Archive for the ‘Tennis’ Category

Bianca Andreescu reflected on Saturday’s US Open final triumph in typically Canadian fashion: By apologizing to the crowd for beating Serena Williams.

After overcoming the all-time great in straight sets (6-3, 7-5) at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the 19-year-old native of Mississauga, Ontario, admitted the toughest obstacle in securing victory was playing in a venue that voraciously backed 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams.

“Definitely the crowd,” Andreescu told ESPN when asked about the challenges she faced after establishing a 5-1 lead in the second set. “I know you guys wanted Serena to win so I’m so sorry.

“Obviously, it was expected for Serena to fight back. She’s done that so many times in the past – that’s why she’s a true champion on and off the court – but I just tried my best to block everything out.

“The last game wasn’t easy. She started serving way, way better too; balls were going all over the place. So I’m just glad with how I managed, really.”

Andreescu credited her team and family for helping her rebuild following a spate of injuries and last year’s failure to qualify for the US Open. Now, after beginning 2019 ranked No. 152 in the world, she ends the season as the first Canadian to win a major singles championship.

“I just kept believing in myself,” she said. “I kept working hard and I just kept that momentum and confidence throughout this whole year and hopefully, I can keep going.”

Bianca Andreescu began 2019 ranked No. 152 in the world. She’s ending it a Grand Slam champion.

The captivating 19-year-old capped a transformative year with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Serena Williams in the US Open final on Saturday, becoming the first Canadian to win a major singles championship. 

In the process, Andreescu denied Williams another opportunity to claim a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title. The 37-year-old has now lost in each of her last four appearances in major finals.

Andreescu played the match of her career, returning with accuracy and power and handling her nerves at crucial junctures. Converting six break points, she was aggressive from start to finish.

Williams wasn’t her usual self. She committed eight double-faults, including one that lost her the first set, and made only 44% of her first serves.

Down 5-1 in the second set, Williams gave hope to the partisan crowd by saving championship point and winning four consecutive games. 

But Andreescu was there to stymie the American once again.

Her rise to the top of the women’s game has caught even the most experienced viewers off guard. The Mississauga, Ontario, native has gone 45-4 in 2019, last tasting defeat in the semifinals of the Mexican Open back in March, and won all eight of her matches against top-10 opponents.

As US Open champion, Andreescu will pocket a cool $3.85 million and officially enter the top 10 herself starting Monday.

Nia Jax recently spoke with Al Jazeera at this link and admitted that some people might find it hard to accept that she’s an athlete due to her size.

“This is who I am, I am never going to be a size zero,” Jax said. “Just because I’m a bigger girl, they might think I cannot do anything, but no. I can perform just as good as anybody else. I have no problem breaking stereotypes. And proving people wrong, it’s actually quite fun.”

Jax also revealed that she was bullied over her size as a kid. Jax talked about pushing Alexa Bliss to go hard on her with the bullying during their recent feud.

“I’ve been bullied because of the way I’ve looked growing up. So when this storyline came up we were both like, we have to make this as real as possible,” Jax said. “When we had to cut segments, there were things that Alexa said she didn’t want to say, and I was like you have to say this. I was like if you cannot say this, then I cannot provide my true feelings and the people will not resonate with our story.”

Al Jazeera also spoke with Stephanie McMahon about Jax and the WWE Chief Brand Officer praised her as she believes Jax’s work inside & outside of the ring makes her a standout athlete.

“Nia Jax is a special talent and an even more special person. She is a game-changer, breaking conventions and rejecting stereotypes, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or body type, that have typically applied to women in the public eye,” McMahon said. “She takes on this role with pride and determination, and her achievements are recognized by every little girl watching a show live or at home who is inspired to say: I want to do that, I want to be like Nia Jax. That’s what the Women’s Evolution is about, changing attitudes in a positive way about women in WWE, and in the world outside WWE.”

Serena Williams does not understand why her coach admitted giving her instructions from the sidelines during her controversial US Open women’s final.

Speaking about her outburst earlier this month, Williams maintained in an interview on Network Ten that she was not being coached during the match, which she lost to Japan’s Naomi Osaka.

“I just don’t understand what [coach Patrick Mouratoglou] was talking about because I asked him, you weren’t coaching, we don’t have signals, we’ve never had signals and he said he made a motion,” she told the Sunday Project.

Williams did not answer a question about whether she regretted the decision to break her racket on the court, with footage showing her publicist stepping in during the interview.

The six-time US Open champion, who was chasing a record-equalling 24th grand slam title, was handed a coaching violation and a point penalty for breaking her racquet before a heated argument with umpire Carlos Ramos ended with her losing a game.

The tournament referee’s office fined the former world No1 US$10,000 for the “verbal abuse” of Ramos, $4,000 for being warned for coaching and $3,000 for smashing her racket.

Williams said she wanted to move on from the controversy.

“What I’m just trying to do most of all is to just recover from that,” she told the Sunday Project.

Serena Williams supports Nike’s decision to make Colin Kaepernick the face of its “Just Do It” 30th-anniversary campaign.

Williams, who is endorsed by Nike, shared her thoughts on the campaign Tuesday after defeating Karolina Pliskova in straight sets to advance to the US Open semifinals.

“Having a huge company back him, could be a controversial reason for this company, but they’re not afraid and I feel like that was a really powerful statement to a lot of, a lot of other companies,” Williams said, according to Adam Reed of CNBC.com.

Williams also spoke about athletes’ roles in social activism.

“I don’t think athletes have a role to play,” she said. “I feel like … it’s their choice.”

Kaepernick and former San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid were in attendance for Williams’ victory over her sister, Venus Williams, in the third round of the US Open on Friday. Kaepernick tweeted a photo of Williams with his niece after the match.

Steve Kerr knows a thing or two about winners.

Kerr won five NBA titles as a player – three alongside Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls and two playing for legendary San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich – and has since captured three more championships as the head coach of the star-studded Golden State Warriors.

He’s also an avid tennis fan, so when Kerr is asked to draw parallels between tennis great Roger Federer and one of the legendary basketball players he’s had the chance to work with, you listen.

Beyond their personalities, Federer and Curry share another thing in common: the ability to collect hardware at an incredible rate. The 37-year-old Swiss maestro has won 20 Grand Slam tournaments in his storied career – including five US Open crowns; Curry has won three NBA titles, two MVP trophies, and has been named an All-Star in each of the past five seasons.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick shared an image via Twitter on Monday of a photo that will be used as one of the the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign.

Kaepernick joins Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr., and LeBron James among others in the groundbreaking series. Nike retweeted the photo Kaepernick posted on Twitter, tacitly endorsing his protests against social inequality and police brutality.

“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North America, said to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The former 49ers quarterback received widespread praise for his involvement in the campaign with many praising Nike for prominently featuring him in the series. Not everyone is enthused, however, with some tweeting that they’d no longer purchase Nike products as a result.

Kaepernick remains locked in a collusion case against the NFL. An arbitrator ruled last week that the case won’t be denied, as per the league’s request.