What Would @IvoKarlovic Do (With Twitter Trolls)?

Earlier today, after defending champ Nicolas Mahut lost his quarterfinal match against Sam Groth at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, he got a hate tweet. How did Nico deal with it? He tweeted it out, surely invoking the wrath of his fans against the angry loser of a bet.

Right after I saw that tweet, it was time to speak with 2 seed Ivo Karlovic. Now Karlovic is one of the funniest guys on twitter. But twitter clearly has a dark downside as well. So what would Dr. Ivo do when someone trolls him on twitter?

“There is a lot of them because they are betting and then when they lose the money, they are angry, but they should be angry at themselves, not at me. Usually, if it’s really mean, I block them, or I just answer about their mamas.”

Keep on tweetin’, Ivo!

And I don’t think you’ll have to block these girls anytime soon.

Karlovic Selfie

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Australia’s @SamGroth Reaches 1st ATP Semifinal With Superb Serve and Volley Attack @TennisHalloFame

Australia’s @SamGroth Reaches 1st ATP Semifinal With Superb Serve and Volley Attack @TennisHalloFame

Sam Groth

Nico Mahut

Sam Groth was called “the forgotten man of Australian Tennis” a few years back on a tennis fan site. He won’t be forgotten in Newport, as he made his first career ATP singles semifinal today by knocking out defending champ Nicolas Mahut. Groth executed a superb serve and volley attack plan to stun the Frenchman today. After the match, Groth reflected on his time away from the game, his faith in Coach Ben Mathias of the Australian Tennis Federation and the new faces of Australian tennis. On Saturday, Groth faces Ivo Karlovic for a spot in Sunday’s final.

Nico Mahut

Groth, Newport

Glamour Shots

Glamour Shot

Amazing @JohnIsner Fires 19 Aces @TennisHalloFame in Warm Up for Fenway Park Debut

Amazing @JohnIsner Fires 19 Aces @TennisHalloFame in Warm Up for Fenway Park Debut

John Isner got through his first round match at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, Rhode Island today.

Down 2 break points in the second set, he fired off four aces in a row to get out of trouble against Wayne Odesnik and advance in straights to the final 16.

Isner Sock & Shark

After that, Jack Sock made a surprise media appearance to fire off a question to Isner. Isner said he couldn’t even concentrate on the question, what with a two-time Grand Slam champion doing the asking.

Big John will do double duty this Tuesday as he’s already on his way to Boston to throw out the first pitch at tonight’s Red Sox-White Sox game. The way the Red Sox have played this season, Isner might be offered a contract, especially if he can hit a baseball a tenth as good as he can hit a tennis ball. The Red Sox are really that bad this year.

Interview with @LukeSaville18 of @TennisAustralia @TennisHalloFame 2014

Interview with @LukeSaville18 of @TennisAustralia @TennisHalloFame 2014

Luke Saville, Newport

Luke Saville burst onto the scene last month by winning his 1st pro match, at Wimbledon no less.

Today, he took a smaller but important step in his career by winning his 1st ATP tour match in straight sets at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Peter Polansky.

In 2 qualifying matches and the first round win, the young South Australian has dropped 0 sets and only 9 games in 3 matches.

That’s 9 games in 6 straight sets. Nice.

Luke Saville, Newport

Luke goes on to chat about Wimbledon, Nick Kyrgios and Lleyton Hewitt. Having been relegated to outer courts thus far in the tournament, Saville will get his day under the Center Court sun when he faces defending champion Nicolas Mahut tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. USEDT.

—-Stephan Fogleman, Tennis East Coast

Pro Debut Interview with @Mitch_Krueger @TennisHalloFame

For a first timer in the main draw of a tour event, Mitch Krueger had a great 1st set of tennis as an ATP professional yesterday. He had two set points in the tiebreak against Tatsuma Ito before falling just short. As Krueger himself said, Ito raised his level of play in the second set. Afterward, we talked about his confidence in the decision to delay college and the special excitement surrounding his first pro match being played at the Tennis Hall of Fame, a place where he hopes to be enshrined someday.

—S. Fogleman, Tennis East Coast

Pro Debut Interview With Clay Thompson @TennisHalloFame

Pro Debut Interview With Clay Thompson @TennisHalloFame
Stephan Fogleman, Tennis East Coast

UCLA’s Clay Thompson was in great spirits and thrilled to play his ATP Main Draw Debut on the grass courts of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships yesterday.

There was just one nagging question.

Why, oh, why did I have to draw Stevie Johnson?

