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ATP Resurfaced: Federer Saves 2 M.P. To Defeat Berdych

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2020

ATP Resurfaced: Federer Saves 2 M.P. To Defeat Berdych

Swiss maestro to play Kyrgios on Friday

Editor’s Note: is resurfacing articles to bring fans closer to their favourite players. This story was originally published on 30 March 2017.

Roger Federer held off a streaky Tomas Berdych on Thursday at the Miami Open presented by Itau, saving two match points to reach the semi-finals 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(6).

“I’ve had some tough losses here where I should have won, like against Tomas a few years ago and also against Nishikori, and they stay with you. I’m happy to come have through today,” Federer told ESPN after the match. “I definitely got very lucky at the end, but I think I showed great heart today. I fought and Tomas definitely started to step it up, but it was a great match at the end.”

Watch Full Match Replays

Federer hadn’t saved a match point en route to victory since erasing three in coming back from two sets down to defeat Marin Cilic in the 2016 Wimbledon quarter-finals. The Swiss maestro moves to 17-1 in 2017, his best start to a season since 2006, and has now won seven straight tie-breaks. Federer is through to his seventh semi-final in Miami and first since 2011.

The fifth seed will play 12th seed Nick Kyrgios for a place in Sunday’s final. Kyrgios leads the FedEx ATPHead2Head with Federer 1-0, prevailing on the clay courts of Madrid in 2015 in a third-set tie-break.

“They like the big stage and the belief they have makes them tough to play in any given match,” said Federer of Kyrgios and other rising stars on the ATP World Tour. “The question with those guys coming up is what can they bring every single day? How is the mind and the body coping through the newer stress for them that they’re experiencing? Some weeks you feel great, some weeks you don’t feel so good. That’s normal when you’re younger and still trying to figure everything out, what their best surface is, how they need to play against certain player types.”

Coming into the quarter-finals, Berdych had dropped serve just once in the tournament. But, putting just one of six first serves into play, the Czech was broken in the opening game of the match. In contrast, Federer fought off a break point in the second game. He held serve throughout and broke Berdych again at 4-2 to put the set beyond doubt.

Berdych regrouped in the second set and took advantage of a loose Federer service game to go ahead 5-3 and soon after snapped his streak of 15 lost sets to Federer to take the match to a decider.

Little separated both players in the early stages of the third set, but a pair of forehand errors from Berdych gifted Federer a break to lead 4-2. The fifth seed was shockingly broken at love attempting to serve out the match at 5-3 and couldn’t convert on a match point at 5-4 after Berdych erased it with a gutsy 120mph second serve down the T to Federer’s forehand.  

Federer trailed 4/6 in the third-set tie-break, but Berdych missed his opportunities with a backhand unforced error and a forehand into the net. A double fault from Berdych at 6/7 wrapped up the match after one hour and 57 minutes. Federer improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Berdych to 18-6 and has won their past seven matches.

“I guess you get better over time handling pressure. Then you have to be careful as you grow older not to play too conservatively when it matters. You start playing percentages way too much when you get older because you’ve seen too many times what can happen,” said Federer. “Sometimes when you have that young mind you just go for it, and that’s when great things do happen. For me, it’s always a balance between playing the percentages, yet playing free and young in the mind.”

Federer has not tasted success in Miami since 2006, when he completed the Indian Wells-Miami title double for the second consecutive year.

Despite the loss, Berdych said there were still plenty of positives to take from his fortnight in Miami.

“I’ve done quite a bit of work in between Indian Wells and now and I think that’s showing here, which is important,” said Berdych. “I think this was just the very beginning. The beginning of the year has slipped a bit for me, but I think the season is long, and I think whoever is going to come fresh and strong for the second part of it is going to be very dangerous.”

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Wimbledon cancelled due to coronavirus – where does that leave tennis in 2020?

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2020

Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament was due to be played between 29 June and 12 July.

The entire grass-court season has been abandoned, and there will be no professional tennis anywhere in the world until at least 13 July.

