Tournament director Jérémy Chardy

In keeping with the ongoing theme of tennis conflicts of interest, French player Jérémy Chardy is the tournament director at a new Challenger in Pau, France next month.

Called the Teréga Open Pau-Pyrénées, it’s an $80,000 US event .

As a top 50 player, Chardy can’t technically enter his own tournament. He needs a wild card.

But hey, he’s got a pretty good connection there. 

The 31-year-old won’t have time to be too hands on. He’s entered Montpellier, Rotterdam and Marseille the three weeks leading up to the event.

(Looks like he posed for the ad, though).

Final, final preseason for Ferrer

As David Ferrer says “adios” to the grind of pre-season – on Christmas Day, no less – it sounds like he has no plans to give up tennis.

In a Tweet after a training session at Juan Carlos Ferrero’s Valencia academy, he jokes to Ferrero that he’s “getting in shape to compete with you next year (on the seniors tour)”.

Ferrer will team up with Garbiñe Muguruza at Hopman Cup. And he has a wild card into Auckland.

He’s not in the Australian Open qualifying. but he’s a longshot main-draw alternate. His finale is scheduled for Madrid.

Gnarly gnew hobby for Raonic

A first trip to Hawaii might not have ended up with the winner’s circle for Milos Raonic.

But he found a gnarly gnew pastime.

Putting any concerns about his famous coiffure aside, the Canadian (he turns 28 on Thursday) went out on the board and braved the Oahu waves.

“Had a blast surfing for the first time. And it was so relaxing. And such a great workout as well,” Raonic wrote on social media.

The Canadian lost two tiebreaks to longtime rival Kei Nishikori in the Hawaii final. But he looked healthy and fit – a good omen.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Another week means another TV “adieu”

After the ATP Tour Finals in London, the longtime broadcast crew from Sky Sports said a somber “Cheerio”.

After Sunday’s Davis Cup final, another tight-knit bunch said “Adieu.”

BeIN France, which held the mens’ ATP rights in France for five years, has ceded to Eurosport for 2019-23.

In the U.S., the WTA goes to from beIN to the Tennis Channel next season.

beIN France still has the WTA, Wimbledon – and Davis Cup. But men’ tennis is the thing in France. But the team gets a bye to the November finals, so they won’t see the boys much.

First ITF title for refugee Olynykova

Remember Oleksandra Oliynykova, the young Ukrainian who fled to Croatia with her family as political refugees? After his business went bankrupt, her father set up a website, to crowdfund her career.

Months later, the site went inactive. There was a lot of trolling.

Motivated by the haters, Oliynynova won her first career ITF title last week in Greece.

She has picked up three sponsors, too.

Now 17, her big challenge will be overcoming the circuit changes.

Oliynykova’s hard-earned WTA ranking of No. 848 will be totally wiped out with the new rules, which discard results at the $15,000 level.

Star-studded party for BJK’s 75th

Some impressive celebrity sightings in this group photo to commemorate the “Billie Jean King: The Road to 75” photography exhibit in New York.

The event at the New York Historical Society doubled as a fundraiser for the Billie Jean King Collection & Education Program.

On the tennis side, we can spot Maria Sharapova, John McEnroe, Mary Carillo,  and former NYC mayor David Dinkins. 

As well, singer Cindy Lauper and actors Alan Cumming, Holly Hunter and Emma Stone (who played King in the Battle of the Sexes movie).

The exhibit is open until Jan. 27.

King officially turns 75 next Thursday.