Serena announces daughter’s name

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Naming her baby girl Serena Jr. would have put a whole lot of pressure on a newborn.

But as it turns out, Serena Williams’ fiancé has a perfectly gender-neutral name. And so the new bundle of joy will be called Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.

(Probably not a tyical thing to have a daughter be named “junior” after her father – but why not? Great idea, and very evolved).

Williams also revealed on the Instagram announcement that there were “a lot of complications” after the birth. And she spent nearly a week in hospital.

And the baby already has a video of the leadup, with lots of never-before seen goodies.

Another tennis baby: welcome Tara Djokovic

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NEW YORK – Who could have imagined, in the space of 24 hours, that two legendary champions would become parents?

In Novak Djokovic’s case – for the second time.

Less than a day after Serena Williams gave birth to a baby girl, Novak Djokovic’s wife Jelena had a baby girl of her own. There’s already a name: Tara.

Maybe, two decades down the road, there will be two little champions making their moves at the US Open, as the both turn 20.

Serena’s little girl, of course, will always be able to brag that she’s one day older.

Congratulations to the Djokovics, and to Williams and fiancé Alexis Ohanian.

With all the crazy news happening on court this week, it kind of brings a sense of wonder and normalcy to things, doesn’t it?

No. 2 baby for Murray, as hip improves

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WIMBLEDON – The rumour was true, as it turns out.

Andy Murray and wife Kim are expecting their second child.

“We’re both obviously very happy and looking forward to it,” Murray said during a press conference Sunday. 

Murray said they’d known for awhile and the family knew as well, although he didn’t want to get into specific dates.

In the grand scheme of things, though, the biggest news topic is the state of the defending champion’s hip.

Murray skipped a pair of planned exhibition practice matches at the Boodles, although he has been practicing all week with some younger players, including 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov and 16-year-old Aidan McHugh, the second-ranked junior player in Great Britain.

Murray
16-year-old Aidan McHugh is getting his 15 minutes of fame after practicing with Andy Murray several times this week. (Stephanie Myles/Tennis.Life)

Murray not too hip this week

What’s the matter with the hip, specifically?

“I’ve had hip problems since I was very young. You know, it’s not something new to me. It’s just been very sore the last few weeks. It was giving me quite a lot of trouble moving to certain shots and getting into certain positions. So that was why I needed to take the break, to try and give it a chance to settle down, calm down a bit,” Murray said. “It’s felt much better the last few days.”

Murray said he’d not been in this position too often, of having a physical concern just a few days before a Grand Slam.

It’s always risky to jump to conclusions, but as bloomy as Mrs. Murray looked at Queen’s two weeks ago, it wasn’t tough to surmise the big news.

“Obviously this is an extremely important tournament, so you worry a little bit. It’s a little bit stressful if you can’t practice for a few days, you really want to be preparing, you know, training as much as you can to get ready and make you feel better – especially when you hadn’t had any matches,” he said.

“Just tried to think positively. I tried to make the best decisions along with my team to give myself the best chance to feel good on Monday. I feel like I’ve done that.”

The Brit admitted he’s human. Being the one to essentially kick off Wimbledon, on the first Monday, at 1 p.m., when he walks on court as the defending men’s champion, does add a few nerves.

But he’s been in this position before, so he figures he’ll be able to handle those.

As for the baby, if you caught a glimpse of Murray’s wife Kim Sears at the Queen’s Club event two weeks ago, it wasn’t hard to put two and two together. She was, as they say, blooming.

Two Saturday sessions

Here’s how Murray looked on the practice court, in two sessions Saturday.

As he was walking up from his court at Aorangi Park after the first one, he definitely looked to be a little limpy. But since a lot of players look like they’re walking on hot coals when they’re off the court, or between points – and suddenly, when they’re chasing the ball, run like the wind – you wouldn’t read too much into it.

Bubbly Bublik makes Wimbledon debut

As for his first-round opponent, lucky lower Alexander Bublik of Ukraine, Murray will have to feel it as he goes, watch some video to try to make some sense of the 20-year-old whimsical, improvisational game. But he has talk to some people about him.

“He’s obviously a big personality. You know, he’s not a quiet guy. Yeah, from what I’ve heard, he’s pretty entertaining on the court in terms of the way he plays, how he is. You know, quite unorthodox. He plays a lot of unexpected shots, a lot of drop shots, mixes his game up a lot, takes chances, tries some more sort of shots that guys may play in exhibitions, he tries when he’s out there. That’s what I’ve heard,” Murray said.  

When you hit a tweener in the third-set tiebreak of a second-round qualifying match, with only Stefano Napolitano between you and a French Open main draw if you win, you’re loose.

Tennis.Life ran into Bublik along St. Mary’s Walk, after his session with a pack of reporters in a small interview room. You can see a glimpse of that in his GoPro video above.

I asked him if he’d ever talked to that many reporters at once. He laughed and said no, and added they’d probably be there after his match as well.

He didn’t say it, but if he loses, that session is probably going to be a lot less enjoyable. Then again, this kid seems to be enjoying all of it.

Then, unprompted, Bublik asked: “Do you think I can win ?”

My answer, “If you don’t think you can, don’t get on the court at all.”

He stood there, pondered that, nodded, and walked away.

From Russia, to Kazakhstan … to the AELTC

Bublik was born and raised just south of St. Petersburg Russia. But he is now playing for Kazakhstan. He will walk out into the game’s most famous cathedral on Monday promptly at 1 p.m., with the defending champion. 

It will be his first Wimbledon, after his first qualifying effort. And it’s only his second Grand Slam tournament after he qualified in Australia this year, and upset Lucas Pouille of France in the first round.

The crowd will be holding its collective breath (it does that a lot, with British players), hoping Murray’s hip is as fine as he says it is. 

It will be fascinating to see how a kid who is already developing a reputation for being loose as a goose on court, never appearing to take it too seriously, will react to one of the most elegant moments in tennis.