Busted Racquet
  • Give Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard credit: when she loses a bet, she pays up.

    Bouchard, like most of the planet watching Super Bowl LI, assumed that the New England Patriots would lose when they were down 21-0 points to the Atlanta Falcons. She felt confident—perhaps not confident enough to bet $100,000, as Charles Barkley reportedly did—but confident enough to take a follower up on a dare: if the Patriots won, she’d have to take John Goehrke, a 20-year-old Missouri student, on a date.

    You know what happened next: the Patriots stormed back from 25 points down and won the Super Bowl. Lo and behold, Bouchard was on the hook for a date …

    And from there, it was off to watch the ballgame courtside:

    Read More »from Tennis star pays off Twitter Super Bowl bet by taking fan on NBA date
  • German players were shocked when an American soloist sang a long-outdated version of the national anthem.

    The U.S. may have outplayed Germany in this weekend’s Fed Cup quarterfinal, but the Americans made a major off-court gaffe.

    Before Germany’s Andrea Petkovic and Alison Riske of the U.S. took the court in Hawaii, a singer inadvertently performed a long-banned Nazi-era version of the country’s national anthem.

    “I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and I’ve never felt more disrespected in my whole life, let alone in Fed Cup, and I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now,” Petkovic told the Associated Press. “It is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”

    The version of the anthem sung Saturday used a verse with strong nationalist messages, including the line “Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles,” which translates to “Germany, Germany above all else.”

    German coach Barbara Rittner told the AFP she considered snatching the microphone from the singer.

    “I could have cried, because

    Read More »from 'Epitome of ignorance': U.S. accidentally plays Nazi-era German anthem at Fed Cup
  • Denis Shapovalov is sorry. (Getty Images)

    Denis Shapovalov learned the fastest way to end a tennis match: just hit the umpire in the face with a tennis ball.

    Representing Canada in the Davis Cup, Shapovalov, age 17, was playing Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund. In the third set of their match, with the overall scores tied at 2 apiece for Canada and Great Britain, Shapovalov lost his temper after losing a point. He smacked a ball in frustration, only to watch it ping right off the face of umpire Arnaud Gabas.

    Here’s video of the smack:

    A referee on-scene immediately tossed Shapovalov for “unsportsmanlike conduct,” handing Great Britain a 3-2 victory. Gabas went to a hospital for precautionary measures, suffering a bruise and swelling in his left eye.

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    “I feel incredibly ashamed and embarrassed and I just feel awful for letting my team down, for letting my country down, for acting in a way that I would

    Read More »from Player booted from match after hitting umpire in the face with ball
  • Roger Federer is now the holder of five Australian Open titles. (AP)

    One of the greatest rivalries in tennis history received another chapter Sunday night in Melbourne, Australia, as Roger Federer outlasted Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open title, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

    The win gives Federer his 18th Grand Slam title, the most by a man in the Open era. He had just returned from a six-month break due to a series of injuries. The title is Federer’s first since 2012.

    Though Federer and Nadal have undoubtedly aged since their earlier matchups (Nadal’s trademarked long locks are now chopped and thinning), and entered the tournament seeded 17th and ninth, Sunday’s match featured the spectacular tennis that has come to define their rivalry.

    Featuring spectacular twists and turns, Federer and Nadal each competed for their respective legacies. Federer drew first blood, breaking early in the opening set and dropping just four points on serve to take an early lead.

    But, just as it appeared

    Read More »from Roger Federer outlasts Rafael Nadal in classic Australian Open final
  • In 1998, two teenage tennis phenoms from Compton, Calif., met for the first time on the pro tour, in the second round at the Australian Open. Beads in their hair and braces on their teeth, the oft-talked about sisters stood ready to take the tennis world by storm.

    But few could have predicted the spectacular journey that lay ahead of Serena and Venus Williams, one that spanned nearly two decades and brought them back to Melbourne, competing in their ninth Grand Slam final, with Serena cementing herself as the most decorated player, male or female, in the Open era by besting her older sister 6-4, 6-4.

    The enormity of the moment was not lost on either sister. Saturday’s match opened with four consecutive breaks of serve as the duo worked out their respective nerves, Serena trying to capture her record-breaking title, and Venus attempting to raise a major trophy for the first time since 2008. It took until the fifth game for Serena Williams to find her groove in her serve and rally to win

    Read More »from Serena Williams tops sister Venus at Australian Open to win record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title

    Serena Williams (left) will face older sister Venus Williams in the Australian Open final.
    Serena Williams (left) will face older sister Venus Williams in the Australian Open final.

    Death, taxes and the Williams sisters.