It was as if the PAC-12 moved to Rhode Island for a day and I almost expected the Rose Bowl Parade to march down Bellevue Avenue in Newport. In the end, former USC phenom Johnson and his trove of pro tour experience was too much for Thompson in a 6-1, 6-2 loss. That said, we expect to see Clay winning plenty of matches on the tour in the near future.

2014 ATP Newport (@TennisHalloFame) Preview, Predictions

2014 ATP Newport (@TennisHalloFame) Preview, Predictions

Newport2014Site

As you may have imagined, we’re providing on-site coverage of the event for the third year in a row. Follow us on twitter @TennisEastCoast and check the blog for daily recaps.

ATP Newport
Hall of Fame Tennis Championships
ATP World Tour 250
Newport, Rhode Island, USA
July 7-July 13, 2014
Prize Money: $474,005

Top 4 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: John Isner (11)
2: Ivo Karlovic (32)
3: Lleyton Hewitt (48)
4: Nicolas Mahut (54)

First Round matchups to watch:

Rajeev Ram. Newport

Rajeev Ram. Newport

Matt Ebden vs. Rajeev Ram
Ebden, who has had success on grass, is struggling and he could use a win against 2009 Newport champ Ram to help him find his form. They have met 3 times before, all on hard courts, and Ebden leads the h2h 2-1. In my opinion, Ram, who failed to qualify at Wimbledon, is a slight favorite here.

Hewitt in Newport

Hewitt in Newport

(3)Lleyton Hewitt vs. Ryan Harrison
Harrison beat Hewitt in DC last year, and the consecutive defending finalist Hewitt has really been struggling this season. Even on his favored grass, he is just 2-2 on the surface this year and lost to Jerzy Janowicz in Wimbledon round 2.

Harrison has been recently decent, as he qualified for Wimbledon before losing to eventual semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov in round 1.

Both players have struggled to maintain a high level of play recently and their skills come and go, though Harrison is much younger and healthier than Hewitt. This match is a toss-up to me, but I’ll give Hewitt a slight edge, considering experience and past history.

Top Half:

John Isner, ATP Newport, 2012 Copyright TennisEastCoast.com

Two time champ John Isner should cruise his way to the quarterfinals after beating a qualifier and Tim Smyczek or a qualifier. Isner fell in Wimbledon round 3 but competition is less daunting in Newport, and a quarterfinal meeting against most likely Ebden/Ram or perhaps Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock (after a transatlantic flight will face Alex Kuznetsov), likely would not be competitive.

Hewitt/Harrison are slated to face Marius Copil or a qualifier, and the winner of that round 1 meeting is likely to make the quarterfinals against the improving Steve Johnson, who faces wild card Clay Thompson of UCLA in round 1 in a battle between the LA schools (Johnson played at USC) and then wild card Mitch Krueger or Tatsuma Ito.

With so many Americans in the draw, I expect the quarterfinal between Johnson and Harrison/Hewitt to be epic.

Bottom Half:

Dr. Ivo

Dr. Ivo

Ivo Karlovic is struggling, having lost 3 straight. He opens with wild card Robby Ginepri and then Sergiy Stakhovsky or Farrukh Dustov. If Stako can find form, I favor him to make the quarters against Adrian Mannarino, a grass court specialist. He is struggling and faces another good grass player, Jimmy Wang, in round 1, and then Dudi Sela/Michal Przysiezny.

Mannarino just won a challenger and Stako made the Wimbledon third round, so the semifinalist here should be strong.

Defending champ Nicolas Mahut, who hasn’t had nearly as strong of a grass court campaign this year compared to last, and lost in round 1 of Wimbledon, faces Facundo Arguello, a clay courter, in round 1. After that, he would see Peter Polansky or a qualifier. Mahut should be tested in the quarters against one of Donald Young/Sam Groth/Ricardas Berankis/Malek Jaziri. All of these players have some aptitude on grass and if they get hot, especially Groth with his massive serve, could surprise. Young is not as good on grass and Groth/Jaziri should decide the quarter.

Dark Horse: Sergiy Stakhovsky

Sergiy Stakhovaky, 2012 ATP Cincinnati/Courtney Massey

Many players are dark horses this week. Given such a wide open field, Stakhovsky gets the official designation as I have him in the final. If his serve and volley game is on. he should excel this week against all possible opponents before the final.

Predictions
Semis:
Isner d. Johnson
Stakhovsky d. Mahut

Isner and Johnson have never met, and I do favor the vastly improved Johnson over Hewitt/Harrison in the quarters, but Isner should have too big of a game for Steve in the semis.

