On Court
1 On Court Sources: Twitter

Del Potro plays for non-perishables

There was going to be interest in watching Juan Martin del Potro practice in his hometown of Tandil, Argentina, as he begins to get ready for the 2018 season. So why not maximize? The Argentine star hit Saturday morning for an hour at the Hotel Posta Natural. And there was an entry fee. If you wanted to watch, you had to bring a non-perishable food item. Everything collected went to the Tandil Food Bank. The man himself was happy. Unless there's a late change, del Potro will only make his 2018 debut the week before the Australian Open, in Auckland.

2 On Court Sources: Doubles, Tennis.Life

New for ’18: Hlavackova and Chan

After the retirement of Martina Hingis, WTA No. 1 Yung-Jan Chan was left without a doubles partner. She will team up with Andrea Sestini Hlavackova. The new duo will play Brisbane, Sydney and the Australian Open. Hlavackova won Singapore with Timea Babos in October. Babos will play the Australian Open with Kristina Mladenovic (with whom she made Singapore in 2015). The big question: who will play the ad side? Hlavackova played the deuce side both with Babos and with longtime partner Lucie Hradecka. Chan played it both with Hingis and with sister Hao-Ching.

3 On Court Sources: Instagram, SudPresseSports

Broken Darcis already back on the job

Steve Darcis gave his all in the Davis Cup final against France.  But the 33-year-old says he had a tear in an elbow tendon, near the epicondyle, and had platelet-rich plasma injections before the final. That usually means six weeks to three months off. He had 10 days. "It hurt all the time," he told Belgian media SudInfo After 10 days, no improvement. It still hurts Darcis when he merely lifts a drinking glass. And so, he had another injection – and will have yet another Dec. 22.  Darcis still plans to start the season on schedule in Doha.  

4 On Court Sources: Sky Sports

Kermode: longer careers = more injuries

ATP chief Chris Kermode says Masters Series exemptions for veteran players may have extended careers. But an ancillary consequence, not envisioned at the time, is that more older players means more injured players.  "This is the first year that I think we've had such high-profile players being injured. ... Overall, the tour injuries are down six per cent. It's a strange conundrum going," Kermode told Sky Sports. Kermode said the Tour has medical personnel crunching data. Poor early stretching habits? Changes of ball types? He said most players look to surface changes as the biggest cause.

5 On Court Sources: Australian Open, Tennis.Life, YouTube
https://youtu.be/MjO1HdcbMuc

Oz Open promo missing some stars

The Australian Open has its 2018 tournament promo out. And while there's big-time face time from Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the Williams sisters – even from Stan Wawrinka – there definitely are key faces missing in the short, 30-second clip. The most obvious omission is Novak Djokovic. The likes of Gaël Monfils and ... Denis Istomin made the cut. But the tournament's six-time champion is nowhere to be found. It's true that the public's institutional memory is short and that Federer, Nadal, and the Williams sisters were were finalists a year ago. So they're front and center in the fans' memory. But a few shots of the winningest Australian Open champion in the open era can't be that much to ask, can it? If it was a concern about the revamping of the logo for the 2017 event (and not showing older logos or older sponsors' boards) they could find some Djokovic footage where they found Istomin. The Uzbek upset Djokovic in five sets in the second round. The promo understandably features Aussies Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova. But there is no sign of WTA Tour No. 1 Simona Halep. No. 2 Garbiné Muguruza also goes missing. Even the top-ranked Australian, Ashleigh Barty, is MIA. style="text-align: center;">Six-time champ invisible in promo There's another promotional video, narrated by Jim Courier. The American former player and current Davis Cup captain is a lead analyst on Australia's Channel 7 television coverage, and also does a lot of the post-match, on-court interviews. That one is airing during the tournament's streaming of the current wild-card playoff tournament. There's a brief shot of Djokovic walking down the Hall of champions on his way to a match. Very brief. But that's it. They should probably give that a re-think going forward.  A six-time champion – no one has won more men's singles titles in Melbourne in the Open era – deserves a lot better. 

Off Court
1 Off Court Sources: Tennis.Life, Twitter

Bryan Brothers’ busy, charitable week

The Bryan brothers wrapped up their first charity event at Jack Nicklaus's club in North Palm Beach last weekend. But they quickly were on the road again as they hit Chatham, New Jersey – and the snow – for Justin Gimelstob's event for the Valerie Fund. Some nine hours later, having brought the chilly northern weather with them, they were back on a plane. Sunday, they hit the Miami Open site in Key Biscayne to support the Overtown Youth Center. That's good work. The brothers' Wheels Up sponsorship, announced last week, might be coming in handy sooner rather than later.

2 Off Court Sources: Tennis.Life

“MyATP” app is no more

"MyATP", the customizable social media platform that allowed ATP fans to access updates, multimedia content and enter contests, is history. Tennis.Life has learned that the ATP has informed its tournaments, many of which link to the app on their platforms, that they must seek other options. Vixlet, which developed MyATP, is reportedly insolvent and has recently ceased operations. As of Monday, you can still download the app on your phone. But you can't finish the signup process. The website is down. Vixlet also powered Major League Baseball's multimedia app.

3 Off Court Sources: Holá Magazine, Instagram

Fernando Verdasco ties the knot

The number of eligible bachelors on the ATP Tour is dwindling by the week. The latest to take the plunge is Spanish heartthrob Fernando Verdasco, who took a break from his Miami preseason and wed Ana Boyer over the weekend in Mustique. The Instagram accounts of both Verdasco and his new wife, Ana Boyer, are conspicuously short on wedding snaps – although you can find plenty of shirtless shots of the man they call FeVer. That's because the exclusive rights to the event belong to Holá Magazine, which seems to be the magazine of record for the BoyDascos.

4 Off Court Sources: USTA, YouTube

Outer-space tennis coming in March

On March 9, 2018, as the Indian Wells tournament gets rolling, NASA astronaut A.J. ‘Drew’ Feustel is going to story-top even Larry Ellison. He's going to play tennis in space. Feustel is a big fan and a player by way of his wife and her tennis-mad family,  When NASA's Expedition 55 blasts off, Feustel will have packed two mini-racquets and some tennis balls for the trip. It's a six-month odyssey. The USTA is looking to get kids interested in tennis – and space – with the endeavor. And it will chronicle the preparations in the leadup to the event.

5 Off Court Sources: SRF, Twitter, YouTube

Federer, coach Lüthi win Swiss awards

That Roger Federer would win his seventh Crédit Suisse Sportsman of the Year award probably is less of a shocker than his garnering "only" 36.88 per cent of the votes, after the season he had. Color his kids not too impressed. The nice touch was that longtime coach Severin Lüthi won for "coach of the year". Lüthi was overlooked in the ATP's annual nominations; only co-coach Ivan Ljubicic got the nod. "So well deserved, lucky to have you on my team. You’ve been a rock in my corner for years. Thank you," was the message from Federer.