On Court
1 On Court Sources: Tennis Takes

Madison Keys picks coach for 2019

Two of the best in the women's game have made their coaching calls for 2019. And both have gone outside the regular pool. Angelique Kerber opted for countryman Rainer Schuettler. Madison Keys, who has worked with various and sundry – most prominent among them former champion Lindsay Davenport – has chosen now-former Tennys Sandgren coach Jim Madrigal. Both men will be making their WTA debuts. During two years with Madrigal, Sandgren progressed from essentially a Challenger player to the Australian Open quarterfinals. "We’re both excited and are looking forward to a productive 2019," Madrigal told Tennis.Life.

2 On Court Sources: Necker Cup

Branson finally wins his own event

It turns out zillionaire Richard Branson only needed the help of a retired Canadian doubles star to finally win his own event. Branson, the impetus behind the annual Necker Cup hit-and-giggle on his private isle in the British Virgin Islands, teamed up with Daniel Nestor to take the title on Wednesday over Kirk Long and Mike Bryan in the final (Oops, that's the "2018 Manuka Doctor Necker Cup presented by Metal"). A group of well-heeled tennis players joined Bjorn Borg, Caroline Wozniacki, Tennys Sandgren, Genie Bouchard and others a week of fun, with a charity component.

3 On Court Sources: Tennis Australia, Twitter

Stosur going back to her roots

Samantha Stosur, who turns 35 in March, is kicking off her third decade as a pro. And she seems to be going back to her roots. Already a month into preseason, Stosur just finished two weeks with Nick Watkins, her very first coach as a 10-year-old. And she's asked Watkins to start the season with her. "It will be a little bit different for him – he’s not been on the tour as such, but it’s going to be a new experience for him. I loved it, so thought let’s give it a go," Stosur told Tennis Australia.

4 On Court Sources: Tennis.Life

Draws set for Abu Dhabi exhibition

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will be the top seeds at the Abu Dhabi exhibition that unofficially kicks off the 2019 season Dec. 27-29. In the six-man exhibition, the winner between Kevin Anderson and Hyeon Chung will play Nadal. The winner of the the match between Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov will play Djokovic. There will be matches for third and fifth places as well as the final. In the meantime, Venus Williams is still set for 5 p.m. on the last day, Dec. 29, just before the men's final. But her opponent remains unknown. It's a bit ... strange.

5 On Court Sources: Tennis Australia, YouTube

Feed your tennis jones with AO playoff

If you're looking for some tennis to watch during the offseason, the Australian Open wild-card playoffs can fill the hole. The Aussies will square off Dec. 10-16.  The Asia-Pacific wild-card playoff wraps up this weekend in Zhuhai, China. Notable among the contenders is former No. 14 Shuai Peng, the top seed on the women's side whose singles ranking is down to No. 182. Peng has served the three-month suspension assessed for her part in a bizarre "coercion" effort involving a change in doubles partners at Wimbledon. She plays the final against Kai-Chen Chang late Saturday night, EDT.

Off Court
1 Off Court Sources: Emporio Armani, Instagram, Twitter

The Fogninis go all-out Armani

The family that poses for underwear ads together, stays together. Fabio Fognini, 31, and Flavia Pennetta, 36, the Italian lovebirds who married in June, 2016 and had son Federico in May, 2017, are letting it all hang out. The two are the new ambassadors for Emporio Armani and the EA7 sportswear collection. There's a kids' collection, too. Does that mean there might be a third Fognini embarking on a modelling career? Doubtful. The Fogninis have been extra careful never to show their young son's face, despite all the pics they've posted of him.

2 Off Court Sources: Tennis.Life, Twitter

Arvidsson named Båstad TD

Former world No. 29 Sofia Arvidsson retired in 2015 at age 31. Now, the hard-hitting righthander has a new gig. She was announced as tournament director for the new WTA 125K event in Båstad, Sweden during the second week of Wimbledon.  It's rather a strange turn of events. The WTA had an International-level event in Båstad from 2009-17, a continuation of the old Stockholm tourney. But for 2018, its license was sold to the Russian Federation for its new clay-court event in Moscow. In the meantime, there's zero mention of the Båstad tournament on the 2019 schedule.

3 Off Court Sources: Wilson tennis

New Wilson Clash looks cool

The type of racket you choose is a matter of personal preference and feel. But one thing Wilson has done well in recent years is to color outside the lines with cosmetics. Sometimes that's half the battle. Their lines have often been eyecatching. The Ultra/Burn/Blades with a dark base colour and standout blue, orange and green accents stand out. They introduced the "Camo" version. And they even have a racket customization feature where you can choose your own. This new one, the Clash prototype, follows that theme. You can apply to play-test it here.

4 Off Court Sources: Instagram, Twitter

Marcelo Rios sighting at IMG

Former No. 1 Marcelo Rios wrote on Instagram recently that he's in better shape now than when he played – as evidenced by his muscled look. But can he still play? The Chilean was spotted at the IMG Academy hitting tennis balls and, if the report is legit, looking good doing it. Now 42, Rios (who said after his career he was twice diagnosed with Asperger's, which could explain some of his behavior) lives in Sarasota, Fla. On his third marriage, seems to have found happiness. He was training for an exhibition with Nicolas Lapentti in Chile Dec. 21.

5 Off Court Sources: WTATennis.com, YouTube

WTA picks top-5 outfits for ’18

Judging by the five outfits chosen by the WTA as its best of the 2018 season, it has not been a banner year for women's tennis fashion. It happens. At least they didn't choose the peculiar Nike combination of pink (technically: " guava ice") dress over longer shorties that combined orange and green (officially: Orange Peel and Rainforest). Serena Williams's catsuit made the cut, hopefully more for the statement it made than the actual design. Also making it was the early-season adidas jumpsuit and Simona Halep's "Neo Turq" Nike outfit from the French Open.