Tsitsipas talks of near-death experience

In his latest vlog, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas talks with emotion about the day he got caught in the undertow in the ocean in Hersonissos with a friend – and his father Apostolos saved their lives.

“He was swimming towards me pushing me towards the beach. I could see the fear in his eyes. If we were both going to lose our lives that day, we were going to do it together,” Tsitsipas said. 

“Dad keep searching for my other friend. He saved him as as well. He was the saviour. Somehow we managed to make it to the beach.”

Ferrer final tribute BEFORE match

It had to be the wackiest walk-on in tennis history, as the retiring David Ferrer took the court for his first-round match in Buenos Aires against No. 8 seed Malek Jaziri.

He smiled so much it almost looked like it hurt, as he was greeted like a hero and received hugs from many, including friend Juan Monaco.

And then – he had to play his first match since … Hopman Cup.

Seriously – how many could focus after that?

Ferrer saved six set points on the way to a 7-6 (13), 6-3 win.

He plays countryman Albert Ramos-Viñolas Wednesday.

Krueger takes first Challenger title

Dallas native Mitchell Krueger lost to the eventual champion in the junior French Open and Wimbledon semis in 2012, and cleaned up at the national level.

But since the former No. 5 junior passed on college tennis to turn pro, he’s been grinding it out for seven years.

Finally, a breakthrough – at his home club, with a big cheering section behind him.

Krueger won the Dallas Challenger, his first title at that level after three in the Futures.

He’d bounced around between No. 180 and No. 300 in the rankings for four years. Monday, he reached a career best No. 160.

Former top junior tells match-fixing story

Egypt’s Karim Hossam, a former top junior who reached as high as No. 337 early in his pro career, came clean to the BBC about his involvement in match fixing.

He comes off sounding naive and not all that bright, more than mercenary. But he got in deep before he was banned for life in Aug. 2018.

The report says Hossam may not be entirely out. A few red flags: a reported 20 North African players were involved and still not caught/sanctioned by the Tennis Integrity Unit.

And the player who first approached Hossam is still playing.

New job for umpire Dumusois

Gold-badge umpire Damien Dumusois of France has been appointed to the ITF/Grand Slam officiating team.

As well, he will be the Regional Officiating Officer for Africa as the contact for French-speaking countries, to work on a pathway to job opportunities.

Dumusois was a contract umpire for the ATP Tour for eight years, and part of the ATP Elite team for four, until the end of 2018. He’s been gold badge since 2010.

He has umpired four men’s singles finals at the French Open, among other major assignments including two ATP Tour Finals.

New Haven social content will be missed

Some of the social media content produced by tennis tournaments is a tough slog, because the players are rarely natural performers off the court.

But the now-defunct New Haven event was known some some bright, original ideas, beautifully executed.

It’s all in the script, baby.

This one, about the new serve clock, stars tournament favorite Petra Kvitova with strong appearances from Julia Goerges, Coco Vandeweghe and others.

Our personal favorite was this one, when the solar eclipse was going to happen in 2017 and they drafted Kvitova to play mad scientist.

Special guest Serena kills Lip Sync Battle

It was impressive enough that Andy Roddick donned a Bruno Mars wig and learned some fancy footwork for his first time on stage, in what he said was his first public dancing performance since … the ’90s.

But when special guest Serena Williams joined him – as we all know, a notorious lover of the lip sync – it went over the top.

She looked outrageously good. And she nailed it.

It’s this kind of stepping outside the tennis box that brings tennis to a wider audience. Of course, you have to have the guts to put it out there.

Osaka hits Good Morning America

After she won the US Open, Naomi Osaka made a noteworthy appearance on Ellen, as well as the Today Show.

As she backed up that major with another at the Australian Open, it was Good Morning America’s turn to have a chat with the new world No. 1.

Osaka appeared with host Robin Roberts via hookup from Florida, where she looked … rather chilly.

“My mom was kind of upset at me, and she yelled at me to go to sleep,” Osaka said about what her mother said when she called her after the big win.

2019 a struggle on serve for Ostapenko

Jelena Ostapenko’s 2019 serve looks like … her 2018 serve.

After an off-season compromised by a left wrist injury, the Latvian went 0-3 Down Under. She lost in the first round to Monica Niculescu in Shenzhen, Ashleigh Barty in Sydney and Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open.

Ostapenko hit nine double faults in squeezing past Kristina Mladenovic 6-1, 0-6, 6-0 in the first round of St. Petersburg. It was her first win of 2019.

But she fell to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Thursday. Only four double faults, but three in one game resulted in a deciding break.

It doesn’t appear much serving work got done pre-season.

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.