Wimbledon is the latest major summer sporting event to be called off, with Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics postponed for 12 months.

It follows the postponement of the French Open, which was due to begin in May but has been rescheduled to 20 September-4 October.

“This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,” said Ian Hewitt, All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman.

“It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of the Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond.

“Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.”

Why decide now?

The All England Club did not need to make a decision before the end of April, but the writing has been on the wall for some time.

That is when on-site preparations would have had to begin in earnest: a forlorn hope given the current restrictions in place in the UK.

As was the thought that by the end of June, 40,000 people would be able to take their seats in packed stands, and jostle for the best vantage point in the narrow walkways bordering the outside courts.

The government’s advice that large gatherings should not take place is aimed, in no small part, at relieving the pressure on the emergency services, which would otherwise be in attendance. It is undeniably optimistic to assume the demands on the health service will have returned to normal levels by mid-summer.

Swift cancellation should help reduce any losses that Wimbledon, and the LTA’s series of grass-court events, might incur – but there is also the issue of perception.

The All England Club would not want to be seen to be pushing ahead with a sporting event as the death toll continues to rise and the country remains in the grip of the pandemic.

Sticking resolutely to a place on the calendar, only to cancel abruptly, or postponing by a few weeks before having to concede defeat, is messy. It is not the way Wimbledon does things. Better, instead, to face facts and plan to return with a flourish in 2021.

What about refunds and impact on finances?

The All England Club had the foresight to take out insurance policies which will shield them from eye-watering losses. They will therefore be able to refund ticket holders, broadcast partners and sponsors – a bill which, even according to conservative estimates, will top £200m.

The Lawn Tennis Association will also receive its ‘annual surplus’ of profits. The payment, which effectively funds British tennis’ governing body for the year ahead, was over £40m in 2018.

It is likely to fall, but should not leave an irreparable hole at the heart of the LTA’s finances, especially as it has reserves of over £160m

But the LTA has lost over £12m in the past two years, and will also be hit by the loss of all of the summer grass-court events. Of those, only the Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club actually returns a profit, but as they are not insured against cancellation, this year’s losses will inevitably be greater.

But the biggest blow for British tennis is the loss of the best shop window of the year. No Queen’s, Eastbourne or Wimbledon means no BBC TV exposure for the sport, and even if we are allowed to return to the courts, there is very unlikely to be the dramatic spike in participation usually seen in the months of June and July.

Will there be any tennis at all in 2020?

No-one is holding their breath for a resumption of the tour in Hamburg, Bastad, Bucharest and Lausanne on 13 July.

The Olympic tournament is already on hold; the prestigious events in Toronto and Montreal in the middle of August are said to be under threat; and the USTA has publicly floated the possibility of pushing back the US Open start date of 31 August.

There has even been talk behind the scenes of staging the US Open in Indian Wells, California, in December. But if you take the US Open out of New York and push it back three months, it won’t be the US Open.

If professional tennis is able to resume, then the WTA in particular seems keen to make up for lost time and continue beyond the WTA Championships scheduled for the first week in November.

But the global nature of the sport, which requires players to cross continents with so much regularity, may yet make this debate an academic one as far as 2020 is concerned.

As the 2006 Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo said on Twitter earlier this week: “I think we are going to have to draw a line under the 2020 tennis season.

“An international circuit = players of all nationalities, as well as coaches, spectators and those coming from all four corners of the world to bring these events to life.

“No vaccine = no tennis.”

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Wimbledon Announces Cancellation Of The Championships 2020

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2020

Wimbledon Announces Cancellation Of The Championships 2020

The 134th Championships will be held from 28 June to 11 July 2021

Statement from the All England Club…

It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic. The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.

Uppermost in our mind has been the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Wimbledon happen – the public in the UK and visitors from around the world, our players, guests, members, staff, volunteers, partners, contractors, and local residents – as well as our broader responsibility to society’s efforts to tackle this global challenge to our way of life.

