Busted Racquet

  • That awkward moment when you realize you forgot to end your live video before telling off your husband. (Novak Djokovic/Facebook)

    Thanks to the power of social media, today’s athletes have the power to share anything and everything with their legion of fans. Unfortunately, as Novak Djokovic learned, “everything” sometimes includes moments that aren’t meant for public consumption.

    The world No. 2, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, broadcasted his practice session Thursday on Facebook Live, filmed by his wife, Jelena. At the tail-end of the session, Djokovic grabs the smartphone from his wife and speaks directly into the camera, noting, “I like to take the camera, it’s nice. It makes me feel more into it, more I guess, friendly.”

    That action apparently didn’t please Jelena, who sternly reprimanded her husband (in Serbian) for not thanking her for her camera work, without realizing the camera was still recording.

    “How are you behaving yourself?,” she says, according to a

    Read More »from Oops: Novak Djokovic caught getting scolded by wife after failing to end Facebook Live session
  • Give Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard credit: when she loses a bet, she pays up.

    Bouchard, like most of the planet watching Super Bowl LI, assumed that the New England Patriots would lose when they were down 21-0 points to the Atlanta Falcons. She felt confident—perhaps not confident enough to bet $100,000, as Charles Barkley reportedly did—but confident enough to take a follower up on a dare: if the Patriots won, she’d have to take John Goehrke, a 20-year-old Missouri student, on a date.

    You know what happened next: the Patriots stormed back from 25 points down and won the Super Bowl. Lo and behold, Bouchard was on the hook for a date …

    And from there, it was off to watch the ballgame courtside:

    Read More »from Tennis star pays off Twitter Super Bowl bet by taking fan on NBA date
  • German players were shocked when an American soloist sang a long-outdated version of the national anthem.

    The U.S. may have outplayed Germany in this weekend’s Fed Cup quarterfinal, but the Americans made a major off-court gaffe.

    Before Germany’s Andrea Petkovic and Alison Riske of the U.S. took the court in Hawaii, a singer inadvertently performed a long-banned Nazi-era version of the country’s national anthem.

    “I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and I’ve never felt more disrespected in my whole life, let alone in Fed Cup, and I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now,” Petkovic told the Associated Press. “It is the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”

    The version of the anthem sung Saturday used a verse with strong nationalist messages, including the line “Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles,” which translates to “Germany, Germany above all else.”

    German coach Barbara Rittner told the AFP she considered snatching the microphone from the singer.

    “I could have cried, because

    Read More »from 'Epitome of ignorance': U.S. accidentally plays Nazi-era German anthem at Fed Cup
  • Denis Shapovalov is sorry. (Getty Images)

    Denis Shapovalov learned the fastest way to end a tennis match: just hit the umpire in the face with a tennis ball.

    Representing Canada in the Davis Cup, Shapovalov, age 17, was playing Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund. In the third set of their match, with the overall scores tied at 2 apiece for Canada and Great Britain, Shapovalov lost his temper after losing a point. He smacked a ball in frustration, only to watch it ping right off the face of umpire Arnaud Gabas.

    Here’s video of the smack:

    A referee on-scene immediately tossed Shapovalov for “unsportsmanlike conduct,” handing Great Britain a 3-2 victory. Gabas went to a hospital for precautionary measures, suffering a bruise and swelling in his left eye.

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    “I feel incredibly ashamed and embarrassed and I just feel awful for letting my team down, for letting my country down, for acting in a way that I would

    Read More »from Player booted from match after hitting umpire in the face with ball
  • Roger Federer is now the holder of five Australian Open titles. (AP)

    One of the greatest rivalries in tennis history received another chapter Sunday night in Melbourne, Australia, as Roger Federer outlasted Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open title, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

    The win gives Federer his 18th Grand Slam title, the most by a man in the Open era. He had just returned from a six-month break due to a series of injuries. The title is Federer’s first since 2012.

    Though Federer and Nadal have undoubtedly aged since their earlier matchups (Nadal’s trademarked long locks are now chopped and thinning), and entered the tournament seeded 17th and ninth, Sunday’s match featured the spectacular tennis that has come to define their rivalry.

    Featuring spectacular twists and turns, Federer and Nadal each competed for their respective legacies. Federer drew first blood, breaking early in the opening set and dropping just four points on serve to take an early lead.

