WASHINGTON, January 19, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)
On Monday, past and present tennis players such as Billie Jean King, Frances Tiafoe and Coco Gauff; U.S. universities and tennis institutions and governing bodies paused to remember and celebrate the American civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In early 1968, while stationed at West Point and developing as a tennis amateur, Arthur Ashe received a letter from Martin Luther King, Jr. It foreshadowed what became a trailblazing career on and off the court.
— Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) January 18, 2021
Arthur Ashe received a letter from Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 to thank him for his support in the fight for justice and freedom.
— USTA (@usta) January 18, 2021
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Today and every day, we remember and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) January 18, 2021
Celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and committing ourselves to the tenets of peace and equality that Dr. King espoused when he spoke at Cal on the steps of Sproul Plaza in 1967. #MLKDay pic.twitter.com/SY3Ax4aEWy
— Cal Men’s Tennis (@CalMensTennis) January 18, 2021
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pic.twitter.com/7MWKbK5zga
— Purdue Womens Tennis (@PurdueWTennis) January 18, 2021
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Because of you, we can. Thank you for everything. Your work will not be undone and we will continue to fight to see your dream become a reality. pic.twitter.com/lLgtz0tCSz
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) January 18, 2021
What everyone can learn from playing by the rules
According to Tennis.com‘s Steve Tignor and Joel Drucker, if you’re going to stage a Grand Slam during a pandemic like the organizers of the Australian Open are attempting to do, it is imperative to play by the local rules After all, Australians have come too far to expect anything less. Right?
Learn more about the early chaos Down Under:
If you’re going to stage a Grand Slam during a pandemic, you have to play by the local rules; Australians have come too far to expect anything less. @joeldrucker and @SteveTignor discuss the early chaos Down Under.#AusOpen https://t.co/osak2mp5gq
— TENNIS (@Tennis) January 18, 2021
How Novak Djokovic’s list of demands played on Aussie TV
Victoria is standing firm on hotel quarantine for tennis stars, after world No.1 Novak Djokovic issued a list of demands, calling for less time in isolation, and private housing. @NickMcCallum7 #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/lGbKhMBoYV
— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) January 18, 2021
Career-high rankings for Sabalenka, Jabeur and Kudermetova
Following the season-opening Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open, singles champion Aryna Sabalenka has ascended to No. 7 in the new WTA Rankings released on Monday.
The 22-year-old Sabalenka, from Belarus, won her third-straight WTA tournament by capturing the first 2021 event last week in the Emirates capital. She has won 15 consecutive matches dating back to Ostrava last October. Her ranking rose from tenth to a career-high seventh, surprising her previous career-best of ninth first attained in February 2019.
Also, Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, whom Sabalenka beat in the third round to avenge an earlier defeat at last year’s French Open, climbed from No. 31 to No. 30. It is a career-best ranking for the Arab No. 1, who has never eclipsed the Top 30.
Finally, Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, who reached the Abu Dhabi final before losing to Sabalenka, climbed 10 places in the rankings. She went from No. 46 to No. 36, which surpassed her previous career-high of No. 38. En route to the title match, she defeated World No. 5 Elina Svitolina for her fifth career Top 5 victory.
Veronika Kudermetova has never won a main draw match at the Australian Open.
However, with the withdrawal of Bertens, Yastremska (unconfirmed), Keys and Anisimova, it seems that Veronika will be seeded in Melbourne!
[📸: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images] pic.twitter.com/jBROghPjtn
— WTA Russians (@WTArussians) January 18, 2021
Auger-Aliassime signs with adidas
It’s a new year and a new look for Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, who has left Nike in favor of adidas. The World No. 21 from Montreal revealed the change via social media on Monday. He’s in Melbourne under mandatory quarantine prior to competing in next month’s Australian Open.
Learn more about why Auger-Aliassime decided to forsake the iconic swoosh of Nike for adidas from Canadian tennis writer Stephanie Myles’ Open Court blog.
Updated this story as @felixtennis announced his move from @Nike to @adidastennis moments after we dropped that little scoop here on @opencourt.
Meanwhile, there’s also good news about his pal Denis Shapovalov.https://t.co/Z5YEzip9ry pic.twitter.com/DFAoWaBWA2
— Stephanie Myles (@OpenCourt) January 18, 2021
Happy 33rd Birthday, Angelique Kerber
2016 was a breakthrough year for @AngeliqueKerber.
Relive one of her crowning achievements 👇 pic.twitter.com/SkVYRUC3fb
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) January 18, 2021
No AO for Davidovich Fokina, confirms Covid-19 positive
Spain’s 53rd-ranked Alejandro Davidovich Fokina confirmed on Monday that he and his coach both tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago and it will keep him from competing in this year’s Australian Open. Davidovich Fokina said he feels “perfectly fine” now and was practically asymptomatic. Instead of playing in this year’s first Grand Slam, he will instead try to get some Challenger Tour wild cards with an eye toward being peak ready for the European indoor season that follows the Australian Open.
— FOKI (@alexdavidovich1) January 18, 2021
Who is dealing with the quarantine the best?
From @PutintsevaYulia to @ElinaSvitolina, @JohannaKonta and @HeatherWatson92 to @Ons_Jabeur, @stanwawrinka and @alexdeminaur, some players seem to be coping pretty well in quarantine ahead of @AustralianOpen https://t.co/0OpxPAVShs
— Tennis Majors (@Tennis_Majors) January 18, 2021
What they’re tweeting
— Pam Shriver (@PHShriver) January 18, 2021
What they’re podcasting
• The Lucky Letcord Podcast breaks down the first week of the 2021 season with an eye toward next month’s Australian Open. Plus, a look a Sebastian Korda and the buzz he created last week by reaching the finals at Delray Beach in his first ATP Tour main draw final.
On a new episode, Lucky Letcord Podcast breaks down a superb opening week of tennis and looks forward to the upcoming @AustralianOpen. Plus, should we all be jumping on the @SebiKorda bandwagon pronto, or is prudence the better option? #AusOpenhttps://t.co/5ZqcPu39Mu pic.twitter.com/lieF9T5RFV
— TENNIS (@Tennis) January 18, 2021
• In an “emergency episode” of The Tennis Podcast, co-hosts David Law and Catherine Whitaker discuss the situation in Melbourne, why it might have gotten out of control and how much sympathy we should feel for the players. Law and Whitaker also talk at length with Hall of Famer and ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver about “how she thinks she would have found the strict quarantine, how she might have tried to keep sharp and fit in that situation and how it might affect men and women different.” Also, “what measures or format changes could be implemented by the tournament and the inequality of the separate quarantine in Adelaide for top players.”
Melbourne Mayhem – An Emergency Podcast, with @PHShriver
Listen – https://t.co/ynA9s9419q
Download – https://t.co/PD3JGY9mpD
iTunes – https://t.co/Wek4ZpSSVk
Spotify – https://t.co/9bfXOnmmS0
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 17, 2021
What they’re sharing on social media
Johanna Konta / Now I feel like I’m in Melbourne
Just because I can’t get to @hunkydoryfish doesn’t mean that the 🐠 can’t come to me!
— Johanna Konta (@JohannaKonta) January 18, 2021
Garbiñe Muguruza / Aquí en Melbourne
— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) January 18, 2021
Stan Wawrinka / Starting my morning right
— Stanislas Wawrinka (@stanwawrinka) January 18, 2021