Mahut, Roger-Vasselin to team on grass

The partnership between Nicolas Mahut and Jürgen Melzer seems to have ended with their first-round loss at Roland Garros.

And as men’s doubles is playing musical chairs mid-season, Mahut has ended up with the summer partner he may have wanted all along, countryman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

The two have signed on for Queen’s and Wimbledon.

Manwhile, Melzer is teaming up with countryman Oliver Marach at Halle and Wimbledon (Marach just broke up with partner Mate Pavic).

And what of Ivan Dodig, Roger-Vasselin’s longtime partner?

He’ll play with countryman Marin Cilic at Queen’s.

Wimbledon? No word yet.

Bouchard hits Lausanne clay for one-off

Eugenie Bouchard didn’t play any clay-court tournaments leading up to the French Open, where she lost in the first round to Lesia Tsurenko.

But she is playing one after, in Lausanne immediately following Wimbledon.

The 25-year-old reached the semifinals there a year ago when it was held in Gstaad. And so, she has 110 ranking points to defend.

Bouchard hasn’t entered either of the two clay-court events the following week, in Palermo, Italy and Jurmala, Latvia.

So it’s a clay one-off, between Wimbledon and the hard-court tournaments in the U.S. and Canada this summer.

Murray to return (in doubles) at Queen’s

Good news for Andy Murray fans looking for him to return on the grass after his hip surgery.

The 32-year-old plans to play Queen’s Club, just two weeks before Wimbledon, in doubles with old friend Feliciano Lopez.

Murray hasn’t played doubles since teaming up with Dan Evans at Indian Wells in 2017 (they actually beat Lopez and Marc Lopez there in the first round).

But of course it’s not about that. It’s about being on court again.

The two have never played together. They squeezed in last with Lopez’s doubles ranking (No. 51) and Murray’s protected singles rankings (No. 2)

Wozniak begins coaching career in Cancun

In addition to starting a marketing job with Elixir, Canadian Aleksandra Wozniacki has also kicked off her coaching career.

The 31-year-old, who retired at the end of 2018, is in Cancun, Mexico this week at a $15,000 entry-level ITF event.

Wozniak did a coaching certification course just two weeks ago in Toronto (former pros get to skip a couple of levels).

And she’s already on the job.

Two young Canadians were in the Cancun draw: Alexandra Vagramov (a Vancouverite who turns 18 in two weeks and is headed to UCLA) and Jada Bui (17 in February, from the Toronto suburbs). 

If Fed’s out, Shapo’s a seed

A pleasant surprise at the Rome draw Friday when it was announced that Roger Federer was a late add.

At the time, Federer was on the court in Madrid, in the quarterfinals against Dominic Thiem.

Quick to press after the loss, he said he’d head home and make the call this weekend.

If he pulls out before Sunday’s schedule is released, No. 9 seed Marin Cilic would take his No. 3 seed spot (and the bye).

Denis Shapovalov, the highest-ranked unseeded player, would move into Cilic’s spot against wild card Andrea Basso as the No. 17 seed – a way better draw.

Nashville a likely spot pre US Open

With the New Haven license sold to Asia (for $15 million), the race has been on to fill the void.

We’re told Nashville (Vanderbilt University) is the likely destination for a replacement tournament, although it was supposed to be announced last month.

Nashville does have some WTA history.

As well, a group led by Jerry Solomon (whose company ran those Madison Square Garden exhibitions) wants to buy the Quebec City tournament and move it to that same pre-US Open week.

The Chicago Challenger, held the second week of the US Open, won’t return there in 2019.

US Open looking for “on the ball” types

It’s that time of the year again, when the US Open holds tryouts for ballpersons.

The minimum age is 14. But there seems to be no maximum age as long as you can do the job.

The tryouts are June 4 and 5, from 5-8 p.m. on site at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

Ballpersons for both the net and back positions will be evaluated by US Open officials on their “overall athletic skills”.

The big to-do last year was when the USTA announced it was “putting less emphasis on a single skill set” – i.e., being able to throw the ball.

Pliskova narrows it to one coach from two

This isn’t breaking news, but last week world No. 5 Karolina Pliskova announced that after beginning the season with two coaches, she has narrowed it down to one.

Pliskova will continue to work with former Wimbledon champion and Spanish Davis Cup captain Conchita Martinez.

Rennae Stubbs, who also had commitments in television, will no longer be in the coaching picture.

“I thanked Rennae for quality cooperation and wish her good luck in her personal as well as professional life,” was the statement on Pliskova’s website.

Japan ITF surface a tricky one

Beyond the clay, grass and hard courts, another surface remains in use at the pro level.

You might have to go to Japan to find it. And it’s a tricky one.

Called Omni Pro Court, it’s soft like (fake) grass. But it’s slipperier than grass. There’s top sand on it. But you can’t slide on it like clay.

It takes a kick serve like clay. And a slice skids on it like grass.

But when you hit it flat, you’re not rewarded. 

It’s being used at $60K events in Fukuoka this week, and Kurume next week.

Prague champ Teichmann right back on

Much ado was made about the fact that Rabat champion Maria Sakkari and finalist Jo Konta had to play their first-round matches at the Premier Mandatory in Madrid the day after their final.

Ignored in all this were Prague champion Jil Teichmann and runnerup Karolina Muchova.

They, too, had a tournament this week.

Muchova took a late pass on the $60K ITF in Cagnes-sur-Mer. Teichmann, ranked so low she was in qualifying on the original list, ended up in the main draw and is going as planned.

She drew … countrywoman Timea Bacsinszky in the first round.