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.

In case you missed the draw for the 2018 Australian Open, here you go:
Men’s Draw
Women’s Draw

Also on the back of Roger Federer’s Instagram record, check out our Top 10 Instagram accounts to follow.

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.

‘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.

Scary skies over SC3. ??

A post shared by Australian Open (@australianopen) on

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

Hobart International
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