Gambling sponsorship still in tennis

The ITF spent millions on the recently-released report on match-fixing

At the French Open, a past history somewhat tarnished the great semifinal run by Marco Cecchinato of Italy.

And a suspension cost Nicolas Kicker of Argentina Paris, and many more tournaments to come.

But that still hasn’t stopped ATP events from accepting sponsorship from online gambling concerns.

Last week in Stuttgart, the LeoVegas online betting site got prominent air time, with multiple signs around the centre court.

It definitely sends a mixed message – to say the least.

Shapovalov tumbles out of Queen’s

Canadian teenage sensation Denis Shapovalov is now 0-for-2 on grass, as he prepares for his second Wimbledon.

After being upset in the first round of Stuttgart by Prajnesh Gunneswaran, a 28-year-old for whom it was a first career ATP Tour win, he went out to veteran Gilles Muller in the first round of Queen’s Monday.

Two tight tiebreaks. Shapovalov never earned a break point on Muller’s serve and won just two points against his first serve.

His ranking will surely drop. But Shapovalov has another shot at getting on the victory board next week at Eastbourne.

Timea Bacsinszky returns – in a 25K

Former top-10 player Timea Bacsinszky’s ranking is down to No. 312 after last year’s French Open semifinal points dropped off.

She was out because of injuries from last year’s Wimbledon through February, and is 0-4 in singles matches in 2018 (although she did win the doubles in St. Petersburg).

Bacsinszky celebrated her 29th birthday June 8. And she returns to the court this week for the first time in six weeks.

But not at a WTA event.

She’s playing a $25,000 ITF tournament on clay in Montpellier, France, unseeded.

Bacsinszky is entered at Wimbledon; her ranking at the deadline was No. 63.

Dan Evans: Wimbledon WC, or no?

As the mysterious Committee meets Monday to determine wild cards for this year’s Wimbledon, there is plenty of speculation about the fate of Dan Evans.

The Brit was in the top 50 when, a year ago, he held a press conference to announce he’d tested positive for cocaine in April.

He returned the first week of May. And in two grass-court Challengers the last two weeks Evans has gone 10-2, reaching the Nottingham final last weekend.

Will the tennis be enough? Or will the AELTC make Evans pay the price for the non performance-enhancing positive test? 

Stay tuned.

Milos Raonic back in black

With all of the injured former top-10 players slow to come back, here comes Milos Raonic again.

The 27-year-old Canadian has missed big chunks of time over the last few years – although surgery was mostly not involved. 

Somehow, he picks up right where he left off. The only exception was earlier this year, when a knee issue compromised his off-season fitness.

After missing the Rome and French Open, Raonic returned this week in Stuttgart.

He defeated Mirza Basic, Marton Fucsovics, No. 3 seed Tomas Berdych and defending champion Lucas Pouille to reach the final without losing a set.  

Evans gets wild card into Queen’s Club

The Queen’s Club tournament, which has dealt with withdrawals from two top-five drawing cards in Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, has extended a wild card to Brit Dan Evans.

Evans served a one-year suspension after testing positive for cocaine and a metabolite last April at the Barcelona tournament.

He held a press conference just around this time last year, at a hotel near this very tournament, announcing the positive test. He was ranked No. 50.

Evans, 28, returned in early May with no ranking. He’ll be at least inside the top 400 after this week – perhaps the top 300.

Another comeback: Bojana Jovanovski

She is Bojana Jovanovski Petrovic now, after marrying Milos Petrovic in Nov. 2016.

And she’s back, in the qualifying at the WTA event in Birmingham this weekend. She’ll face wild card Jodie Anna Burrage.

Jovanovic, still just 26, was ranked No. 32 in 2014. She’s No. 927 now, after being out from the 2016 French Open (going 0-5 on the season) and all of 2017. Her protected ranking is No. 126.

She had two wrist surgeries and a shoulder operation.

Jovanovski played a match in February, a couple of ITFs over the winter and lost her first match at grass-court ITFs the last two weeks.

Félix Auger-Aliassime to skip the grass?

If it’s far too early in Félix Auger-Aliassime’s career to turn him into a clay-court specialist, it seems that’s his path at the moment.

The 17-year-old Canadian isn’t entered in any grass-court events  – not even (barring a last-minute entry) the Wimbledon qualifying, for which the deadline was Monday.

Instead, after returning home following seven weeks on the European clay, he’s entered in two more clay-court Challengers in Lyon and Blois, starting June 11.

Auger-Aliassime was a singles quarterfinalist and reached the doubles final with pal Denis Shapovalov in the Wimbledon junior event in 2016, at age 15.

Kyrgios already on the grass

The elbow couldn’t withstand best-of-five sets on clay.

So Nick Kyrgios passed on Roland Garros and headed straight to the grass.

The Aussie is at a Challenger in Surbiton, England this week – along with just about every other Aussie you can think of, save Bernard Tomic.

Even Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt is playing doubles.

It’s Kyrgios’s first Challenger in four years, since he went from the qualies to the title in Nottingham, on the grass.

Kyrgios played doubles with American Jackson Withrow.

They lost in the first round. 

But he’s back on court.

Anett Kontaveit makes coaching change

Anett Kontaveit made the round of 16 in Paris, is ranked No. 24 in the world.

But she’s just announced a coaching change on her website.

The Estonian had been working with Glenn Schaap for two years.

She has signed up for a three-month trial with Brit Nigel Sears, who has a long list of successful female players on his resumé.

The less-happy part of her announcement is where she congratulates Schaap and his family on a new baby, arriving soon.

In the same press release where she announces he’s out of a job. :-O