Johnson has worked on his mentality, his footwork and other parts of his game, and can compete at the ATP level now, but Isner will be too much. I favor Stako over Mahut based upon current form.

Final:
Isner d. Stakhovsky

Isner and Stako have a split h2h, but Isner won the fast surface meeting in ’09, and on grass, fortune seems to favor the much higher ranked Isner. Big John always plays his best on US soil. Look for him to notch his second ATP title of the season this week.

—Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast

Krueger, Ginepri, Thompson Nab Main Draw Wild Cards @TennisHalloFame

Krueger, Ginepri, Thompson Nab Main Draw Wild Cards @TennisHalloFame

Ginepri (Photo: Tally Challenger)

Ginepri (Photo: Tally Challenger)

NEWPORT, R.I., July 5, 2014 – Wild cards for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I. have been awarded to past champion Robby Ginepri, and young Americans Mitchell Krueger and Clay Thompson, both of whom are making their ATP World Tour main draw debut.

“Newport has a long history of welcoming young players who have gone on to have highly successful careers, and we are happy to welcome Mitchell and Clay for their main draw debuts on the ATP World Tour. Robby has always had many fans in Newport. We look forward to having him back in Newport as he continues his comeback,” commented Tournament Director Mark Stenning.

Robby Ginepri is no stranger to the grass courts in Newport, where he reached his first ATP World Tour semifinal in 2002, and captured the title in 2003. He reached the second round two other times, compiling a 10-3 record for the event. This will be his fifth appearance in Newport, and first since 2009. Ginepri is a three-time champion on the ATP World Tour, having also won titles at Indianapolis in 2005 and 2009. A 13 year ATP World Tour veteran, Ginepri has been focused on a comeback this season after an elbow injury had him sidelined for the better part of last year. Earlier this season, he won the title at the Tallahassee Challenger and successfully qualified for Houston and Indian Wells.

Southern California native Clay Thompson just wrapped up a successful four year career for UCLA. He played No. 3 for the Bruins as a freshman, No. 1 as a sophomore, and No. 5 as a junior, due to an injury, before returning to the top spot as a senior. He had an 18-1 senior season, and was the No. 1 ranked player in the ITA rankings from January to May. Thompson closed the season at No. 2 in the ITA rankings, just behind teammate Marcos Giron. While at UCLA, Thompson earned multiple All-Pac-12 team selections and he was the 2014 Pac-12 Tennis Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Mitchell Krueger, age 20, is the youngest player in the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships main draw. He is ranked world No. 330 and has been climbing up the world rankings due to his success in ITF Futures tournaments, including three finishes as a finalist this season. Last season, Krueger, won the title at a Futures event in The Netherlands. In 2012, he reached a career high of world No. 5 in the ITF Juniors rankings and was the No.1 American junior.

—A. McLaughlin, ITHoF

Top Seeds Advance @TennisHalloFame Qualifying #ATPNewport

James McGee

James McGee

One breezy day removed from Tropical Storm Arthur, the favorites breezed into final round qualifying at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island. Top qualifier Ante Pavic needed all of 53 minutes to defeat Frederik Nielsen, 6-3, 6-2. 2 seed Hiroki Moriya needed all of 55 minutes to advance past Divij Sharan 6-2, 6-3. Ruben Bemelmans played what seemed like a marathon, a 108 minute three set win over Gerardo Lopez Villasenor, 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-1.

The pair of Americans in qualifying also rushed through the opening rounds. Kevin King dispatched Jan Hernych, 6-4, 6-2, in 1:02, while Austin Krajicek wasted little time with Adrian Bossel, 6-2, 6-1 in just 42 minutes.

In the carnival sideshow, 42-year-old wild card Sandor Noszaly hit 12 double faults and gave himself little chance against 23-year-old Takanyi Garanganga. Garanganga won the match 3 and 3. Thus inspired, I will be seeking a wild card to qualifying next year.

The shortest match of the day was the double-bageling of Sarvar Ikramov in a 34 minutes. For a complete match.

The fans were due for a real match and they finally got one at the end of the day. James McGee came back and broke back in the second set on the verge of a straight sets loss. Snatching defeat, he then won the 2nd set tiebreak and grinded out a win over Michael Venus, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-2. in 1:51.

On practice courts, Michal Przysiezny hit with Marius Copil and Steve Johnson with Donald Young.

Qualifying play continues tomorrow.

