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The UQ Tennis Club's 2016 Tournament Program continues with the End-of-Winter Singles Tournament.

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Jamie Lyon's NRL career all but over

ABC Sport - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 10:08am

Retiring Sea Eagle Jamie Lyon says a hamstring injury will rule him out of Saturday's game against Canberra, and he is unlikely to play in the final round.

Gasquet Hopes To Regain Top Form In Winston-Salem

ATP news - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 10:08am

During his first visit to Winston-Salem, Frenchman Richard Gasquet will try to achieve what his fellow countrymen have been unable to do during their debut years at the tournament. Gasquet, the top seed, will try to win the title and gain his second ATP World Tour title of the season.

In 2011, the first year of the tournament, Julien Benneteau started the tradition of French players coming to Winston-Salem. Benneteau qualified and reached the final before falling to American John Isner. In 2012, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the semi-finals before also losing to eventual champion Isner.

The next year, 15th seed Gael Monfils retired in the final against Austrian Jurgen Melzer down 6-3, 2-1. Top seed Gilles Simon bowed out in the second round to Brit Aljaz Bedene last year.

“They all told me it's a very nice tournament to play,” Gasquet said of his French buddies.

Tournament director Bill Oakes said having Benneteau and Tsonga play at the tournament in its early years was key to bringing more French players to the tournament.

"The rest of the French players saw that I think that really made it easier for them to understand how we take care of the guys here," Oakes said. "I think our fans have really appreciated all of them and really enjoyed watching them play."

Gasquet isn't quite thinking about one-upping his countrymen, though; the 30 year old is simply craving more matches. He retired after six games because of a back injury during his fourth-round match at Wimbledon and had to miss the next five weeks trying to recover.

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Gasquet returned to the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last week and prevailed past countryman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-1. But he fell in the second round to South African Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-4.

“That's why it's important for me to be here. I didn't play so much – just two matches in Cincinnati, so I need to play,” Gasquet told ATPWorldTour.com.

Before his injury, the 15-year ATP World Tour veteran had been enjoying another consistent season.

In February, Gasquet won his 13th career title and his third consecutive at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. In May, during his 13th time playing Roland Garros, the Frenchman reached the quarter-finals for the first time. He succumbed to eventual finalist Andy Murray in four sets.

Gasquet is hoping to regain that form in North Carolina. He faces Brit Daniel Evans for the first time on Monday evening. The 26-year-old Evans won his first-round match in Winston-Salem and reached a career high of No. 60 in the Emirates ATP Rankings last week.

“It's always difficult to stop for such a long time [and] come back,” Gasquet said. “I'm feeling better. I have no more injuries... Now I need to practise and play more matches.”

Wallabies have no betting syndicate fears after All Blacks hotel room bugged

ABC Sport - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 9:26am

After a listening bug was found in the All Blacks hotel room, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he is not concerned his team might be targeted by betting syndicates.

Wallabies have no betting syndicate fears after All Blacks hotel room bugged

ABC Sport - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 9:26am

After a listening bug was found in the All Blacks hotel room, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says he is not concerned his team might be targeted by betting syndicates.

Wilkinson remains in title race in Tahiti WSL event

ABC Sport - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 7:31am

He emerged as professional surfing's class clown, but a shift in mindset has propelled Australia's Matt Wilkinson into world title contention.

Ethiopia will welcome Feyisa Lilesa's return despite Olympic protest

ABC Sport - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 6:24am

Ethiopia will not bar runner Feyisa Lilesa from entering the country after he made an anti-government gesture upon finishing second in the Olympic marathon.

Betts wants to move on from banana throwing incident: Walker

ABC Sport - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 5:53am

Adelaide Crows skipper Taylor Walker says Eddie Betts wants to move on from the racist incident that marred an AFL match in Adelaide.

Gasquet Bautista Agut Cuevas Prepare For Winston Salem 2016

ATP news - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 5:50am
Top seeds of the Winston-Salem Open Richard Gasquet, Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Cuevas prepare for the 2016 tournament.

'I made a stupid mistake': Major sponsors drop Lochte

ABC Sport - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 5:44am

Swimwear maker Speedo and US fashion label Ralph Lauren are among the major companies to end their contracts with Ryan Lochte, days after the US swimmer admitted to exaggerating his story about being robbed at gunpoint during the Olympics.

Roddick, Blake, Courier Optimistic About American Prospects

ATP news - Tue, 23/08/2016 - 5:03am

American tennis fans should be “optimistic” about the group of young Americans rising through the Emirates ATP Rankings and winning ATP World Tour matches as teenagers, former American champions Jim Courier, Andy Roddick and James Blake said on Sunday at the Winston-Salem Open.