    But, just as it appeared

    Read More »from Roger Federer outlasts Rafael Nadal in classic Australian Open final
  • In 1998, two teenage tennis phenoms from Compton, Calif., met for the first time on the pro tour, in the second round at the Australian Open. Beads in their hair and braces on their teeth, the oft-talked about sisters stood ready to take the tennis world by storm.

    But few could have predicted the spectacular journey that lay ahead of Serena and Venus Williams, one that spanned nearly two decades and brought them back to Melbourne, competing in their ninth Grand Slam final, with Serena cementing herself as the most decorated player, male or female, in the Open era by besting her older sister 6-4, 6-4.

    The enormity of the moment was not lost on either sister. Saturday’s match opened with four consecutive breaks of serve as the duo worked out their respective nerves, Serena trying to capture her record-breaking title, and Venus attempting to raise a major trophy for the first time since 2008. It took until the fifth game for Serena Williams to find her groove in her serve and rally to win

    Read More »from Serena Williams tops sister Venus at Australian Open to win record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title
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    Serena Williams (left) will face older sister Venus Williams in the Australian Open final.
    Serena Williams (left) will face older sister Venus Williams in the Australian Open final.

    Death, taxes and the Williams sisters.

    There are few constants in life, but Serena and Venus Williams still continue to reign atop the tennis world, even well into their 30s.

    Thursday in Melbourne, Australia the sisters achieved another milestone, each advancing to the Australian Open final. There, they will face each other for the ninth time, and the first since 2009, for a Grand Slam title.

    A Serena Williams win would be her 23rd Grand Slam title, surpassing Steffi Graf for most in the Open era.

    Up first, elder sister Venus Williams, who turns 37 in June, won a grueling semifinal match against fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.

    Venus Williams and Vandeweghe, both heavy hitters, came out swinging in Melbourne. The opening set began with two breaks of serve. Though largely Venus Williams outplayed her 25-year-old in the opener, Vandeweghe kept fighting, with five aces and seven

    Read More »from Serena and Venus Williams set up Australian Open final showdown
  • Novak Djokovic has been shocked in Australia
    Novak Djokovic has been shocked in Australia. (Getty)

    It’s early yet, but we’re not likely to see many upsets in 2017 more stunning than what just happened at the Australian Open: six-time champion Novak Djokovic has fallen in a marathon second-round match to the world’s 117th-ranked player.

    Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan won 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, a four-hour and 48-minute match that left both men exhausted. This marks the first time Djokovic, the defending champion, has lost in the second round of a Grand Slam event since 2008 at Wimbledon. It’s also only the second time in the last seven years Djokovic has lost to a player ranked outside the top 100; the Djoker also lost to 145th-ranked Juan Martin del Potro at the 2016 Olympics.

    “He deserved to win. No doubt, he was a better player in the clutch moments,” Djokovic said after the match. “Many things came together for him today and he’s a well-deserved winner. There’s not much I could do.”

    How did this happen? Isomin played

    Read More »from Six-time champ Djokovic bounced in second round of Australian Open
  • In some sports, tapping out early is a sign of weakness. In tennis, it can be good strategy … as long as not everyone’s trying it.

    Sachia Vickery of the United States and Elise Mertens of Belgium were exactly one game into a WTA event in Hobart, Australia. During the changeover between games, both called for a trainer—the customary first move when there’s a possibility of injury. It’s rare to call a trainer after just one game, and even more rare for both players to do so.

    But with all due respect to the WTA Hobart event, it’s not the Australian Open, which is ramping up right now. Both Vickery and Mertens wanted to compete in a qualifying event with the hopes of playing their way into the Grand Slam tournament. And thus, the less time on the court at Hobart, the better.

    Both players had a bit of a trainer standoff, with Vickery opting to retire first. Easy enough, right? Retiring is a low-risk, high-potential-reward approach that can give a player extra time to rest and recover while

    Read More »from Players in tennis match race to be the first to quit
  • Le coup de gueule de Serena Williams contre le sexisme.
    Serena Williams is now engaged. (AP)

    Serena Williams has announced her engagement to Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, via, naturally, a Reddit post. On the site’s “/r/isaidyes” forum, Williams wrote,

    “I came home. A little late. Someone had a bag packed for me. And a carriage waited. Destination: Rome. To escort me to my very own ‘charming.’ Back to where our stars first collided. And now it was full circle. At the same table we first met by chance. But by choice. Down on knee. He said 4 words. And I said yes.”

