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Egyptian Hossam banned for life for match-fixing

  • Posted: May 04, 2020

Youssef Hossam has been banned for life by the Tennis Integrity Unit after being found guilty of multiple match-fixing and other corruption offences.

The TIU found that the Egyptian, 21, had committed 21 breaches of anti-corruption rules between 2015 and 2019.

It also ruled he conspired with others to carry out betting-related corruption at the lower levels of the sport.

Hossam reached a career-high singles ranking of 291 in December 2017 and is currently ranked 820.

He was provisionally suspended from tennis in May last year and was found to have committed eight cases of match-fixing, six cases of facilitating gambling and two cases of soliciting other players not to use their best efforts.

He was also found guilty of three failures to report corrupt approaches and two failures to co-operate with a TIU investigation.

“As a result of his conviction, Mr Hossam is now permanently excluded from competing in or attending any sanctioned tennis event organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport,” said a TIU statement.

His elder brother, Karim Hossam, was banned from tennis for life for multiple match-fixing offences in 2018.

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Isner Breaks Down Tennis Talent Among NHL's Carolina Hurricanes

  • Posted: May 04, 2020

Isner Breaks Down Tennis Talent Among NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes

American drops in for ‘Checking In With Tripp’ on Sunday

John Isner never turns down an opportunity to talk about sports. The big-serving American joined Martin Necas, Teuvo Teravainen and Justin Williams of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday for the Zoom chat show ‘Checking In With Tripp’, hosted by former NHL player Tripp Tracy.

Isner is a longtime Hurricanes fan and even dropped the puck for a game in February 2019. He’s also played tennis with all three NHL stars and wasn’t shy in revealing which of them had the most on-court potential.

“Willy is actually a pretty good tennis player, but I’m not going to give it to him because he’s 40 years old,” Isner joked. “In terms of potential, I like Marty’s game a lot. He’s a lefty, very quick and whips the ball around. You could tell he played at least a little bit of tennis growing up. More importantly, he returned my serve a couple of times!

“You guys stand at the net and redirect slap shots coming 100mph and I think it’s pretty similar to returning a serve at that speed. I was very impressed with everyone at the indoor courts that day.”

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

Prior to Isner’s good-natured ribbing of Williams, the pair discussed the pros and cons of being a tall athlete in pro sports. Isner is one of the tallest players in ATP Tour history at 6’10”, while Williams is one of the tallest men currently in the NHL at 6’4”.

“Moving around is something that big guys always work on. I’m never going to be the fleetest of foot, but I move pretty well for my size and think I’ve gotten a little better at it as I’ve gotten older,” Isner said. “I just turned 35 and with my style of play, I think I can play for at least another two or three years. I hope the last thing that goes in my game is my shoulder strength and serve.”

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Djokovic & Sharapova To Go On Instagram Live Tuesday

  • Posted: May 04, 2020

Djokovic & Sharapova To Go On Instagram Live Tuesday

World No. 1 has shared conversations with Murray, Fognini and more

Novak Djokovic announced that on Tuesday he will be doing an Instagram Live with recently retired WTA Tour star Maria Sharapova at 7 p.m. CEST/10 a.m. PT.

When Sharapova announced her retirement in February, Djokovic was quick to congratulate the Russian, tweeting, “Amazing career. Amazing leader. Amazing human. Thank you for all you’ve done for tennis @MariaSharapova. I can’t wait to watch your journey continue off court.”

 

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@mariasharapova and I will be doing IG Live together at 7pm CEST / 10am PT this Tuesday. Submit your questions via my Stories 😃 #stayhome #staysafe #tennisathome #ourcourt

A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole) on

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Djokovic & Murray Bring The Fun On Instagram Live

Djokovic has taken a liking to Instagram Live, sharing conversations with the likes of Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Fabio Fognini and extreme athlete Wim Hof. The Serbian wrote that you can share your questions with him through his Instagram Stories.

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Bryan Brothers Honour Doctor As Pro Sports Unite To Support Healthcare Heroes

  • Posted: May 04, 2020

Bryan Brothers Honour Doctor As Pro Sports Unite To Support Healthcare Heroes

30+ healthcare heroes are celebrated personally by world-class athletes

Bob and Mike Bryan are paying tribute to a California doctor as 14 pro sports leagues come together to recognise and celebrate healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘The Real Heroes Project’ is a collaborative initiative featuring athletes representing the ATP, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, NWSL, USGA, WNBA, WTA and WWE and esports leagues, including Activision Blizzard Esports and Electronic Arts. Players are dedicating match shirts and jerseys  to a special healthcare hero who is helping their community on the forefront of the global crisis.