Since the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in January, we have followed guidance from the UK Government and public health authorities in relation to our year-round operations, alongside developing an understanding of the likely trajectory of the outbreak in the UK. This has enabled analysis of the impact of the Government restrictions on the usual commencement in April of the significant preparations required to stage The Championships, either on the original date of 29 June, or at a later date in the summer of 2020.

These considerations are particularly related to the concerns brought about by mass gatherings and the strain on the medical and emergency services, as well as movement and travel restrictions both within the UK and around the world. With the likelihood that the Government’s measures will continue for many months, it is our view that we must act responsibly to protect the large numbers of people required to prepare The Championships from being at risk – from the training of ball boys and girls to thousands of officials, line judges, stewards, players, suppliers, media and contractors who convene on the AELTC Grounds – and equally to consider that the people, supplies and services legally required to stage The Championships would not be available at any point this summer, thus ruling out postponement.

Following a series of detailed deliberations on all of the above, it is the Committee of Management’s view that cancellation of The Championships is the best decision in the interests of public health, and that being able to provide certainty by taking this decision now, rather than in several weeks, is important for everyone involved in tennis and The Championships. Members of the public who have paid for tickets in the Wimbledon Public Ballot for this year’s Championships will have their tickets refunded and will be offered the chance to purchase tickets for the same day and court for The Championships 2021. We will be communicating directly with all ticket-holders.

In addition, we have taken account of the impact that this decision will have on those who rely on The Championships – including the players and the tennis community in Britain and around the world – and we are developing plans to support those groups, working in partnership with the LTA and the other leadership bodies in global tennis. This also applies to our loyal staff, to whom we take our responsibility very seriously.

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ATP & WTA Announce Further Suspension Of Tours

Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman, commented: “This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen. It has weighed heavily on our minds that the staging of The Championships has only been interrupted previously by World Wars but, following thorough and extensive consideration of all scenarios, we believe that it is a measure of this global crisis that it is ultimately the right decision to cancel this year’s Championships, and instead concentrate on how we can use the breadth of Wimbledon’s resources to help those in our local communities and beyond. Our thoughts are with all those who have been and continue to be affected by these unprecedented times.”

Richard Lewis CBE, AELTC Chief Executive, commented: “While in some ways this has been a challenging decision, we strongly believe it is not only in the best interests of society at this time, but also provides certainty to our colleagues in international tennis given the impact on the grass court events in the UK and in Europe and the broader tennis calendar. We have appreciated the support of the LTA, and the ATP, WTA and ITF in coming to this decision, and our friends and partners who stage these grass court events that are so important in the build up to Wimbledon. I would like to thank the UK Government and public health authorities for their guidance and support, and we will do whatever we can to assist their efforts in tackling the crisis.

“Finally, I would like to thank all those who love Wimbledon for their understanding of these unique and unquestionably challenging circumstances. It is your passion for The Championships that has shaped our event over the years, and will continue to do so, and we look forward to preparing a fantastic Championships for 2021.”

Our efforts will now be focused on contributing to the emergency response and supporting those affected by the coronavirus crisis. We have begun distributing medical equipment and offered the use of our facilities to the NHS and to the London Resilience Partnership, the collection of agencies in London fighting the battle against COVID-19. We are working with the local authorities in Merton and Wandsworth, particularly on food distribution, and we are distributing food supplies through our partnership with City Harvest. Our charity, the Wimbledon Foundation, is offering funding support to our local communities through our partnership with the London Community Foundation, and more broadly for the London and UK population through our partnership with the British Red Cross, the Foundation’s emergency response charity.

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After coronavirus: Sport set for hectic year approaching 2021

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2020

Sport – described as the most important of the unimportant things.

While it may seem a long way off or irrelevant right now, later this year we could be gearing up for a thrilling 12 months of action.

After rescheduling prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, the postponed Euros, Olympics and Paralympics will all be squeezed into the 2021 calendar.

Here we run down what you can (hopefully) look forward to when the crisis subsides, but first the short-term…


A final decision on dates has yet to be taken on the following events, although several are in doubt.

