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Friday, January 18, 2019

Tennis

Watch: Frances Tiafoe does another LeBron James celebration after win

Frances Tiafoe LeBron silencer

Another day at the Australian Open, another win for Frances Tiafoe followed by a LeBron James celebration.

Tiafoe rallied from down 2 sets to 1 against Andreas Seppi to win their third round match on Friday in five sets 6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Not only has Tiafoe accomplished his biggest career win at the tournament, but he also now has his best major finish of his young career.

After his big comeback win, Tiafoe celebrated by doing LeBron’s silencer:

Just two days ago, Tiafoe celebrated his win by doing LeBron’s biceps flex.

The 20-year-old is a huge fan of James and seems to model much of his behavior after the NBA star. He also could be on the verge of his big breakout tournament.

Frances Tiafoe says celebration was nod to LeBron James

Frances Tiafoe biceps LeBron

Emerging American tennis player Frances Tiafoe pulled off the biggest win of his pro career and celebrated accordingly.

Tiafoe, 20, defeated 5-seed Kevin Anderson in the second round of the Australian Open, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. After his win, Tiafoe celebrated by flexing his biceps like LeBron James.

In an on-set interview with ESPN after his win, Tiafoe said he’s a huge LeBron fan and was waiting for a moment where he could do the celebration.

“I’m a massive LeBron fan and I always see him do it. I was like if I ever have a moment where I can do it, I’m going to do it too. So I had to bring it out,” Tiafoe said.

Here’s LeBron doing it for comparison:

Tiafoe is one of the best young Americans on tour. He’s already ranked No. 38, has won a title on tour, and he’s now into the third round of a major for the third time in his career.

Andy Murray announces he will retire from tennis this year due to hip injury

Andy Murray

Andy Murray announced in an emotional press conference on Thursday that he will be retiring from tennis this year due to his hip injury.

Murray missed four consecutive majors from the end of 2017 through 2018 and underwent hip surgery last January. He tried to return midway through the year and even played in the US Open, where he lost in the second round. He was only able to play a limited schedule and was often knocked out early in tournaments.

After meeting on Thursday with the surgeon in Australian who operated on his hip last year, Murray made the announcement about his impending retirement. He said he would like to retire after Wimbledon but is not sure he’ll be able to play long enough to reach that event.

“I’m not feeling good. I’ve been struggling for a long time. Been in a lot of pain for 20 months now. Pretty much done everything I could to make my hip feel better,” Murray said, via The Guardian.

“Wimbledon is where I would like to stop playing but I’m not certain I’ll be able to do that. I’m not certain I can play through the pain for an other four five months.”

Murray says he is able to play with limitations, but those limitations are preventing him from enjoying training and competing. As for the type of pain he’s dealing with, he said he can’t put on his shoes or socks without pain.

The 31-year-old leaves behind an excellent legacy in the sport. Murray was a part of the “Big Four” in men’s tennis, with his peers including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for nearly a decade. After reaching the finals of four majors and losing in all of them, Murray finally broke through in 2012 by winning the US Open, beating Djokovic. He later captured two Wimbledon titles. He has won 45 singles titles in all, been ranked No. 1 in the world, and he impressively won the gold medal in men’s singles in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Murray went 3-8 in his career in major finals, with five of the losses coming to Djokovic and three to Federer — some of the best company in the history of the sport.

Genie Bouchard trolls herself in Instagram comment

Genie Bouchard Wimbledon

Tennis player Genie Bouchard trolled herself in a recent Instagram comment.

Caroline Wozniacki had posted a photo on Instagram of her at the Australian Open. An Instagram user was critical of her with a comment saying she should spend less time on the social media app and more time practicing to start winning again. That’s when Bouchard jumped in and trolled herself, replying to the commenter by saying the commenter was on the wrong page and should be on Bouchard’s.

Wozniacki went through a poor stretch of play in 2015 before starting to bounce back. She even won the Australian Open last year for her first major. Contrarily, Bouchard went from being great in 2014 before starting to fall off the next year. She made the semis of two majors in 2014 and the finals of another. Since 2016, she has not advanced past the third round of any major. She’s been used to hearing that sort of criticism lately, which is why she was able to joke about it.

Report: Tennis umpires considering boycott of Serena Williams matches

Serena Williams umpire

Tennis umpires are considering a boycott of Serena Williams matches out of fear for their jobs, according to a report.

The Times of London reported that tennis umpires are feeling unsupported following the fallout from Saturday’s US Open final between Williams and Naomi Osaka. Williams was called for three violations during a four-game span, resulting in a severe game penalty with the championship on the line in the second set.

Though all three were legitimate violations and called correctly according to the rule book, some feel that umpire Carlos Ramos did not need to assess the coaching violation and/or that he could have given Williams more leeway before assessing the third violation, which resulted in the harshest penalty. Williams defended herself multiple times following the violations being called, at times yelling at Ramos and demanding an apology. She later accused him of sexism for calling the third violation, which she believes never would have been called were she a man.

In the aftermath, the USTA (which puts on the US Open), and WTA, the women’s tour on which Williams plays, both issued statements in support of Williams. The ITF backed Ramos in a statement.

Umpires apparently now fear becoming part of such a controversy — being publicly vilified for doing nothing more than their job and calling violations when they’re committed on the court. Not being supported — and worse — being blamed, undermines the officials’ abilities to enforce the rule book and stand up to abuse from players.

A retired Gold Badge umpire told ESPN that any organized action from the umpires would be unlikely, but he said several umpires nonetheless feel abandoned and unsupported.

Juan Martin del Potro cries after losing US Open final

Juan Martin del Potro

Juan Martin Del Potro was emotional after losing in the finals of the US Open on Sunday to Novak Djokovic.

The 29-year-old Argentine fell short against Djokovic, losing in straight sets 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. Reaching the finals marked del Potro’s best major finish since he won the US Open in 2009. He was seen crying on the court following the defeat and said it was for a simple reason — he was sad about losing.

Del Potro’s journey to reach the final likely played a role in his feelings. He missed 11 majors from 2013-2017 while dealing with wrist injuries. He overcame the injuries to win a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics, as well as reach the semis of the US Open last year and semis of the French Open this year. He came his closest since 2009 to winning his second major but fell short, which likely left him extremely disappointed despite his accomplishment.

Fans attack Naomi Osaka’s Instagram page after controversial win

Naomi Osaka crying

One of the unfortunate side effects of Saturday’s controversial U.S. Open women’s final is 20-year-old Naomi Osaka’s first Grand Slam title being somewhat overshadowed by the events involving Serena Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos.

Williams was the crowd favorite at the U.S. Open, and there was definitely some disappointment to see her lose, especially the way she did. The game penalty assessed to her late in the match added fuel to those who felt she was robbed of a winnable match, and unfortunately, a number of fans took it out on Osaka’s Instagram comments.

It’s incredibly disappointing to see this, as it detracts from what was an outstanding performance by the 20-year-old. Many of these comments choose to ignore that one vital fact: Osaka was already winning when Williams was assessed the game penalty. She won the first set 6-2 in dominant fashion and was up a break when the game penalty was assessed, seemingly on her way to winning even without it as long as she held serve, and the game penalty came when Osaka would have been serving anyway.

Some will argue that, right or wrong, the umpire’s decisions were frustrating and distracting for Williams and helped lead to the break. Others will suggest she could have broken back during the set that ultimately was awarded to Osaka. Maybe so, but the reality of the situation was that Osaka was the better player on Saturday even before the umpiring controversy erupted. Ignoring that is unfair to her. The circumstances of the match are controversial, and understandably so. The fact that Osaka won it shouldn’t be.