On Court
1 On Court Sources: Tennis.Life

Bencic leaps into Oz main draw

When she came back after wrist surgery in late September, Belinda Bencic was ranked No. 312. Less than two months later, she's back in the top 100 and a virtual lock to make the Australian Open main draw. She did it in just six tournaments, only one at the WTA level – and the lowest level of the WTA Tour at that. Bencic clinched it with a win at the WTA 125K in Taipei last weekend. She didn't drop a set on the way to the title. Her won-loss record since her return: 23-3. 

2 On Court Sources: New York Open

McEnroe, Stephens, Bouchard at NY exho

With the relocation of the Memphis Open to the New York City area – specifically, Long Island and the Nassau Coliseum, the tournament owners are kicking off the event with a splash. Sloane Stephens, John McEnroe, Genie Bouchard and James Blake will take part in an opening-night exhibition Feb. 11 before the New York Open officially gets under way Feb. 12. For Stephens and Bouchard, that means representing their countries in the first round of Fed Cup is off the table, as it's the same weekend. Already confirmed for the main event are Kei Nishikori, John Isner and the Bryan brothers.

3 On Court Sources: Novosti

Nenad Zimonjic retires from Davis Cup

It's that time of year, when big news is either a coaching announcement, or a retirement announcement. But while doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic hasn't called it a career, he has announced his retirement from international competition. The 41-year-old was the playing captain this year as Serbia made a run to the Davis Cup semifinals. Undermanned without Novak Djokovic or Viktor Troicki, they went down to France. Zimonjic took part in 55 ties for Serbia (at least one every year since 1995, except for 1999). When he started, he represented Yugoslavia in the Group III zonals.

4 On Court Sources: Tennis-Actu

Late changes for French DC squad?

The nominations were set by captain Yannick Noah last week, per Davis Cup rules. But Team France brought six players to training camp. A lot can still happen before the Davis Cup finals begin Friday. Pierre-Hugues Herbert was hit by lumbago Thursday in London at the ATP Tour Finals. He and partner Nicolas Mahut had to withdraw. "It was actually the least violent lumbago I’ve ever had. Mostly because I stopped playing and we were on top of it right away," Herbert told the media Monday. "Physically, I’m not completely 100 per cent. I’ll need another day or two."

5 On Court Sources: ATP Tour, YouTube

ATP University is in session

Several times a year, the ATP Tour holds three-day seminars to inform the younger players about how the Tour's doughnuts are actually made. On Sunday in London, school was in session once again. Among the students were several Canadians: Denis Shapovalov, Filip Peliwo and Steven Diez. Diez, who is 26 and ranked No. 298, had his big moment on the first day. He met soccer legend David Beckham. Look at this 2015 video from London. That's a class. You can spot Lucas Pouille – as well as teacher's pets Zverev, Coric and Khachanov (Next-Gen personified) in the front row.

Off Court
1 Off Court Sources: Tennis.Life

RIP, Pancho Segura

Francisco Olegario (Pancho) Segura was one of the best in the world in the 1950s, when tennis was divided between the amateur ways and the pro circuits,. He died at age 96 Saturday at his home in Carlsbad, Calif., from Parkinson's complications. Known to later generations as Jimmy Connors's coach and mentor, the Chilean-born Segura overcame serious childhood health issues. He was an early adoptee of the two-handed forehand. Segura played singles at the 1970 US Open at 49, and won a round. And he reached the quarters in doubles with Connors at a Tour event in South Africa, at 53.

2 Off Court Sources: ATP Tour

Two awards for Denis Shapovalov

After three round-robin matches at the Next-Gen Finals in Milan, Denis Shapovalov finally got home to Canada for a few days. And then – straight back to Europe – to London, specially – to receive two awards on Saturday at the ATP Tour Finals. The 18-year-old received the "Star of Tomorrow" award, given to the youngest player ranked in the top 100. His countryman Milos Raonic won it in 2011, when it was called "Newcomer of the Year" Shapovalov also received the "Most Improved" award, voted on by the players.

3 Off Court Sources: Forbes

Stephens named to Forbes 30 under 30

A nice honour for Sloane Stephens, the reigning US Open champion. The 24-year-old has been named to Forbes Magazine's 2018 "30 under 30" list. The magazine touts this as its "annual encyclopedia of creative disruption featuring 600 young stars in 20 different industries." Only one other tennis player made the "sports" list – Stephens's old friend Jack Sock. Of the 30, seven are women. Also included are swimmer Jessica Long and track athlete Tori Bowie. Among the men are 2017 American League MVP Jose Altuve and Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.

4 Off Court Sources: Facebook

Bouchard surprises Montreal travellers

Having sponsors is a very good thing for a tennis player. But sometimes, they end up doing wacky things. There was Genie Bouchard at Dorval Airport in Montreal Saturday, in full makeup, dressed in hot-weather tennis garb with below-freezing temperatures outside, along with Mrs. Claus (dressed in blue) Bouchard tried to hit windows on a display to earn free trips for a dozen lucky winners as part of an airline promotion. It was streamed live on Facebook. Other than one little boy who wanted absolutely nothing to do with a high five, it seemed to go over well. 

5 Off Court Sources: FearlesslyGIRL

Keys launches FearlesslyGIRL USA

Madison Keys was in her hometown of Rock Island, Ill. Friday to launch the US chapter of the FearlesslyGIRL movement. They kicked it off with the "largest-ever anti-bullying school assembly", with a big crowd on hand and a bigger audience watching live on Facebook. As it happens, last week was anti-bullying week. Keys joined FearlesslyGIRL as an ambassador just before last year's US Open. The organization was founded by Kate Whitfield when she was still in high school back in 2004, and aims to empower a generation of young women as well as their schools and communities.