The Bryans, winners of a record 119 doubles titles together, are honouring Dr. Joshua Wolfsohn, an infectious diseases expert working in their childhood home town of Camarillo, California.

With the help of creative agency 72andSunny, creative production company Hecho Studios, and media publication Adweek, the multi-league public service announcement will debut this Wednesday, 6 May across league and team platforms. Each participating athlete will share a personal thank you message to their chosen healthcare hero on social media utilizing #TheRealHeroes. Throughout the PSA and personal tributes, athletes will cover their name on their jerseys or uniforms and replace it with the name of their healthcare hero.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the sports world has supported their local and national communities in their own respective efforts. Through “The Real Heroes Project,” the sports community will come together to salute heroic individuals across the healthcare system.

Featured leagues and athletes include:
Activision Blizzard Esports – Esports athletes Seth “Scump” Abner of Call of Duty League, Li “Liooon” Xiaomeng of Hearthstone Esports, and Matthew “Super” DeLisi of Overwatch League
Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) – Professional doubles tennis players, and most successful duo of all time, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan
Electronic Arts (EA) – reigning FIFA eWorld Cup Champion Mohammed “MoAuba” Harkous, 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup Champion Mosaad “Msdossary” Aldossary, Madden NFL 19 Bowl Champion Drini “Drini” •Gjoka, Madden NFL 18 Bowl Champion Seamus “Young Kiv” Kivlen, and professional Apex Legends competitors Eric “Snip3down” Wrona and Bowen “Monsoon” Fuller (#StayandPlay)
Major League Baseball (MLB) – New York Yankees All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge and Milwaukee Brewers All-Star outfielder Christian Yelich
Major League Soccer (MLS) – Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Toronto FC and U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore, and Orlando City SC forward Nani (#MLSUnites)
NASCAR – Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch and 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick
•National Basketball Association (NBA) – 2020 NBA All-Star and Utah Jazz point guard Donovan Mitchell (#NBATogether)
National Football League (NFL) – New Orleans Saints All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees, Arizona Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and San Francisco 49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle
National Hockey League (NHL) – NHL Legend Wayne Gretzky, Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews and Toronto Maple Leafs Assistant Director of Player Development and former Canadian Women’s ice hockey Gold Medalist Hayley Wickenheiser
National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – United States Women’s National Soccer Team and Sky Blue FC forward Carli Lloyd and United States Women’s National Soccer Team and Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan
United States Golf Association (USGA) – Jordan Spieth, three-time USGA Champion (2015 U.S. Open and 2 U.S. Junior Amateurs), and Lydia Ko, winner of the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur and youngest number-1 ranked player of all-time
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – Four-time WNBA All-Star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Phoenix Mercury and two-time WNBA All-Star and 2018 WNBA MVP forward Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm (#WNBATogether)
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) – American teenage sensation who won her first three WTA titles and broke into the Top 50 at just 15 years old, Coco Gauff; Champion of the 2018 U.S. Open followed by 2019 Australian Open, Naomi Osaka from Japan; highest-ranked Canadian in the history of the WTA and 2019 US Open Champion, Bianca Andreescu; WTA World No.1 and 2019 Roland Garros Champion from Australia, Ashleigh Barty; and former WTA World No.1 from Belarus with 20 WTA career singles titles, Victoria Azarenka
•World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – WWE Superstars John Cena, Triple H and Charlotte Flair

The sports world invites fans around the world to join these world-class athletes on social media and dedicate their personal jerseys and team apparel to a frontline individual using the hashtag #TheRealHeroes.

 

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#TennisAtHome Meets 'The Force' On Star Wars Day

  • Posted: May 04, 2020

#TennisAtHome Meets ‘The Force’ On Star Wars Day

#TennisAtHome videos remade with lightsabers

Each year, 4 May serves as Star Wars Day. Instead of “May the force be with you” like in the movies, people say, “May the fourth be with you.”

The “force” has been with tennis players and fans throughout the world as they have adapted their love of the sport to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ATP Tour’s social channels refashioned some of the best #TennisAtHome videos to include an element of the Star Wars universe.

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

Roger Federer showed off his incredible feel while social distancing at the end of March, hitting a variety of tweeners and behind-the-back shots against a wall. It was as if the Swiss star was harnessing the “force” to pull off those trick shots, even if he didn’t actually use a lightsaber to do so.