4 June: England v West Indies, cricket Test series

5-6 June: Horse racing – The Derby meeting, Epsom

16-20 June: Horse racing – Royal Ascot

18-21 June: Golf – US Open, New York

20 June: Boxing – Anthony Joshua v Kubrat Pulev, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

27 June to 19 July: Cycling – Tour de France

4-5 July: Athletics – Anniversary Games, London

16-19 July: Golf – The Open at Royal St George’s

17 July to 15 August: Cricket – The Hundred

19 July: Formula 1 – British Grand Prix at Silverstone

30 July: Cricket: England v Pakistan Test series

8 August: Scheduled start of football’s 2020-21 league campaign in England.

25-30 August: European Athletics Championships, Paris

  • Timeline: Coronavirus and sport


July or August: World Snooker Championship

TBC Football – Final eight to nine postponed matches of 2019-20 Premier League season and FA Cup

TBC Football – Champions League and Europa League “suspended until further notice”, all international matches in June postponed

TBC: Golf – US PGA Championship, San Francisco

What next?

When sport is able to resume, the calendar could be a mix of rescheduled and established events, with a packed autumn schedule and busy 2021 making for a potentially hectic 12 months from September onwards…

20 September to 4 October: Tennis – French Open

25-27 September: Golf – Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin

4 October: London Marathon

10 October: Rugby League – Scheduled end of Super League season

18 October to 15 November: Cricket – Men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia

TBC: Rugby union- Final Six Nations matches

TBC: Boxing – Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder

15-22 November: Tennis – ATP Finals, London

7 November: Rugby Union – England v New Zealand at Twickenham

29 November – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Last scheduled F1 race of 2020

  • Sporting calendar: The big events of 2020


So what is happening with the biggest events?

EURO 2020 (Postponed)

Original dates: 12 June to 12 July

New dates: 11 June to 11 July, 2021

While it has yet to be decided whether Euro 2020 will actually be known as Euro 2021, the tournament – staged at 12 venues across Europe with semi-finals and finals at London’s Wembley Stadium – has been put back a year.

In addition, all international football in June, including Euro 2020 qualifiers, has been postponed.

The Women’s European Championship – set to be held in England in 2021 – will be moved to the summer of 2022

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has said the 2019-20 season could be lost, although the Premier League is keen to complete the campaign.

  • English football suspension extended until 30 April


Original dates: Olympics – 24 July to 9 August; Paralympics – 25 August to 6 September, 2020

New dates: Olympics – 23 July to 8 August; Paralympics – 24 August to 5 September, 2021

The Olympics and Paralympics will still be branded as Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.

It is expected that the World Athletics Championships, which would have overlapped with the rearranged Olympics on its original dates of 6-15 August 2021, will now take place in 2022.



Season dates: 13 March to 27 November. First eight races postponed.

F1 chairman Chase Carey has said that he hoped to start a revamped season of 15-18 races some time in the summer, and emphasised that all races could move from their original dates.

The Canadian Grand Prix on 14 June is the first on the original schedule not yet postponed in a season in which British driver Lewis Hamilton is seeking to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven F1 championships.

Formula E is suspended for two months, affecting races in Paris, Seoul and Jakarta.


Original dates: 1 February to 15 March

All matches in the final round of the men’s and women’s Six Nations have been postponed and new dates have yet to be announced.

Men: Italy v Ireland, Wales v Scotland, Italy v England, France v Ireland still to play.

  • Who will win Six Nations?

Women: Italy v Scotland, Ireland v Italy, Scotland v France; Wales v Scotland, France v Ireland, Italy v England still to play.

The rescheduled Olympics will be happening around the same time as the three British and Irish Lions Test matches in South Africa, although the games are understood to be 6pm kick offs local time (17:00 BST), which is 1am in Tokyo.

Domestically in Europe, the Pro 14 has been indefinitely put on hold with the final in Cardiff cancelled, and while the Premiership will surely have to be suspended beyond its original date of 20 April, league bosses are still determined to finish the season if possible.

