Serena’s grass-bruising fine not unusual

The size of the fine Serena Williams incurred for hurting Wimbledon’s grass  – $10,000 – raised some eyebrows.

But Wimbledon takes its grass seriously – as it should. You can’t patch it overnight.

A Daily Mail photographer caught her in the act (the Tennis.Life pic above was taken a few minutes before). There was video. 

Serena knows. She even wrote an “apology note” – to no avail.

Williams got a similar fine during a win over Christina McHale in 2016 (hilariously, the “official highlights” forgot it).

Heather Watson and Fabio Fognini are among those similarly dinged  – but not before the tournament.

Wimbledon profits a growth industry

The Daily Mail on Sunday reports that Wimbledon is the gift that keeps on giving to British tennis.

A new tax filing by the AELTC reports that for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2018, the tournament generated £256.7 million ($336.3 million US) in revenues. It reported £39.7million in pre-tax profit ($52 million).

Revenues were up nearly 18 per cent from the previous year, while the pre-tax number held steady.

More than 93 per cent of those profits were given to the British Lawn Tennis Association to do … well, whatever it is they do with all that money.

That was £7 million more than 2017.

Monday is Serena time at Met Gala

The tennis world is in Madrid.

But Serena Williams had a prior engagement: co-chair of the Met Gala in Manhattan.

Williams already made an appearance Sunday at a pre-gala party hosted by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

But the big night is Monday.

Maria Sharapova also is on hand.

The birth of the royal baby Monday was a reminder that while the WTA was in the Middle East, Williams also was in New York – hosting a lavish baby shower for friend Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

So far, Williams is still on for Rome next week.

Verdasco defends ballboy incident

A month on, Fernando Verdasco commented on the ballboy incident in Shenzhen.

Verdasco said a combination of extreme humidity, language barrier and serve clock led to the frenzied gesturing that led to the social media reaction.

Verdasco said the way people “talked”, it was as though he “punch (the kid) in the face or tell him something so rude. … Obviously my reaction with the arms was the thing that looked so bad.”

He added that he’s thanked ballkids his entire career. “And maybe one time when I did a bad gesture everyone was killing me.”

No matter what, Boris soldiers on

As Boris Becker works for Eurosport during this French Open, his life is still making the news.

First up is the fact that Becker and his second wife, Lilly, have split up after 13 years together (nine married).

Lilly Becker told the Daily Mail earlier this year that she was having a rough time, and that the pair had gone to couples’ therapy. 

Apparently in vain.

The other story – more humorous – is that his unoccupied Mallorca estate is being … occupied by “a group of hippies calling themselves the Intergalactic Relief and Rescue Command.”

Never a dull moment.

“Murray Challengers” set for May

The Daily Mail reported earlier this month that Andy Murray and the British Lawn Tennis Association had been in “confidential talks” to help his comeback from hip surgery.

True or not, the LTA has added two $100,000 Challengers to the calendar in May.

Will Murray play? His last Challenger was in Oct. 2005. 

Per the rules, Murray’s ranking prohibits him from accepting a wild card into a Challenger offering less than $75,000. So the rich purses are probably no coincidence.

He needs approval from the ATP.

If he were still in the top 10, he wouldn’t be allowed.

Lille stadium ready for DC final

It takes a lot of logistics to take half of a retractable-roofed soccer stadium and turn it into a venue for 27,000 tennis fans.

But that’s what they’ve done with Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, France, just over the border from Belgium.

They did it for the Davis Cup semi-finals against Serbia, for which a clay court was used. For the final, it’s a hard court.

The stadium’s not heated; temperatures aren’t expected to break 50F over the weekend.

France and Belgium will square off in perhaps the last, true shot for France to win the coveted chalice again.

Daily Mail: Serena to tie knot Thursday

It’s the Daily Mail, so take it as a “watch this space” more than a definite “save the date”.

But the British newspaper appears to have an impressive amount of details about a wedding on Thursday in New Orleans between Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian.

(If you can’t trust a guy named “Sebastian Shakespeare”, who can you trust?)

The Daily Mail had a scoop last month about Williams and Ohanian making a quick trip to New Orleans to scout wedding locations, and leaving by private jet. (They left the baby at home, but brought Chip).

Among the secret details of the reported Thursday nuptials:

*Wedding guests will include Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Kris Jenner (mother of the Kardashians)

*It’s all so top secret that the guests won’t even know where the wedding will take place until the day, although the Daily Mail says it has the venue nailed down.

*Williams signed an exclusive deal with Vogue’s Anna Wintour to run the wedding photos. So no cell phones allowed.

Lots more minute details in the newspaper’s exclusive, here.

Williams fierce in NYC

Meanwhile, Williams was in New York Monday night for the Glamour Women of the Year Awards.

And she looked amazing.



Being British pays off for Edmund

Kyle Edmund is a likeable lad. He’s a good tennis player.

But he’s also currently ranked No. 50, just  from No. 63 after reaching the semifinals in Vienna last week.

No matter. The No. 3 Brit is raking in the endorsements.

The Daily Mail reports Edmund has signed on for four more years with Nike, to the tune of more than $2.5 million US. And he also has landed a Jaguar sponsorship in recent months.

Edmund made an agency change, from IMG to Starwing Sports (which represents Stan Wawrinka). He also has added two coaches for 2018. 

He can afford it.

Becker news not getting better

The London media is on the Boris Becker bankruptcy story  like a loan shark on a late payer.

The latest bit is that the 49-year-old, who lives in Wimbledon part-time, took out a $2.6 million US loan from a British billionaire – three years ago.

Per The Telegraph, via the Times of London, Richard Caudwell’s daughter worked in Becker’s London office.

But here’s the eye-opening part: the interest rate on Caudwell’s loan was a reported 25 per cent. The Telegraph said it was repaid, albeit behind schedule.

This weekend, Becker is playing in a poker tournament in Vienna.