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
Carlos Alcaraz proofs French Open title credentials with dominant first-round victory
Carlos Alcaraz powers into the second round at Roland Garros.
Alexander Zverev keeps French Open match short and sweet, but hopes to go from stable to winning titles
“I’m always somebody that likes to win, rather than be stable,” says Zverev.
Cameron Norrie says Wimbledon will be ‘like an exhibition’ as he warns a few top players might not play
British No 1 has his say on consequences following decision to strip Wimbledon of ranking points.
Wimbledon news: Former US Open champion says decision to strip major of ranking points ‘the correct one’
Sloane Stephens shares views on controversial move.
Carlos Alcaraz news: Top players to suffer if they’re to beat Spaniard at Roland Garros
He’s been unstoppable this season.
Red-hot Ons Jabeur stunned in opener at Roland Garros by world No 52 Magda Linette
Ons Jabeur stunned in Roland Garros opener.
Birthday boy Novak Djokovic looking to reset in the summer of ’22
Novak Djokovic is 35 today. This summer might just see him return to the top of his game after losing himself at the turn of the year.
Rafael Nadal plays down Roland Garros favourite tag as ‘there are players that are in better shape’
Rafael Nadal cautiously optimistic ahead of Roland Garros.
Emma Raducanu news: John McEnroe doubtful Brit can go far in French Open
She has had a lot of injuries so far this season.
Sergiy Stakhovsky news: Ukrainian rips into ATP’s Wimbledon decision
He’s really not happy about the decision.