HORSE RACING – Grand National (Cancelled)

Original date: 4 April, 2020

Next date: 10 April, 2021

All racing in the UK has been postponed until the end of April, and a working group is preparing the sport to be ready – if possible – for action from 1 May.

Any return would probably be limited Flat racing without spectators to begin with.

GOLF – The Masters (Postponed)

Original dates: 9-12 April, 2020

New dates: TBC

Tiger Woods was due to defend his title from 9 April at Augusta National in Georgia but the first men’s major championship of the year could now take place in October.

BOXING – Fury and Joshua

Dates: 20 June Joshua v Pulev; TBC – Fury v Wilder

Britain’s world heavyweight champions Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are waiting to hear when they will fight next.

Joshua is down to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO belts against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham’s stadium on 20 June, although Spurs have yet to hear if and when they will play their remaining three Premier League home matches.

The WBC champion Fury could fight American Deontay Wilder for a third time in October after their planned bout on 18 July was postponed, according to promoter Frank Warren.


Dates: 29 June to 12 July, 2020

The All England Club has cancelled Wimbledon for the first time since the Second World War.

RUGBY LEAGUE (Postponed)

Dates: Super League – 30 January to 10 October, 2020

Super League has been suspended since 16 March and some clubs think there should be no relegation.

  • What next for rugby league?

CYCLING – TOUR DE FRANCE (No spectators?)

Dates: 27 June to 9 July

The Tour de France is considering the option of going ahead without fans.

The Giro d’Italia – set for 9-31 May – has been postponed, while a decision is still to be made on the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana, which is due to start on 14 August.

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ATP & WTA Announce Further Suspension Of Tours

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2020

ATP & WTA Announce Further Suspension Of Tours

Suspension across ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour events

In conjunction with the cancellation of The Championships, Wimbledon, the ATP and WTA have jointly announced the continued suspension of the ATP and WTA Tours until July 13, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to Wimbledon, the suspension covers the entirety of the ATP/WTA European grass court swing, including ATP events in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Stuttgart, London-Queen’s, Halle, Mallorca, Eastbourne, as well as WTA events in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Nottingham, Birmingham, Berlin, Eastbourne and Bad Homburg. The suspension comes into effect at all levels of the professional game, including the ATP Challenger Tour, as well as the ITF World Tennis Tour. At this time, tournaments taking place from July 13, 2020 onwards are still planning to proceed as per the published schedule.

The ATP and WTA realise the importance and responsibility to prioritise the health and safety of the tennis community and general public while assessing the feasibility of the Tours’ resumption.

“Regrettably, the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic leaves us with no choice but to suspend the Tour further; a decision we’ve made in close cooperation with our members and the other governing bodies of tennis,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman. “Health and safety remains the top priority as we navigate the challenges ahead in these unprecedented times, and we will do everything we can for the Tour to resume at the earliest opportunity once it is safe to do so.”

“This was a decision that the WTA and its members did not take lightly, however we remain vigilant in protecting the health and safety of our players, staff and fans,” said Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO. “While we share in the disappointment of the season’s further postponement, our priority remains to support each other during this unprecedented time and work together as a sport in preparation of our return to play.”

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My Point: Johnson Reflects On Father's Memory

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2020

My Point: Johnson Reflects On Father’s Memory

In the third installation of’s ‘My Point’ series, American Steve Johnson writes about the struggles he has faced — on and off the court — since his father passed away in his sleep one year ago today

My hands were on my knees as I stood bent over behind the baseline. After retaining my title in Houston last month, I was choking back tears.

I looked to the sky and pumped my fist as I walked to the net to embrace my opponent, Tennys Sandgren, a first-time finalist who I knew wanted to win his first trophy badly. When I put my head down on his chest, Tennys said something I will never forget.

“I know our Dads are watching in the crowd.”

Aaron M. Sprecher/US Clay
I was doing my best to hold it together. But when Tennys, who lost his father a number of years ago, said that, I let it all out.