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Hugo Dellien: How COVID-19 Restrictions Prevent Him From Seeing His First Child

  • Posted: May 04, 2020

Hugo Dellien: How COVID-19 Restrictions Prevent Him From Seeing His First Child

Bolivian writes open letter to baby Mila via Instagram last Saturday

Hugo Dellien is eager to begin competing again, but he’s even more eager to see his first child in person. The 26-year-old Bolivian and his wife, Camila Giangreco Campiz, welcomed a baby girl named Mila on 25 April, but sudden border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have prevented the family from reuniting.

Dellien and Campiz expected Mila to be born in Paraguay, where Campiz is from. But when Dellien traveled back to Bolivia to visit his family for a few days, he was unable to return after the Bolivian government suddenly announced the closure of its borders on 17 March. Paraguay closed their own borders days later. 

He revealed the news of his baby daughter and current situation last Saturday via Instagram by posting a photo of the newborn. Dellien wrote an open letter to her in the lengthy post, sharing his wish to see his family again and expressing optimism for the future.

 

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Mi vida entera en esta foto!! Estuve pensando todos estos días que poner en esta foto y realmente no me salen las palabras solo sonrío y sonrío. La felicidad que tengo es inmensa, gracias @camigiangrecocampiz por darme el regalo mas grande que tengo, UNA FAMILIA. Mi bebe quiero contarte de que estamos pasando un momento difícil, el mundo esta pasando momentos muy difíciles, es por eso que papi no pudo estar el día que viniste al mundo. Duele y la estoy sufriendo mucho no te lo voy a negar, pero sabes que? esto que estoy pasando lo volvería a pasar una y mil veces, con tal de que todo haya salido como salió, tu mami bien, vos llena de amor, salud y una hermosura única. Eso es lo que me llena el ❤️ y me hace aguantar el no estar durmiendo contigo y con tu mami, poder besarlas, abrazarlas, hacer todas esas cosas nuevas que nos enseñas al ser tus papas, poder compartir momentos, pero no importa mi vida porque vamos a tener toda una vida para compartir esos momentos, me enseñaras a ser un gran padre y te enseñáremos a ser una gran Mujer, por ahora espérame junto con tu mami,tu hermanito panther, tus tíos y tus abuelos que te van a cuidar muchooo, sobre todo tu hermanito PANTHER🐶 ya hable con el. Te extraño mucho y quiero que sepas que el amor que te tiene papa es el mas grande del mundo, cambiaste la vida de papa por completo y eso es lo mas hermoso que me paso en la vida. Gracias Dios, gracias por enviarme este angelito hermoso!! ❤️

A post shared by Hugo Dellien (@hugodellien) on

“I want to tell you that we are having a difficult time [and] the world is going through difficult moments. That is why daddy could not be there the day you came into the world. It hurts and I am suffering a lot. I will not deny it,” Dellien wrote. “But you know what? I would go through it again a thousand times as long as everything turned out the way it did, your mommy well and and you full of love, health and a unique beauty.

“You will teach me to be a great father and we will teach you to be a great woman… I miss you so much and I want you to know that the love papa has for you is the greatest in the world. You changed papa’s life completely and that is the most beautiful thing that happened to me in life.”

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Dellien achieved a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 73 this January. He reached the quarter-finals of his most recent tour-level event this February in Santiago.

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

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Could 'Backhand Boys' Federer, Dimitrov & Haas Be Getting Back Together?

  • Posted: May 04, 2020

Could ‘Backhand Boys’ Federer, Dimitrov & Haas Be Getting Back Together?

Federer and Haas jump in on Dimitrov’s Instagram post

Could ‘The Backhand Boys’ be getting back together? They did on Instagram, at least.

Roger Federer, Tommy Haas and Grigor Dimitrov famously performed their own rendition of Chicago’s ‘Hard To Say I’m Sorry’ at the 2017 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. That video has received more than one million views on Federer’s Instagram page.

Dimitrov made an Instagram post Saturday about how much he misses competing as play remains suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Federer and Haas quickly jumped in with lyrics from that same Chicago song.

“Everybody needs a little time away,” Haas wrote.

“Even lovers need a holiday,” Federer added.

 

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As the days are rolling by I cannot help but thinking how much I miss competing. For the first time in 24 years the real uncertainty of when you are going out there creeps in. I miss the preparation,I miss driving to the stadium,I miss those butterflies when your name is called on that center court,when you put that game face on and for a minute you feel that the world stops and all you think about is that moment, seizing the chance to be out here. I’m so grateful to that sport,it has given me all I can ask for(yes,frustrating too at times:) but it always teaches me something that goes way beyond the sport. It challenges me! Thank you! I miss you tennis! I’m thankful for my parents for teaching so many valuable lessons early on in life. I had to grow up fast but along the way learning how to forgive,how to love,how to be persistent and tackle life with smile! Tenacity! We can only learn from this time and come out as a better version of ourselves. Let’s love ourselves and be kind to one another. Sending love and support to all of you out there! We will overcome this together. #carpediem

A post shared by Grigor Dimitrov (@grigordimitrov) on

“As the days are rolling by I cannot help but thinking how much I miss competing. For the first time in 24 years the real uncertainty of when you are going out there creeps in,” Dimitrov wrote in his Instagram post. “I miss the preparation, I miss driving to the stadium, I miss those butterflies when your name is called on that centre court, when you put that game face on and for a minute you feel that the world stops and all you think about is that moment, seizing the chance to be out here.

