On Court
1 On Court Sources: Tennis.Life

Aus Open WC in the bag for Sock

Jack Sock has the USTA's Australian Open wild card in the bag. To surpass the 180 points Sock earned in Paris, another American would have had to win one of the Challengers the last two weeks – plus this week's point-rich event in Houston. There's no chance now. Charlottesville champion Tommy Paul and Knoxville winner Reilly Opelka both are playing Champaign this week. Even if one of them wins it, they can't earn enough ranking points to pass Sock. Sock is close enough to the Melbourne main draw, at No. 106, that playing for second is worth the effort.

2 On Court Sources: New York Times, Tennis.Life

Anderson signs Guinot patch deal

You've seen Guinot (and Mary Cohr) patches on a lot of players on center courts at Grand Slams. Svetlana Kuznetsova has won two majors wearing it. Guinot Mary Cohr, the French skin care and beauty products company, remains unknown to most tennis fans outside that country. But after years of these one-day, no-commitment deals in high-profile matches, Guinot has signed a player to a longer-term sponsorship patch deal. Kevin Anderson will wear the patch in London, and throughout 2019. The NY Times had an interesting piece on the Guinot patch strategy last year.

3 On Court Sources: ATP Tour

ATP goes green at the O2

The ATP is debuting a new initiative at the Tour Finals that hopefully will become a staple of the regular tour stops. Players and their teams are being given reusable bottles for on-court drinks and sealed glass bottles for preparation of those on-court drinks. This is optional. You'd expect ATP Player Council vice-president Kevin Anderson, who has strong feelings about setting an example in that area, as one strongly among those on board. Also available are water coolers and fountains for staff and media and reusable, take-home cups for alcoholic drinks consumed by the fans.  

4 On Court Sources: Golf Digest, Tennis.Life, The Guardian, The Telegraph

Nadal injury scuttles Saudi exho

Novak Djokovic confirmed Friday the controversial exhibition in Saudi Arabia involving the Serb and Rafael Nadal is off. When asked about it at the Paris Masters, they reiterated their longstanding commitment, but said they were looking into it. The reason it's off is Nadal's minor ankle surgery, performed Monday. "It's not happening," Djokovic said in London. The Telegraph reports Tiger Woods turned down more than $3 million to play a tournament in Saudi Arabia, although without specifying why. European Tour chief Keith Pelley says "The Middle East is very important to the European Tour.” End quote.

5 On Court Sources: YouTube

Petra gets pranked in Prague

Petra Kvitova knew there was going to be a special guest for this Tag Heuer promo. But she legitimately didn't know who it was. And so, this elderly fellow swatting a wooden racket was a bit of a revelation – until the style gave away ... countryman Tomas Berdych. Berdych, who hasn't played since losing in the first round of Queen's Club because of a chronic back issue, underwent a serious hair and makeup transformation to be literally unrecognizable. But even more impressive was the way he swung the vintage piece of equipment.

Off Court
1 Off Court Sources: Haitilibre.com, Twitter

Osaka named Haiti goodwill ambassador

It was a homecoming – of sorts – for American-Japanese US Open champion Naomi Osaka, when she made a five-day trip with her family to Haiti last week. It was only the second time Osaka had visited her father's homeland; the first was in October 2017. She's a much bigger deal now. Osaka was named a goodwill ambassador for the promotion of Haitian sport by president Jovanel Moïse. She received the key to the city of Jacmel from mayor Loudie César. And she also visited the pre-school founded by her father. Jacmel is father Léonard François's hometown.

2 Off Court Sources: Twitter

Retired Benneteau gets early wakeup call

France's Julien Benneteau shared on Twitter that the anti-doping officer came to his house at 7:10 a.m. Sunday morning. With the 2018 season over, the 36-year-old's been retired for a few weeks.  Too bad. For once, his son was still asleep. It was only a urine test, not a blood test. It didn't take long. Still, he questioned the usefulness of wasting resources . But until he officially asks the ITF to remove him from the program, it's always a possibility. (No, he didn't think Roger Federer arranged it, after what Benneteau said on the radio last weekend).

3 Off Court Sources: Tennis Industry News

“Ten” series debuts on Tennis Channel

Sunday night, the Tennis Channel debuted a series called "The Ten". It's an eight-part series of hour-long programs debating – as you might expect – the 10 top choices in a variety of categories. The series, which will be broadcast weekly until Dec. 30, is hosted by American Pie actor Jason Biggs. Sunday's episode featured one of the bigger debates in tennis: the 10 best male players of all time. That final three or four, no doubt, would be hotly contested. Next Sunday is the 10 best women, followed by "Trailblazers", "Seasons", "Hotheads", "Upsets", "Americans" and "Rivalries".

4 Off Court Sources: ITF Tennis

Two sponsors added at Fed Cup final

The ITF announced new two sponsors for last weekend's Fed Cup final. On the eve of the tie, it added KPMG, a consulting services provider in the Czech Republic. "The company shares the ITF’s desire to create more opportunities for women to become leaders in sport, and we are delighted to partner with them this weekend," ITF president David Haggerty said. On Oct. 19, ITF announced a weekend partnership with Toray, the materials manufacturer that is the title sponsor of the Tokyo in September.  It seemed a bit piecemeal, much like the Fed Cup itself these days.

5 Off Court Sources: ATP Tour, Tennis.Life

Tennis stars hit the London Tube

The players' boat rides to the O2 during the ATP Tour Finals are somewhat iconic by now. But on Friday, they went everyman – on the London Underground (by the credit on this video, sponsored). The ride along the Jubilee Line from North Greenwich to Westminster takes about 15 minutes, maybe a little longer during rush hour as the players set out on their walk on the wild side. Can you just imagine the people in the Tube when they saw them? The players were headed to the Houses of Parliament for the tournament's official launch.