One year ago today, just 25 days after winning my first title on home soil in Houston, my dad, Steve Johnson Sr., passed away in his sleep.

I had just fulfilled a dream we shared — earning a trophy in the United States. But that was the last match he ever saw me play. Suddenly, Dad was gone.


I vividly remember when Mom called that Thursday.

I’d checked into my flight to Rome at Los Angeles International Airport and had just dropped off my bags. It was 6:30 in the morning when my phone rang. Mom’s an early riser, so it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary that she was calling. I figured she probably just wanted to tell me to have a safe flight.

I was barely 10 feet from the United Airlines counter, walking toward security when she gave me the most devastating news of my life. I only had a few words in me.

“I’m coming home.”

I hung up the phone and jumped into a cab back to my house. I called my agent since my bags were checked in, and he told me not to worry about a thing — just go be with family. My then-fiancee — Kendall Bateman, whom I married on 21 April of this year — and I then got in our car and drove to Orange, California, where my parents lived. The radio was off. We sat in silence. My eyes were wide open in shock.

When we drove around the corner of my parents’ block, I saw a police car, a medic, and some family members’ cars. I still see all those cars outside the house sometimes when I make that turn. I’ll find myself short of breath, thinking I’m going to walk in and see Dad sitting on the couch watching television. That was the worst ride home of my life.


The year since has been extremely tough. But my parents raised me to be a competitor and do things the right way. Dad wouldn’t have wanted me to give up, so I got back on the court, even though it’s been a struggle.

There have been times when I haven’t picked up a racquet for days and then I’ve gone on the court and been miserable. I’ve panicked. There have been times when my anxiety spiraled out of control. Some weeks it is easier and I can’t explain why. But I still enjoy playing tennis and find it’s a good way to honour him.

Dad was my first coach, after all. I remember spending long summer days with him at the courts with all the ladies’ groups he taught in the morning and all the older kids in the afternoon. I’d be the five or six-year-old kid getting beat up by 12-year-olds. I probably didn’t enjoy the losing part, but I loved being out there with Dad.

But he didn’t just help me. He coached hundreds, if not thousands, of kids, adults, high school teams, you name it. I remember when I was little, he even let a teenage girl he coached stay with us over the summer. He’d always coached her, but their family moved a bit far away. So like he always did, Dad made it work, and she not only went on to play at Nebraska, but remains a good family friend.

There’s no other way to put it: My dad loved everything about tennis and would do anything to help others achieve their goals.

That’s why I’ve found this healing process so difficult. We shared a passion for the sport.

I remember Dad taking me to watch Andre Agassi play the Netherlands in Davis Cup at Newport Beach when I was seven. We went on a trip to the US Open when I was young, too. As a young kid I was in tennis heaven running around from court to court, wanting to take it all in. Dad and a close family friend Rance Brown told me that I should want to play on those courts one day.

<a href=''>Steve Johnson</a>, <a href=''>Steve Johnson</a> Sr.
Steve Johnson
When I did become a professional, Dad was there, like always. He got to see me play on those same courts in Flushing Meadows. He was there when I played Roger Federer at Wimbledon on the historic Centre Court. He was in the stands when I won my first title at Nottingham two years ago.

So while many athletes who lose a loved one find their peaceful place on their playing field, a tennis court was the place I felt all wrong.

I can’t just go hit tennis balls like everything’s normal. It’d help if I knew the trigger, but the most ordinary of moments during a drill could make me think of Dad. There are some days I can get through it and some days I just have to take a break.

I had an especially hard time last summer because it was still so fresh. My mind was all over the place and once I got to Wimbledon, there was such a weight on my shoulders.

Physically I was on the court playing Marin Cilic in the third round, but emotionally I was just so ready to be done. I was thinking about what was truly important to me, and my tennis was such a small part of that at the time.

Right when I got home from Wimbledon, I was in and out of the hospital for a week. My body completely shut down. The doctors originally thought it might have been appendicitis, but they never figured it out. Deep down, I know my body just couldn’t handle what I’d gone through.