Michal Przysiezny

Michal Przysiezny

—S. Fogleman

Summer Sneaking Up on Us: @CitiOpen, @TennisHalloFame Announce Early Player Fields

Summer Sneaking Up on Us: @CitiOpen, @TennisHalloFame Announce Early Player Fields

Bryan Brothers, Isner, Gasquet, Hewitt, Stephens Commit Early to Citi Open
Isner, Hewitt, Baghdatis, Kyrgios, Mahut In at Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

The countdowns to the Citi Open and the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships have officially started.

Sloane Stephens

Fans can watch their favorite stars in action and up close on the East Coast this summer. Early commitments to Citi Open include ATP World Tour Rankings No. 1 doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan, top-ranked American John Isner, top-ranked French player Richard Gasquet, and top-ranked Australian Lleyton Hewitt. On the women’s side, fan favorite Sloane Stephens, ranked No. 16 in the WTA Tour, will make a return appearance. Full player fields will be determined and announced approximately six weeks prior to the start of that tournament.

Citiopen Official Site

Citi Open runs from July 26 – August 3 at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center at 16th and Kennedy Streets NW. To purchase, fans can click the link at www.citiopentennis.com and search for Citi Open, or call the tournament hotline at 202-721-9500.

John Isner, ATP Newport, 2012 Copyright TennisEastCoast.com

In Newport, Defending champion Nicolas Mahut of France has committed to the player field for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, where he captured both the singles and doubles titles last year. In addition, two wild cards have been awarded to Marcos Baghdatis, an exciting player formerly ranked in the world top-10, and Nick Kyrgios of Australia who achieved the world No. 1 ITF Juniors ranking in 2013. The three new entries to the field will join No. 1 American John Isner and Australian great Lleyton Hewitt in that tournament, which will be played at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., July 5 – 13. The Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, which is held directly after Wimbledon, is the only event played on grass courts in North or South America, and the only ATP World Tour event in New England.

Newport2014Site
“Tennis season has finally arrived in New England and we are gearing up for a great tournament this summer at the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” commented Tournament Director Mark Stenning. “Nico Mahut was unstoppable in Newport last summer and we are glad to welcome him back as defending champion. Marcos Baghdatis and Nick Kyrgios are exciting players to watch, and we know the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships fans will enjoy seeing them compete.”

Nicolas Mahut won both the singles and doubles titles at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships last year, following an epic couple of days of competition in which inclement weather forced him to play four matches in 24 hours. Mahut entered the Newport tournament last year ranked world No. 127. Since winning in Newport, he has consistently climbed the ATP World Tour rankings and is currently world No. 38, having reached a career high of world No. 37 earlier this month. Mahut’s victory in Newport last year was his second career title, having won his first just weeks prior at the Topshelf Open at s-Hertogenbosch in The Netherlands. With countryman Michael Llodra, Mahut was a finalist at the French Open in doubles last year. Inclusive of his 2013 Newport titles, he has won two singles titles and eight doubles titles.

Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus has been a staple of the ATP World Tour since the early 2000s. He has achieved notable wins against some of the world’s best players including Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, and Andy Murray, and has been involved in many long, exciting matches. He is recognized for the energy that he brings to each match, and for his ability to draw fans in. In 2006, Baghdatis reached a career high of world No. 8 and won his first career title with a victory at the China Open. He has finished the season ranked in the world top-50 six times in the past eight years, and has won four ATP World Tour titles. Baghdatis made his Davis Cup debut for the Cyprus Davis Cup team in 2000 as a 14-year-old. He has been a dedicated and successful player for his country ever since, and has been instrumental in advancing the team from the lowest division of Davis Cup to move up two levels into the Euro/Africa Group II. With 43 straight wins, he is one of the most successful Davis Cup players of all time.

Nineteen-year old Australian Nick Kyrgios had a break through season just about this time last year, and has been going strong ever since. Kyrgios was given a wild card into the 2013 French Open, at which he won his first career ATP level match, defeating then world No. 52 Radek Stepanek in three tiebreak sets. Also last year, Kyrgios won the Australian Open junior title and the Wimbledon junior doubles title. He achieved the world No. 1 ITF Juniors ranking. This season, Krygios won back-to-back Challenger Tour titles in April. Earlier this year he represented Australia in Davis Cup competition. Next week, he is set to play in the French Open again, and has been training with Roger Federer in advance of the tournament. He is currently ranked world No. 161.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, including access to the International Tennis Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on July 12, are available now. Hall of Fame Members save $5 on tickets, and enjoy many other benefits throughout tournament week, including access to a Member Lounge, first-in-line status for autographs, and much more. Tickets and membership info is available on HallofFameTennisChampionships.com or by phone at (401) 849-6053.

—-S. Pegarido/A. McLaughlin