But fans should resist setting any lofty expectations for the group just yet. Instead, they'd be wise to enjoy the group's attempted climb to the top.

“I think they should be optimistic,” Roddick said of fans. “I prefer that term over expecting anything.”

The U.S. currently has four players close to the Top 20 of the Emirates ATP Rankings: No. 21 Steve Johnson, No. 22 John Isner, No. 27 Jack Sock and No. 28 Sam Querrey.

But it's been six years since an American won an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title (Roddick, Miami 2010). He and James Blake also were the last Americans to claim spots in the Top 5 – Roddick, August 2009; Blake, January 2007.

The former champions are hopeful for a turnaround, though. They see a hungry group of young Americans eager to bring their country back to the top of the ATP World Tour.

Leading the way is #NextGen star Taylor Fritz, who will make his Winston-Salem singles debut on Monday. In the past 12 months, Fritz, a strong candidate for this year's ATP Star Of Tomorrow presented by Emirates, has climbed 624 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings to No. 54.

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In Winston-Salem, he'll look for revenge against another up-and-coming American: 18 year old Frances Tiafoe, who has hiked 151 spots in the past 12 months to No. 124. The two have played four times, including three times in juniors and at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells earlier this season. Tiafoe has won every time.

“I've never won so I'm really looking forward to tomorrow,” Fritz said.

The list of young Americans continues: 18-year-old Reilly Opelka reached the semi-finals of the BB&T Atlanta Open earlier this month; 19-year-old Tommy Paul won his first tour-level match earlier this season in Houston; 18-year-old Stefan Kozlov knocked off Johnson in 's-Hertogenbosch in June; 20-year-old Noah Rubin is ranked No. 193; and 18-year-old Michael Mmoh won the USTA Boys' 18s National Championships a week ago.

“We've had some very good players pop through [but] this is the first time we've had this amount of depth at that level. I'm very hopeful, very optimistic,” said Courier, who was in Winston-Salem with Roddick and Blake for an exhibition on Sunday evening. “I think they can play off of each other, share some of the pressure, share some of the expectations and also push each other.”

The American tennis generation Courier grew up in included himself, former World No. 1, former World No. 2 Michael Chang and former World No. 1's Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. They all benefited from developing as a group, Courier said.

“We were able to push each other and really propel each other to greater heights,” he said.

Roddick, Blake and Mardy Fish also pushed each other and shared a “healthy jealousy”, Roddick said. He's talked with most of the up-and-comers and is optimistic because he hasn't noticed a sense of entitlement that has accompanied past American tennis prospects.

“They know that they have to earn their place and I think that's a great thing,” he said.

It's far too early, though, to set specific expectations for them, Blake said. Their bodies have yet to go through a full season on the ATP World Tour. They also lack significant match experience against some of the game's best players.

“I want to see who's going to progress because right now they're all still pretty raw,” Blake said.

Fritz said he believes he and others will produce results that all American tennis fans will enjoy. It just might take a little bit.

“The one thing to say to the fans is it's probably going to take time. And just let it happen. Just let it happen,” Fritz said. “This group is going to be really good. As long as not too many expectations and not too much pressure is put on this whole group, I think we're going to have a lot of Top 50 players and a lot of Top 20 players.”

Rabbitohs win 12-6 to hand Sharks another NRL loss

ABC Sport - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 8:58pm

Once the form side of the NRL, Cronulla is suddenly on a losing streak, falling to a third-straight defeat, against South Sydney.

Rio 2016: Time to rethink Australia's obsession with gold

ABC Sport - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 6:46pm

The Olympics is over and no doubt there will be calls for more funding as a nation that prides itself on sporting success licks its wounds. But why do we put so much value on coming first, asks David Mark.

Ten of the happiest storylines for Australia from Rio 2016

ABC Sport - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 6:45pm

Success for Mack Horton, Chloe Esposito and Kim Brennan were among Australia's Rio highlights, but the team's happiest moments weren't always confined to the winners.

Ten of the happiest storylines for Australia from Rio 2016

ABC Sport - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 6:45pm

Success for Mack Horton, Chloe Esposito and Kim Brennan were among Australia's Rio highlights, but the team's happiest moments weren't always confined to the winners.

Tour Veteran Butorac Experiences First At Winston-Salem

ATP news - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 6:36pm

Eric Butorac has been playing tennis for the past 30 years. He's played more than 500 doubles matches during his 14-year ATP World Tour career. He's also won 18 ATP World Tour doubles titles.

But on Sunday at the Winston-Salem Open, the 35 year old experienced a first for his tennis career: Butorac plopped himself in a wheelchair and tried to play wheelchair tennis.

