French exhibition goes hot pink


Even in December, there’s plenty of tennis in France. 

But the 1st Bourg-de-Péage Open, a six-man exhibition, stands out because of its call on the court colour.

The surface itself was borrowed from the ATP event in Metz (where it’s blue). Organizers have decided that a hot-pink court – surrounded with what looks suspiciously like … teal? – was the way to go.

The tourney had some late pullouts. But French depth being what it is, it still boasts Gilles Simon, Benoit Paire and Paul-Henri Mathieu along with three up-and-comers. 

The Davis Cup will guest-star at the final.  

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.

“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.

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.

The Czechs play coaching musical chairs


If you go by the musical chairs the Czech players are engaging in, in terms of their coaching choices, you’d think there were only four qualified tennis coaches in all of the Czech Republic.

We’ve put together a handy graphic for you, illustrating who has coached whom, and who is currently working with whom as the 2018 season begins.

There has been drama.

The big winner is David Kotyza. The longtime coach of Petra Kvitova, now working with Barbora Strycova, has run the table.

There has to be a book in there down the road.

Kramer Club to host LA charity bash


The Carson, Calif.-based First Break Academy will host a bash at the historic Jack Kramer Club Saturday morning.

Among the former players expected to report for duty to hit with kids and adults are Pam Shriver, Tracy Austin and new Kramer Club tennis director Jeff Tarango.

Current pros should include Steve Johnson, Shelby Rogers, Jared Donaldson, Taylor Fritz and Nicole Gibbs. 

There will be clinics, a demo court, kid zone, lunch and a silent auction – all to benefit learning and multi-sport play programs for deserving youth.

If you’re in the area, you can buy tickets here.

Another long break for Erakovic


Croatia-born Kiwi Marina Erakovic was the No. 5 junior in the world in 2005.

She beat the best players of her era and had junior doubles Slam wins at the Australian and US Opens.

Even then, she had physical woes. She retired or defaulted in her last three junior events.

But as a pro, it’s been little better. Erakovic has missed significant time with injuries to both hips.

Erakovic, now 29, announced Wednesday she would miss the entire Australian summer as she deals with an ongoing back injury.

She reached No. 39 in singles in 2012 and No. 25 in doubles in 2013.

Larcher de Brito opens doggy hotel


Portugal’s Michelle Larcher de Brito, known for her, er, noisy on-court presence, now finds herself in noisy company.

The 24-year-old, a promising prospect who topped out at No. 76 in 2009, has been mired on the U.S. ITF circuit the last few years with only occasional forays to the WTA level.

She hasn’t played since July.

But with her parents Caroline and Antonio (her longtime coach) she has opened a doggy hotel in Bradenton, Fla. called BarksBNB. The company was registered a month ago.

It’s just a few miles from the IMG Academy, where she grew up.

Seeing the sights on the ITF Circuit


The ITF Pro Circuit can be a big challenge, as players work to earn precious ranking points a long, long way from home.

But sometimes, there are moments when they can take advantage of and appreciate the opportunity they have to see parts of the world they never might have otherwise.

Canadian player Petra Januskova (who played collegiately at Penn State) is in Stellenbosch, South Africa for a series of tourneys.  

She and some other players got to the top of Table Mountain to see the breathtaking vistas above Cape Town.  More here, here, here and here.


Brits win Master’U championship


The strong American squads have won the Master’U university championships in Lille, France eight of the last nine years.

But the Brits broke that stretch of dominance Sunday, beating the Americans 4-2 to win the title.

They were led by Maia Lumsden and Jonny O’Mara (University of Stirling).

O’Mara, 22, reached a career high in doubles of No. 152 on the ATP Tour just over a month ago and has played pro nearly full-time the last four years, with a few breaks here and there.

Lumsden (No. 527) has played 24 pro events this year in seven different countries.