“I’m so grateful to this sport. It has given me all I can ask for (yes, frustrating too at times), but it always teaches me something that goes way beyond the sport. It challenges me! Thank you! I miss you tennis!”

Dimitrov thanked his parents for all the lessons they taught him when he was younger, including how to be persistent, even during tough times.

“We can only learn from this time and come out as a better version of ourselves. Let’s love ourselves and be kind to one another,” Dimitrov wrote. “Sending love and support to all of you out there! We will overcome this together. #carpediem”

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Memorable Madrid Moments: Surface Switch Can't Slow Rafa, Model Ball Girls & Blue Clay

  • Posted: May 04, 2020

Madrid Memories: Surface Switch Can’t Slow Rafa, Model Ball Girls & Blue Clay

Celebrating 30 years of ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, ATPTour.com looks back on memorable moments from Madrid

Normally at this time of season, the Tour heads to Madrid. Sadly, the tournament this year was suspended due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, but fans can still celebrate the 30th anniversary of ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. This week, ATPTour.com reflects on the Mutua Madrid Open.

First held in 2002 on hard courts, the tournament switched to clay and a new venue, La Caja Magica, in 2009. ATPTour.com looks back on memorable moments from Madrid.

2002: The First Edition
In the Casa de Campo, just minutes from the city centre, the Madrid Arena hosted the first edition of the Mutua Madrid Open, replacing a Masters 1000 tournament held in Stuttgart. Built for the unsuccessful Madrid 2012 Olympic bid, the indoor hard-court tournament concluded with then 32-year-old Andre Agassi capturing a then-record 15th Masters 1000 title without hitting a ball. His opponent in the final, Jiri Novak, had torn a groin muscle the day before, towards the end of his semi-final victory over Fabrice Santoro, who had beaten Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.

2004: Model Ball Girls
The Masters 1000 tournament replaced traditional ball boys and girls with female models for the third edition. Given two weeks training, the professional models, aged 19 to 28, were selected from Spanish agencies. Marat Safin, who beat David Nalbandian for the 2004 title, said, “The models mean people are still talking about tennis. Good publicity, bad publicity. It doesn’t matter.” Agassi, the inaugural champion, had initially joked, “It was difficult, to say the least, to concentrate on the ball. But I suppose I had an advantage, I’m used to playing with my wife [former WTA World No. 1 Steffi Graf].”

Nadal

2005: Nadal Edges Ljubicic For First Of Five Crowns
It was one of the best matches in Mutua Madrid Open history: 19-year-old Rafael Nadal, already a winner of 10 tour-level titles in 2005, coming up against Ivan Ljubicic, who was having one of the best seasons of his career. At a time when Masters 1000 finals were contested over the best-of-five sets, Ljubicic quickly took the opening two sets before Nadal showed great grit and determination to fight back for victory over more than four hours of play. “It is one of the best memories I have of this tournament,” said Nadal, looking back on his 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3) triumph. “I remember that largely because of the support from the public, I was able to turn the match around and eventually win a final.” Now aged 33, Nadal has won a tournament record five titles (2005, 2010, 2013-14, 2017) from eight finals (2005, 2009-11, 2013-15, 2017).

2009: Under New Ownership, Venue & Date Switch
Ion Tiriac, a former player turned billionaire businessman, became the new owner of the tournament in 2009, coinciding with a switch from hard courts to a clay-court event; to La Caja Magica, a multi-purpose stadium with three courts in the Manzanares Park Tennis Center, and a calendar switch from October to May. Ten years on, Tiriac told his native Romanian press that holding the combined event now benefits the city of Madrid in excess of €107 million.

2012: Blue Clay
Keen for innovation, Tiriac proposed to turn Madrid’s red clay to blue for the 2012 edition, benefitting television viewers around the world. While a single outside blue court had been available for player testing in 2011, with capacity crowds inside the three show courts the following year, the blue clay proved to be too slippery and the consistency of the bounce was uneven. Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic were skeptical, and both lost early, while Federer went on to lift the trophy with a 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory over Tomas Berdych. The Madrid tournament organisers returned to red clay in 2013.

