do but you are constantly exhausted. I knew if I quit then changed my mind, it would be very difficult to maintain my game. These thoughts broke me.”

Fortunately, there is a positive turn in Kasatkina’s story, but it remains a work in progress. To read her entire essay, go to behindtheracquet.com.

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“I finished 2018 ranked in the Top 10. The beginning of 2019 was very tough because everyone had high expectations. Meanwhile, I had split from my coach and most of my team. I did not have a practice partner so I could not prepare well for matches. I was alone, traveling to tournaments with only my brother. I was very lost. ⁣⁣I wanted to take a break. But I had to play mandatory tournaments because of my ranking. If I chose not to play these events, I had to pay huge fines. So I continued playing but was breaking down. ⁣⁣ ⁣ Tennis is one of the most difficult sports because you’re alone. Our season is longer than most other sports and we are not financially secure. If you’re not playing tournaments, you don’t earn money. If you do not play well at the main events, you have to earn money somewhere else so you play even more tournaments. At some point, you break down. Most of the professional players reach a point where they cannot do it anymore.⁣⁣ ⁣ I wondered if I wanted to quit. But then I thought, ‘If I want to quit now, what am I going to do?’ All of these doubts in your head make you crazy because you love what you do but you are constantly exhausted. I knew if I quit then changed my mind, it would be very difficult to maintain my game. These thoughts broke me.⁣⁣ ⁣ I decided to work with a psychologist and it has been a great experience. I think that many junior players could benefit from working with a psychologist. It is tough to accept that you need help but I realized how important it was to have someone who can always listen, understand and advise. In tennis, there is a ton of pressure so I think it’s quite important to have this support.⁣⁣ ⁣ Since then, I have rebuilt my team. I am working with Carlos, who is my brother and fitness coach. I am also seeing a psychologist. These people are the wall that holds me up. This means a lot because in tennis, you are always single and you need to have a support system of people who have your back. This is most important.”⁣⁣ @kasatkina #BTR ⁣⁣ Go to behindtheracquet.com for extended stories, podcasts and merch.

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What they’re thinking

Stuart Fraser, tennis correspondent, The Times of London: “Should have been the Wimbledon draw this morning, that great simple tradition with no preamble ahead of a prompt 10 a.m. start and chips pulled out of a hat rather than a computerised ‘reveal’. Strangely one of the things I am missing most during this period.“

What they’re sharing on social media

Marin Cilic / Thanks for all the positive messages

Brad Gilbert / My advice for the weekend …

Darren Cahill / On ATP Coach fan experiences