    There are few constants in life, but Serena and Venus Williams still continue to reign atop the tennis world, even well into their 30s.

    Thursday in Melbourne, Australia the sisters achieved another milestone, each advancing to the Australian Open final. There, they will face each other for the ninth time, and the first since 2009, for a Grand Slam title.

    A Serena Williams win would be her 23rd Grand Slam title, surpassing Steffi Graf for most in the Open era.

    Up first, elder sister Venus Williams, who turns 37 in June, won a grueling semifinal match against fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.

    Venus Williams and Vandeweghe, both heavy hitters, came out swinging in Melbourne. The opening set began with two breaks of serve. Though largely Venus Williams outplayed her 25-year-old in the opener, Vandeweghe kept fighting, with five aces and seven

    Read More »from Serena and Venus Williams set up Australian Open final showdown
  • Novak Djokovic has been shocked in Australia
    Novak Djokovic has been shocked in Australia. (Getty)

    It’s early yet, but we’re not likely to see many upsets in 2017 more stunning than what just happened at the Australian Open: six-time champion Novak Djokovic has fallen in a marathon second-round match to the world’s 117th-ranked player.

    Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan won 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, a four-hour and 48-minute match that left both men exhausted. This marks the first time Djokovic, the defending champion, has lost in the second round of a Grand Slam event since 2008 at Wimbledon. It’s also only the second time in the last seven years Djokovic has lost to a player ranked outside the top 100; the Djoker also lost to 145th-ranked Juan Martin del Potro at the 2016 Olympics.

    “He deserved to win. No doubt, he was a better player in the clutch moments,” Djokovic said after the match. “Many things came together for him today and he’s a well-deserved winner. There’s not much I could do.”

    How did this happen? Isomin played

    Read More »from Six-time champ Djokovic bounced in second round of Australian Open
  • In some sports, tapping out early is a sign of weakness. In tennis, it can be good strategy … as long as not everyone’s trying it.

    Sachia Vickery of the United States and Elise Mertens of Belgium were exactly one game into a WTA event in Hobart, Australia. During the changeover between games, both called for a trainer—the customary first move when there’s a possibility of injury. It’s rare to call a trainer after just one game, and even more rare for both players to do so.

    But with all due respect to the WTA Hobart event, it’s not the Australian Open, which is ramping up right now. Both Vickery and Mertens wanted to compete in a qualifying event with the hopes of playing their way into the Grand Slam tournament. And thus, the less time on the court at Hobart, the better.

    Both players had a bit of a trainer standoff, with Vickery opting to retire first. Easy enough, right? Retiring is a low-risk, high-potential-reward approach that can give a player extra time to rest and recover while

    Read More »from Players in tennis match race to be the first to quit
  • Le coup de gueule de Serena Williams contre le sexisme.
    Serena Williams is now engaged. (AP)

    Serena Williams has announced her engagement to Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, via, naturally, a Reddit post. On the site’s “/r/isaidyes” forum, Williams wrote,

    “I came home. A little late. Someone had a bag packed for me. And a carriage waited. Destination: Rome. To escort me to my very own ‘charming.’ Back to where our stars first collided. And now it was full circle. At the same table we first met by chance. But by choice. Down on knee. He said 4 words. And I said yes.”

    Williams and Ohanian had been dating for about a year, and were relatively private about their relationship prior to this announcement. Williams, one of the greatest tennis players of all time and one of the premier athletes in American history, holds 38 Grand Slam titles, including 22 won in singles. Her most recent major victory was at Wimbledon earlier this year. Ohanian is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and in-demand speaker.

    The happy couple did not disclose a wedding

    Read More »from Serena Williams, Reddit co-founder announce engagement
  • Nick Kyrgios has gotten himself in trouble again. (Getty)
    Nick Kyrgios has gotten himself in trouble again. (Getty)

    Nick Kyrgios had a bad day at the office, losing in straight sets to Mischa Zverev at the Shanghai Masters. But Kyrgios turned an ugly 6-3, 6-1 loss into an international story by fighting with both the chair umpire and fans and tapping out early in several games.

    Long known for an explosive temper, Kyrgios, ranked No. 14, didn’t take long to go off the rails against the 110th-ranked Zverev. In the match’s fifth game, en route to going down 1-4, Kyrgios dinked a dismissive serve that a child could have returned:

    That earned him a rebuke from the chair. Early in the second set, he walked off the court before one of Zverev’s game-winning serves even landed. That set the restless crowd alight, and Kyrgios began yapping with fans. As the match wound to its inevitable close, one fan began shouting for Kyrgios to “respect the game” and

    Read More »from Nick Kyrgios yells at fans, throws tantrum at Shanghai Masters


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