Djokovic, Murray, Federer, Nadal, Serena Williams

2013: In Memory Of Brad
Two days after the passing of Brad Drewett, the ATP Executive Chairman and President, aged 54, due to Motor Neuron Disease (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), stars of the ATP and WTA Tours took to the stadium court for a minute’s silence. Drewett, the former Australian player, had been involved in the sport for more than 40 years. Djokovic said, “It’s devastating news for not just us tennis players, but the tennis world. He was a very brave man with the courage to stand up and try to change some things in our sport for the better. We remember him as a very calm, composed and intelligent man, who loved this sport with all his heart, while he was playing, coaching and then as the President of ATP.”

2018: Santana Hands Over The Reigns
Manuel Santana, a winner of four Grand Slam singles titles, who helped Madrid become a world-class event as Tournament Director, had an assistant in the shape of Feliciano Lopez in 2018. Lopez, who had played in all 16 editions of the tournament, learned the ropes of event management before taking over in 2019. At the time, Lopez was the second active player to be named Tournament Director after Tommy Haas, the former No. 2, was named to the same position for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in June 2016. Santana, now the Madrid tournament’s Honorary President. said: “The Mutua Madrid Open is and always will be my home. It took us a lot of hard work to make this tournament happen and I will always be working to help it grow.”

2019: Djokovic Wins Third Madrid Title
Djokovic arrived at the Mutua Madrid Open last year looking to rekindle the kind of form that took him to the 2019 Australian Open title. With one quarter-final appearance in his past three tournaments, the World No. 1 beat two-time finalist Dominic Thiem 7-6(2), 7-6(4) in the semi-finals before overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 for a then record-tying 33rd Masters 1000 title (with Nadal). “These are the best tournaments, biggest tournaments we have in our sport, in the ATP, of course alongside the Grand Slams,” said Djokovic, who also won the Madrid title in 2011 and 2016. “This is as important and as good as it gets.”

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Taylor Fritz & Addison Rae Clinch $1 Million Prize For Charity In Stay At Home Slam

  • Posted: May 04, 2020

Taylor Fritz & Addison Rae Clinch $1 Million Prize For Charity In Stay At Home Slam

Celebrity Nintendo tennis event streamed on Sunday 

Taylor Fritz earned a massive payday for his chosen charity on Sunday without having to leave his living room. The American and Addison Rae defeated Kei Nishikori and Steve Aoki 6-4 in the final of the Stay at Home Slam, a live virtual tennis tournament on Nintendo Switch’s Mario Tennis Aces that featured celebrities and pro tennis players teaming up to raise money for charity.

The one-day event was streamed exclusively via Facebook Gaming and the IMG Tennis Facebook page. Former World No. 1 John McEnroe provided commentary for each match with popular YouTube personality iJustine (Justine Ezarik).

Competing Tennis/Celebrity Partnerships
Taylor Fritz and Addison Rae
Kei Nishikori and Steve Aoki
Kevin Anderson and Ryan Tannehill
Serena Williams and Gigi Hadid
Naomi Osaka and Hailey Bieber
Venus Williams and DeAndre Hopkins
Maria Sharapova and Karlie Kloss
Madison Keys and Seal

Fritz/Rae will donate their $1 million winner’s prize to No Kid Hungry, which works to end child hunger in the United States. All of the participants, who played the video game from their homes, each received $25,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice.

“I was more nervous there than in any of my real matches,” Fritz joked. “This was so much fun. Addison absolutely carried the team.”

Fritz/Rae broke Aoki in the opening game off four winners from Rae and maintained their slight advantage the rest of the way. Nishikori/Aoki held five break points with Fritz serving for the championship at 5-4, but the American erased all of them with aces and fired another ace to wrap up the match.

“I play a lot of video games and recently got back into it because there’s been a lot of virtual athlete tournaments,” Fritz said before the event. “I’ve never played Mario Tennis, but I want to win this really bad.”

Kevin Anderson and Ryan Tannehill scored a 6-3 win in their opening match against Maria Sharapova and Karlie Kloss, while Nishikori/Aoki defeated Naomi Osaka and Hailey Bieber. In the semi-finals, Nishikori/Aoki cruised past Anderson/Tannehill with a convincing 6-1 victory.

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

“I’m going to have to hang up my controller,” Anderson joked. “That was too good for us. I’ll guess we’ll have to train harder and come back next year.”

In Mario Tennis Aces for Nintendo Switch, Mario steps onto the court for matches against a variety of Mushroom Kingdom characters including Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong and Bowser.

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