Former top-10 Bonder hits seniors circuit

American Lisa Bonder, a 1984 French Open quarterfinalist and a former top 10 player, debuted on the seniors circuit last week in Florida.

Bonder, now 54, lost just four games in winning the singles title – in the 40s category.

She went 2-1 in the 30s round-robin and teamed up with former pro, Jenny Klitch, to win the doubles title in the 50s.

Bonder – listed as “Bonder-Kreiss” as a pro, and “Bonder-Kerkorian” in this seniors debut, has quite the history off-court.

But clearly, once you have the skills, they never leave you. 

It’s SouZA, not SouSA – this matters

The similarity in names between Joao SOUZA of Brazil and Joao SOUSA of Portugal was always sort of funny.

Even the Getty Images archives confuse the two

But in the wake of the Brazilian SOUZA’s lifetime ban and $200,000 fine for multiple match-fixing offences, it’s pretty important to not confuse the two.

That didn’t happen. And the crap websites just cut-pasted (it’s still not fixed).

SOUSA is, understandably, furious. “The difference between S and Z is apparently small but in this case ends up being enormous as it associates me with something unimaginable,” he wrote.

(Pic above is … Souza).

Besties Rublev and Zverev hug it out

You know who needed a hug Monday night?

Andrey Rublev.

Who better to help the standard one-armer escalate into a gimme-some-love, two-arm embrace than Alexander Zverev – the guy you’ve known since you were 10 (and just beat you).

Zverev talked his ear off. Afterwards, he recapped.

“I just reminded him how far we got together. Because a lot of juniors, a lot of young kids would dream of playing fourth round of a Grand Slam against his best friend. So just reflect on that. I told him that we’re going to play a lot more great matches,” Zverev said.

Court ’70 Slam recognized at the AO

There was a lot of debate about Tennis Australia  trying to straddle the fence in “recognizing” noted anti-LGTBQ screeder Margaret Court on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her calendar Grand Slam.

It’s not really a fence you can straddle, although they were in a tough situation.

In the end, a ceremony on Rod Laver Arena just prior to the Nick Kyrgios – Rafael Nadal match included a video of her accomplishments on the big screen.

Rod Laver himself came out to hand her a big replica of the women’s singles trophy. 

She smiled, posed for photos, said nothing.

New ITF in Kentucky could star Bouchard

A new $100,000 ITF women’s event will debut in the U.S., a logical back-to-back with the longstanding tournament with similar prize money in Midland, Michigan.

It will be held in … Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Which you’ve probably not heard of.

It’s about a 15-minute drive from downtown Lexington.

And it boasts a fantastic-looking club with 12 indoor and nine outdoor courts.

Canadian Genie Bouchard, her current live ranking at No. 268, enteredthe tournament but with the proviso “main draw only”.  She’d need a wild card, at this point.  Bouchard was quickly dispatched Monday at the Newport Beach Challenger 6-1, 6-2 by Alexa Glatch.

WTA tourney move a little murky

The relocation of the Budapest WTA tournament to Debrecen feels fraught.

The event (owned by a company partly owned by IMG, license leased to the Hungarian federation) is due to begin in two weeks.

There’s no mention of the event at Főnix Arena, listed as the tournament venue.

Qualifying is due to start the Sunday. A big fitness event takes over the hall Saturday.

From what we’re told, the tournament will happen.

They’re just not sure … where.

Possibly in Győr, population 130,000, nearer to Bratislava then Budapest.

Budapest is the site of the new Fed Cup finals in April.

Raonic believes in the sleeve – again

Milos Raonic is back, seemingly healthy, and into the third round of the Australian Open.

You know what else is back?

The iconic sleeve.

Raonic first donned the sleeve at the Miami Open (then the Sony Open) in … 2014. It spawned its own Twitter account.

The anti-inflammatory gel he had put on his arm had a bad reaction to the sun (we’ve been there; it’s not pretty).

“I was training in the offseason and actually had a skin rash from the sun – sort of the same way it started back then, and it sort of stayed around,” Raonic said.

Kyrgios, Anisimova team up in mixed

A couple of Americans who had early exits in the singles are staying for mixed doubles at the Australian Open.

Venus Williams snagged world No. 1 men’s doubles player Juan Sebastian Cabal.

Amanda Anisimova will team up with Nike stablemate Nick Kyrgios.

As well, Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski has a new doubles partner – the fabulous Finn, Henri Kontinen.

The ATP Tour player with whom she had played the Slams in recent years, Mate Pavic of Croatia, is not playing mixed this year.

Leander Paes, who didn’t get into the men’s doubles, got a wild card into the mixed with Jelena Ostapenko.

Fichman squeaks into Oz dubs draw

Sharon Fichman and partner Cornelia Lister of Sweden were the first alternate for the Australian Open women’s doubles draw.

They got in when Johanna Larsson and Rebecca Peterson, Lister’s countrywomen, pulled out and faced Australian wild cards Jaimee Fourlis and Arina Rodionova.

After a 5-2 start to the first set, Fichman and Lister bowed out 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Fichman reached the semis in Shenzhen (with Miyu Kato) and the quarterfinals in Hobart (with Kateryna Bondarenko). 

She ended her comeback season at No. 87, and will be about 10 spots above that after the Australian Open.

A year ago, she was at No. 395.

Yaroslava Shvedova to return in Doha

Yaroslava Shvedova, the Russian-born Kazakh who hasn’t played a match since the 2017 French Open, may be back on the match court soon.

The 32-year-old three-time Grand Slam singles quarterfinalist, who won the Wimbledon and US Open doubles with Vania King in 2010 (and was ranked a career-high No. 3 in 2016) is entered in Doha in a few weeks.

After that, Indian Wells and Miami with a protected ranking of No. 47.

Shvedova originally was out because of an ankle injury, and surgery.

Then, she doubled down on the recent bonanza of WTA moms and had … twins in Oct. 2018 (one of each!).