McEnroes, Li Na lead legends event

The McEnroe brothers will team up for the legends tournament, which takes place during the second week of the Australian Open.

Elder brother John tends to play these more often. But it’s always neat to see the siblings compete together.

The  legends mostly are on site working as commentators. It’s a handy way to pick up some extra change.

New to the roster this year is Li Na, playing her first legends event in Melbourne since winning the women’s singles title in 2014 – and giving this epic speech that people still remember fondly.

Lenny Federer in the house

Dad Roger wasn’t expecting one of his younger sets of twins, 4 1/2-year-old lookalike son Lenny, to take in a full set of his third-round match against Taylor Fritz Friday.

But the kid got his fair share of attention – no surprise. He also got a bit of a piece of Federer coach Ivan Ljubicic. 

“I didn’t even know he was going to come to the stadium. When I peeked over and he was sitting here I was like, ‘Oh, wow, okay, so we have a special guest – for me, anyhow,’ ” Federer said on court.

Mertens, Nishikori win Hawaii Open

The first semi-official, kinda serious exhibition of the 2019 preseason is in the books.

In Honolulu, Kei Nishikori and Elise Mertens defeated … Canada in the men’s and women’s singles finals at the Hawaii Open Sunday.

Mertens overcame a 2-6, 2-4 deficit and saved a match point in a 2-6, 7-5, 12-10 victory over Genie Bouchard

Bouchard defeated Coco Vandeweghe and Garbiñe Muguruza, both in straight sets, in her first two matches.

Nishikori – a big crowd favorite – beat Milos Raonic in two tiebreaks.

Nishikori, Raonic and Mertens are headed to Brisbane to start the season next week.

Bouchard is playing Auckland.

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.

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.

Veljovic talks female umpiring

“It feels amazing our sport is allowing us that,” said chair umpire Marijana Veljovic of the fact that female chair umpires and increasingly being tapped to work the biggest matches.

Veljovic, a Serb, teamed with James Keothavong for the Davis Cup finals.

In her early 30s, Veljovic has already worked Wimbledon eight times. She’s part of the wave of younger umpires (feels like most of the women have swinging ponytails, doesn’t it? Random.) establishing themselves.

We’ve seen some of the boys try to push her around a bit. Give it up, fellas – you have no chance.

From rugby to tennis in 60 hours

Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, France is a multi-purpose, 50,000-seat retractable roof stadium that gets used from everything to sporting events to rock concerts.

But to see the transformation in action is quite a thing.

In 60 hours, the stadium went from hosting a rugby game to an indoor clay-court stadium for about 25,000 people.

It’s not as though they hadn’t done this before.

Still, to put down a clay court in 2 1/2 days and (except for a little bump on the service line) to have so few obvious issues is a feat.

Here’s what it looked like.

Flashback to 14-year-old Sascha

Little brothers growing up in tennis families will often try to become pros.

Sometimes, little brother surpasses big brother. But not often does he end up one of the best in the world.

Flash back to 2011 when the ATP profiled the Zverev brothers. Young Alexander, just 14 and much shorter than big brother Mischa, already had the smooth strokes.

Sunday, when Zverev joked after winning the ATP Tour Finals that his father Alexander Sr. didn’t understand half of what he was saying, he wasn’t kidding. Dad did his interview for the feature in … Russian.

Sky Sports says adieu to ATP Tour

The ATP Tour Finals in London was a finale for Sky Sports tennis in the U.K.

The network was outbid by Amazon Prime – an emerging player in the sports arena.

After 25 years, Sky Sports already had let go of the US Open. That also was scooped up by Amazon Prime – to rather scathing reviews.

Sky Sports regulars Annabel Croft and Greg Rusedski were among those who worked for Amazon Prime in New York.

The deal for the US Open is reportedly worth 80 percent of what it paid for the full ATP Tour season.

Serena revisits iconic matches

In conjunction with the GQ “Woman” of the year cover, the magazine released a video of Serena Williams looking fabulous, and talking about some of the most meaningful matches of her career.

The first was when she defeated Monica Seles – “I wanted to be just like her” in Chicago in 1997.

(We’re going WAY back, to when Chicago had any kind of Tour event).

Her result there boosted her ranking from No. 304 to No. 102 and got her straight into the ’98 Australian Open.

Others include the “Serena Slam” win over her sister in Australia.

None occurred after 2003.