Tennis Today: Maria Sharapova’s ‘time out’
In Tennis Today, Maria Sharapova gets an easy ride Down Under and why tennis needs Nick Kyrgios’s magnetism.
What’s on the site
Roger Federer is the bookies’ favourite to win the Australian Open, but Tennis365’s betting expert Deggsy Bilton feels the stars could be aligning for Grigor Dimitrov.
As for the women’s draw, Deggsy feels it is wide open, but Karolina Pliskova is looking good value for money.
What’s in the papers
It’s only fair that we again start with Charlie Eccleshare’s magnificent series in Telegraph Sport on “the state of tennis away from the elite tour”. For those who work in the online industry as well as those who are active on social media, his final piece that focuses on “tennis’ social media abuse epidemic” will hit home hard.
“We all get death threats after every match – it’s normal,” is what one player says about the abuse they receive.
Now onto the Australian Open organisers, Channel 7 and Maria Sharapova.
In case you missed Thursday’s draw, Sharapova was asked to attend the event at Melbourne Park as defending champion Serena Williams was obviously not able to make it.
The Daily Mail’s Mike Dickson says asking the Russian to attend “had all the graciousness of Monday’s final Ashes presentation in Sydney, with giant hands pointing out the 4-0 scoreline”.
Sharapova was interviewed by Channel 7’s Hamish McLachlan, but instead of referring to her 15-month doping ban as, well, a doping ban, they decided to describe it as a “time out”.
The Times’ Stuart Fraser says “Maria Sharapova parading the trophy sends wrong message to dopers”. (Subscription)
“It is another shameful episode in which tennis has rolled out the red carpet for a doping offender,” Fraser added.
The Sun has an EXCLUSIVE from Johanna Konta “on winning the hearts and minds of British AND Aussie public”.
“Britain is home for me and will always stay home,” will be music to The Sun readers’ ears.
Back to Telegraph Sport, The Tennis Debate says “Nick Kyrgios’s magnetism is badly needed with Big Four finally on the wane”.
We agree, but it is always entertaining to read the comments. Do give it a go if you have time to kill.
What’s on social media
What’s inside the bag of a tennis player? Daniil Medvedev packs everything out.
— Sydney International (@SydneyTennis) January 11, 2018
‘Outrageous’ was how the commentator described Angelique Kerber’s shot at the Sydney Open.
Heather Watson, though, gave Kerber a good run for her money with his winner in Hobart.
Stormy conditions over Melbourne make for pretty pictures.
What’s on TV
Australian Open Qualifying
Who will reach the Australian Open main draw?
LIVE – Eurosport 1
ATP Sydney International
Daniil Medvedev faces either local hero Alex De Minaur or Benoit Paire in the final.
LIVE – Eurosport 1
WTA Sydney International
Local favourite Ashleigh Barty is in the final and she will face either Angelique Kerber or Camila Giorgi
08:00-10:30 (Saturday morning)
LIVE – BT Sport 1
Elise Mertens beat Heather Watson in the semi-finals and either Lesia Tsurenko or Mihaela Buzarnescu will be her opponent in the final.
05:30-08:00 (Saturday morning)
LIVE – BT Sport 1
Cameron Norrie gives his verdict as he storms into the Indian Wells final
The new British number one triumphed 6-2 6-4 and will take on either Taylor Fritz or Nikoloz Basilashvili on Sunday.
Get to know Britain’s new number one Cameron Norrie as he closes in on a rankings breakthrough
Norrie is guaranteed to overtake Dan Evans in the ATP rankings after reaching the semi-finals in Indian Wells.
Victoria Azarenka’s return to form sweeps her into the Indian Wells final
Paula Badosa will play Victoria Azarenka in…
Defeats for Zverev and Tsitsipas ensure shock final four at Indian Wells
Taylor Fritz saved two match points as he stunned world number four Alexander Zverev
Exclusive – Meet the brothers who grew up alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas and are now teaching the Mouratoglou way
Two of Stefanos Tsitsipas’ former adversaries in the junior ranks have given us the inside story on his rise.
Andy Murray set for huge rankings collapse after Indian Wells exit
Former world No.1 Andy Murray has been…
Moment of history for Ons Jabeur as she seals last four spot in Indian Wells
Ons Jabeur sealed her place in the BNP Paribas Open’s final four with a straight-sets victory over Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit.
Grigor Dimitrov gives his verdict as he secures another big win in Indian Wells
Dimitrov’s revival continues as he battled past Hubert Hurkacz in a deciding set tie-break.
Cameron Norrie reaches first ATP Masters semi-final as Indian Wells win sees him become new British No 1
Cameron Norrie saw off Diego Schwartzman in the last eight.
‘I look forward to returning to the Tour in the next couple of weeks,’ says Emma Raducanu after withdrawing from WTA event
Emma Raducanu won’t be heading to Russia next week.