Even after that, it’s been hard to look at my players’ box at tournaments like the US Open and Indian Wells, because Dad should be there. I don’t look over there for coaching. I just wish my biggest fan was there.

<a href=''>Steve Johnson</a>, <a href=''>Steve Johnson</a> Sr.
Steve Johnson
But through the toughest moments, I’ve found a sense of unity. In Houston, I know it couldn’t have been easy for Tennys to lose his first final in front of his fantastic Mom, brothers, and others close to him. But he knew how I was feeling, and I’m forever thankful that he was there for me that day.

Going back to last year at Roland Garros, I hit a forehand winner to beat Borna Coric after four hours in the second round. I was incredibly proud of my fight, but after that shot I completely broke down.

When I got to the locker room, my coach Craig Boynton, my physio Christian LoCascio, and my good friends Sam Querrey and John Isner were there with me as I sat with a towel over my head. But a lot of other guys came up to me when they didn’t have to and just put a hand on my shoulder. It showed that while they are my competitors, the tennis world is a family too.


I have struggled with this in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. I lost three of my four matches in Australia at the beginning of the year, and when I got home, I started having panic and anxiety attacks. They were frequent, too.

They didn’t feel normal, but I’ve realised they are normal. They’re not something to shy away from.

I’ve talked a lot with Mardy Fish about the anxiety side of things. He’s someone who has gone through it, too. And I’ve learned that it’s okay to talk about it. It is not easy to deal with by any means. I tried the macho man deal for months, telling people I was fine until I was by myself and I could let go.

<a href=''>Steve Johnson</a>
Aaron M. Sprecher/US Clay
But hopefully this will reassure people that there is nothing wrong with opening up. That’s why I started seeing a professional earlier this year (thanks to a push from Mom, too). There’s no right answer to get over losing a loved one. But you try to live life the best you can. And while I still have many tough moments, speaking to somebody about it has helped a lot. I’m working my way back towards being happy and enjoying tennis again. That’s what Dad would have wanted.

Dating back to my college days, I’ve gone to the back of the court to say a little prayer before each match and win or lose, I say another one. That has a deeper meaning now.
Dad might not have been there physically in Houston last month. But when I looked up to the sky, I knew he was watching. No matter where I’m playing or what time of day, I know Dad’s up there supporting me every step of the way like he always has.

Hopefully this will get easier, but I never want to forget what Dad has done to get me to this point.

I’m very blessed — I get to play tennis for a living, so the bad days are still great.

– as told to Andrew Eichenholz

More ‘My Point’ Essays:

Isner Inspired By Mom’s Courage

Lopez’s New Journey In Madrid

Featured image credit: Aaron M. Sprecher/Eurosport/Steve Johnson

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De Minaur's Golf Game, Wawrinka's Clones: Tennis At Home Roundup

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2020

De Minaur’s Golf Game, Wawrinka’s Clones: Tennis At Home Roundup looks at what your favourite players have been up to

Your favourite players are all back at home, but they’re finding plenty of ways to stay active. From Alex de Minaur breaking out the golf clubs – albeit inside – to Stan Wawrinka celebrating his birthday by any means necessary, find out how the biggest names in tennis are keeping busy.

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De Minaur showed that he’s talented in more than one sport.

Wawrinka made sure that he wasn’t alone to celebrate his 35th birthday this past Saturday.

Roger Federer braved the snow to work on his trick shots.

Novak Djokovic appears to be adding serve-and-volley tennis to his arsenal.

Borna Coric is keeping his volleys sharp.

Alexander Zverev and Marcelo Melo held an Instagram Live with an unexpected ending.

Fabio Fognini proved that just about anything can work as a net.

Roberto Bautista Agut showed his support for good friend Rafael Nadal and his #NuestraMejorVictoria campaign to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts.

Soonwoo Kwon isn’t afraid to show his bloopers to the world.

Tennis At Home | How ATP Players Make The Most Of Stay At Home

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