“Challenging” was how Butorac, No. 45 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, described playing the sport. Hitting the ball was no problem, he said. But he often forgot he was in a wheelchair and that he first had to move to the ball, and then hit it.

“We don't ever have to think about moving towards the ball, so that was another step,” he said.

The doubles champion also learned that his usual tactics don't work as well in wheelchair tennis.

“I tried to approach the net one time and that's completely the wrong strategy,” he said. “But it was fun to try and have a new respect for the game.”

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Butorac and his Winston-Salem doubles partner, fellow American Scott Lipsky, participated in the Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation (OPAF) wheelchair tennis clinic, which was made possible with grant funding from USTA Wheelchair Tennis. The clinic was held at the Wake Forest Indoor Tennis Center, next door to the outdoor courts of the Winston-Salem Open.

“[I] definitely respect these guys for doing what they do,” said Lipsky, who helped shag balls while Butorac played. “It's amazing to see how good they actually are.”

Chris Gallal, a 17 year old from Charlotte, North Carolina, has been playing wheelchair tennis for the past three months and participated in the clinic. He was impressed that Butorac hopped in the wheelchair. “It was a very nice experience and I really enjoyed it,” he said.

Robin Burton, executive director of OPAF, said the participation from the ATP World Tour players helped bridge the gap between able-bodied tennis and wheelchair tennis, which are usually two entirely separate sports, she said.

The longtime coach who helped run the clinic also appreciated the support from the ATP World Tour veterans. Frank Adams, who's been coaching wheelchair tennis for the past 20 years, said Butorac and Lipsky's participation will inspire wheelchair athletes for months to come.

“I think it's outstanding to have [ATP World Tour] players participate in something so significant... Being willing to go out there and play wheelchair tennis before they start their tournament, not a lot of players would do that,” Adams said. “I think it inspires everyone who got a chance to see them to take that risk.”

 

Betts banana-thrower regrets 'momentary lapse of judgement'

ABC Sport - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 6:22pm

The woman who threw a banana at Indigenous Adelaide Crows footballer Eddie Betts during Saturday's showdown game apologises for her behaviour.

Murray: ‘I'm Very Proud Of This Week’

ATP news - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 5:20pm

A top seed at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time, Andy Murray did well to reach the final of the Western & Southern Open before falling to Marin Cilic. The Brit saw his career-best 22-match win streak snapped by the inspired Croatian, but took positives from his deep run in Cincinnati.

“I'm very proud of this week. Obviously today didn't go the way I would've wanted, but I certainly didn't expect to get to the final,” said Murray, who arrived in Cincinnati after winning his second consecutive Olympic gold medal. “It was a very positive week. Now I’m looking forward to a few days' rest.”

The short turnaround after Rio caused Murray some physical discomfort and nearly derailed his Cincinnati run.

“After the first match I played, I was having problems with my shoulder,” Murray said. “I did speak about it with my team, but my physio was pretty confident that it was just fatigue, and that I didn't have any sort of structural damage in my shoulder.

“When it was said that I wasn't going to make it worse by playing, I thought: ‘Let's go for it this week. Let's try and get through as many matches as we can.’”

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Murray’s superior form carried him to a seventh consecutive final and nearly allowed him to win his fifth title of the year. In 2016, Murray won the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Rome and the Aegon Championships before securing his second Wimbledon title. Against Cilic, he was aiming for his 40th tour-level crown.

“I think I’m playing my best tennis just now. It's not even close to anything else I had done before. Seven finals in a row, winning Wimbledon again, and the Olympics. It's been really good,” said Murray, whose next event will be the US Open, a tournament he won in 2012. “I really didn't expect to be here. It’s obviously disappointing when you get to the final and don't win, but it was a very, very positive week considering everything. Mentally I'm in a good place just now. So I'm looking forward to New York for sure.”

Boomers question late foul calls in painful loss to Spain

ABC Sport - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 4:06pm

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis labels two late fouls in the loss to Spain "soft calls", suggesting they could have cost the Boomers the Olympic bronze medal in Rio.

Top quotes from the Rio Olympic Games

ABC Sport - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 3:48pm

From a Refugee Team athlete revealing her quiet determination to Briton Charlotte Dujardin referring to her fiance as a "banana", some gold medal quotes came out of Rio 2016.

'I see my future here': Fyfe seeks to extend Dockers deal

ABC Sport - Mon, 22/08/2016 - 3:38pm

Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe moves to quash doubts about his future at the Fremantle Dockers, dismissing trade reports and saying a contract extension will be "sorted" next year.