The case of the Penn ball mixup


It’s something that can happen at joint events where different balls are used (why is a subject for another day).

In Cincinnati, the men use the Penn ATP extra duty ball. The women use the Championship regular duty ball. The markings are different. But the cans are significantly different.

Alexandr Dolgopolov noticed the problem after six points with new balls and Nick Kyrgios serving.

After a Tennis.Life forensic investigation, we don’t blame the linesman in charge. Looks like the women’s balls were stuffed into a men’s can.

Nastase to appeal ITF ban


Ilie Nastase, who was handed a suspension and significant fine in the wake of his behaviour as Romania’s Fed Cup captain back in April, will appeal his ban, according to the British Press Association.

The provisional suspension saw the 71-year-old forbidden to take any official role in an ITF-run event until 2021. It doesn’t apply to WTA or ATP events.

The case will be heard before an independent tribunal. 

“No further information will be issued until the tribunal has reached its decision as the process is confidential,” was the statement from the ITF.

Air Felix returns for USO qualifying


He made his mark with a Challenger victory in France at age 16 just a few months ago. But the other Canadian teen sensation, Félix Auger-Aliassime, has been on the sidelines.

A wrist injury (another one!) was the culprit. The Quebecer, who turned 17 the day Roger Federer turned 36, had to miss what was to be his Rogers Cup main draw debut last week.

But Auger-Aliassime confirms to he will be in New York next week, to play his first Grand Slam qualifying event. He’ll join his good buddy Denis Shapovalov.

Shapovalov run brings boffo ratings


Canadian Denis Shapovalov’s run at the Rogers Cup last week brought boffo ratings.

The Next-Gen semifinal matchup between Shapovalov and Alexander Zverev Saturday night peaked at 741,600 on English-language Sportsnet. It was the most-watched tennis match ever on Sportsnet, which doesn’t air the Grand Slams.

Despite a much smaller reach, the match peaked at 777,000 on French-language TVA.

That’s more than 10 per cent of the entire French-speaking population in Canada.

Linz now “Upper Austria Ladies Linz”


The WTA tournament in Linz, held in October, announced a new title sponsor and  logo this week. 

(A pink court? Okay.)

The spin was all positive. The change to “Upper Austria Ladies’ Linz” will “document the relationship with the state of Upper Austria and the city of Linz even more intensively.”

But the truth is that after 26 years, main sponsor Generali Gruppe didn’t renew its contract. Yet the men’s ATP 250 event in Austria in July remains the “Generali Open.”

Big question: what will happen to the adorable Flöwis, the Generali mascots?

Nicolas Almagro hits the Dominican


A former top-10 player with 13 career titles, Nicolas Almagro’s ranking is down to No. 91 because of a series of injuries.

Rather than play the qualifying in Cincinnati, the Spaniard (who turns 32 next week) chose a Challenger – on clay, no less – in the Dominican Republic.

It’s his first tournament since injuring his knee at the French Open and subsequent surgery.

The No. 2 seed’s first opponent is a 26-year-old ranked No. 751. And his doubles partner is a 22-year-old Brazilian ranked No. 413.

In tennis, you can’t be proud. You just go and play.

Don’t forget the watch, fellas!


One of the rituals after a match – and especially before a trophy ceremony – is the donning of the watch.

These are premium sponsorships. And from the looks of things before the ceremony Sunday at the Rogers Cup, 20-year-old Alexander Zverev already has it down pat.

He wasted no time fishing his Richard Mille out of his bag. (Rafael Nadal also endorses Richard Mille)

The veteran Roger Federer, long an endorser of Rolex, does this in his sleep by now.

Record attendance in Montreal


The Rogers Cup broke its own one-week (non-joint event) attendance record last week in Montreal..

The weather was great. The breakout run of Canadian Denis Shapovalov created major buzz. The return of Roger Federer for the first time since 2011 also was a big factor. The Swiss’s matches all took place during the day, when more tickets are available. 

The new record is 216,097 fans, breaking the old record of 213,760 set in … 2011. There was no rain at all that year, and the top eight in the world all made the quarter-finals (a rare occurrence).

Bouchard to skip Cincy qualifying


In an unsurprising move, Genie Bouchard has decided to skip next week’s Premier event in Cincinnati.

She was a long way from making the main draw, and would have had to play the qualifying.

That likely wasn’t the problem as much as, given the state of her confidence, she may well have struggled to get through two matches.

Instead, she likely will meet up with coach Thomas Hogstedt for the first time since Wimbledon, and train down in Florida. Next up should be New Haven.

Shapovalov did it on his own


Tennis Canada no doubt is proud of the results 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov has produced this week at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

But they didn’t develop him. He went his own way.

“For me, it was just basically I wanted to stay with my team, with my family. My physio, my fitness coach … If I have to go to Montreal (to the national centre), I have to leave all that, start with a new coach, live with a random family, live in a different place. That’s the biggest reason why,” Shapovalov said last year.