Federer back update: “It’s okay”

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Roger Federer offered a back update when he arrived in Prague Tuesday, ahead of the Laver Cup exhibition event.

“Back’s okay. Yeah, it was important to rest, for me,” Federer said, with a definite  emphasis on that last part. “I was kind of beat up after the US Open. Just tired, and many things in my body were hurting.

“Look, I’m going to try to make myself available to play as much as possible. At the end, really, it should be Bjorn Borg’s decision. I’ll give him all the information I have. If he feels I can be of value, I’ll play.”

Blake testifies in 2015 arrest case

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Former world No. 4 James Blake was in New York Tuesday to testify against the police officer charged with using inappropriate force, in the now-infamous incident in front of one of the US Open hotels in 2015.

Blake writes in his book that the police claimed he was “was never manhandled or handcuffed,” per the Associated Press story. Blake tracked down video through hotel security personnel that proved otherwise

The cop, 40-year-old James Frascatore, turned down a deal that would only see him lose vacation days. The judge will recommend far more severe sanctions, AP reported.

Mariusz Fyrstenberg retirement tribute

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With no ATP Tour event in his native land, the big Challenger event in Szczecin, Poland held an official retirement ceremony for doubles star Mariusz Fyrstenberg this week.

Fyrstenberg is only 37 – younger than many active doubles players. He played his last match in the semis of the Sofia Open in February.

He won 18 Tour titles. Most of them were with countryman Marcin Matkowski. He also reached 26 other finals and a career high of No. 6.

Fyrstenberg and Matkowski reached the US Open final in 2011, and the year-end championships six times.

Captain Hewitt disappointed and proud

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Belgium defeating Australia in this weekend’s Davis Cup semifinal was a big surprise to most people.

And that was true even if top Aussie Nick Kyrgios was far from 100 per cent. Not too many would expected Steve Darcis to emerge as a hero.

Still, Aussie captain Lleyton Hewitt was disappointed.

“It’s a bit hard to talk about things right now. Things are obviously pretty raw at the moment,” he said. “We left it all out there, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.”

Kyrgios and Kokk tell bad dad jokes

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In the leadup to this weekend’s Davis Cup semifinal ties, the players have done a few of these videos (the French and Serbs played “Game of Phones”).

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis (who ended up being substituted for by John Millman shortly before Friday’s kickoff) traded bad dad jokes.

When it comes to those, it’s really all in the delivery.

Here’s an example:

“What’s the difference between a snowman and a snowwoman”? 

The answer: SNOWBALLS!

Get it? (Ask your dad).

Olivo explains the underhand serve

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Renzo Olivo made a cheeky move at 5-5 in the second set of his match against Taro Daniel in Poland this week.

An underhand serve – and it was an ace.

Olivo unfortunately felt the need to explain himself after social media types thought he was disrespecting his opponent, etc. 

The Argentine explained that the wind was making the ball toss really tricky. He also thought it was fun for the fans. But he didn’t do it to disrespect his opponent.

(It didn’t work; Daniel broke him, and served out the match).

Nadal gets home after US Open win

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It’s always a big deal when Rafael Nadal goes home to Mallorca, even though he goes home all the time.

But this time, after his win at the US Open, it’s especially sweet even if it was brief. Nadalonly had two days’ break planned before another brief out-of-town trip.

From the looks of it, coach Carlos Moyá’s little girls are pretty enamored with Tio Rafa.

Cornet wins French Open (of padel)

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France’s Alizé Cornet isn’t just a great tennis player. She’s a great padel player, too. 

Cornet and her boyfriend (and agent) Michael Kuzaj won another big mixed padel title in France last weekend. Kuzaj played college tennis in Indiana for two years.

She’s also building her own seven-court padel club in Lyon (as it happens, Kuzaj also is president of a padel court construction company).

It’s a great game – great for a tennis player’s reflexes and footwork, too.

Coaches get trophies at the US Open

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Hopefully this will become a Slam a trend – not to mention a way for tennis coaches, typically unsung except for the numerous TV shots in the players’ box, to get a little more credit.

The US Open handed out trophies to the coaches this year in addition to the players. That included Louis Cayer and Alan Macdonald, who work with mixed doubles champ Jamie Murray.

What if there is more than one coach, typically the case?

Well, they’ll have to share.

Federer gives kid “the full treatment”

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A lot of players do this sort of thing.

But when Roger Federer does it, it’s particularly well-covered.

This one was great, though, as young cancer survivor Marc Krajekian got to meet his idol and inspiration.

“I’m happy I was helpful without knowing it. And for me also, it was nice to meet someone like him,” said Federer, who also hit some balls with Krajekian. “I wanted to make sure he got the full treatment, and the best experience possible.”