    Williams and Ohanian had been dating for about a year, and were relatively private about their relationship prior to this announcement. Williams, one of the greatest tennis players of all time and one of the premier athletes in American history, holds 38 Grand Slam titles, including 22 won in singles. Her most recent major victory was at Wimbledon earlier this year. Ohanian is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and in-demand speaker.

    The happy couple did not disclose a wedding

    Read More »from Serena Williams, Reddit co-founder announce engagement
  • Nick Kyrgios has gotten himself in trouble again. (Getty)
    Nick Kyrgios has gotten himself in trouble again. (Getty)

    Nick Kyrgios had a bad day at the office, losing in straight sets to Mischa Zverev at the Shanghai Masters. But Kyrgios turned an ugly 6-3, 6-1 loss into an international story by fighting with both the chair umpire and fans and tapping out early in several games.

    Long known for an explosive temper, Kyrgios, ranked No. 14, didn’t take long to go off the rails against the 110th-ranked Zverev. In the match’s fifth game, en route to going down 1-4, Kyrgios dinked a dismissive serve that a child could have returned:

    That earned him a rebuke from the chair. Early in the second set, he walked off the court before one of Zverev’s game-winning serves even landed. That set the restless crowd alight, and Kyrgios began yapping with fans. As the match wound to its inevitable close, one fan began shouting for Kyrgios to “respect the game” and

    Read More »from Nick Kyrgios yells at fans, throws tantrum at Shanghai Masters
  • Athletes turned entrepreneurs
    Maria Sharapova will return to the tennis courts nine months earlier than expected. (Getty Images)

    Former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova’s ban from tennis for doping violations has been reduced from two years to 15 months, and will now end on April 25, 2017.

    Sharapova announced in March that she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open. She had been taking Meldonium since 2006, and continued to do so after the substance was added to a banned list earlier this year. Sharapova contended that she had done so because she had simply ignored emails from the World Anti-Doping Association noting the drug’s new designation.

    Sharapova, once the world’s top-ranked tennis player, had been plagued by a rash of injuries and was ranked No. 7 at the time of her positive test revelation. She has since slid all the way to No. 96. Her 35 singles titles and five Grand Slams rank third among active players behind Venus and Serena Williams. Sharapova has won the French Open twice and Wimbledon, the

    Read More »from Maria Sharapova's doping ban cut from two years to 15 months
  • There’s something about this that makes you just tear up. Maybe it’s the parent in you (if you are a parent) or maybe, in a time when the world seems to be at its own throat, you witness a moment when everyone is on the same side.

    A mother looking for her child. A child desperate to find her mother. And everyone around them, including Rafael Nadal who’s supposed to be concentrating on the player on the other side of the net, realizing that their reunion is more important than anything else.

    This took place Wednesday during an exhibition match in Nadal’s native Mallorca. Partnered with a teenager named Simon Solbas, and squaring off against Carlos Moya and John McEnroe, Nadal was on serve when a commotion in the crowd (that would normally halt as play resumes) didn’t stop. And rightfully so.

    Nadal stopped, the crowd did too, and mother and daughter were reunited.

    Read More »from Rafael Nadal stops tennis match as mother searches for lost child in crowd
  • Add Serena Williams to the growing list of athletes speaking up against racial tensions, and specifically police-related violence. Writing on her Facebook page, Williams told the story of the fear she felt at having her nephew drive with a police officer nearby.

    “Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives?” Williams wrote. “We must stride on – for it’s not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go.”

    Athletes have been taking stands in support of racial equality for decades, but the most recent flurry of public statements arose in the wake of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem. Williams took pains to note that she was not condemning an entire group of people or occupation, but noted that those who are “ignorant, afraid, uneducated, and insensitive” are the root of the problem.

    Williams’ participation in the growing movement

    Read More »from Serena Williams on race in America: 'I Won't Be Silent'
  • An abrupt exit at the Rio Olympics and a disappointing U.S. Open has not deterred Serena Williams one bit. If anything, she’s just as eager to keep her place atop women’s tennis.

    The world No. 2 talked about her undying passion to be the best in an interview with Yahoo France’s Alexandre Delperier on Monday. The motivation that “comes from inside” is still ever present, leaving her “even hungrier than before.”

    Williams won Wimbledon this summer to bring her Grand Slam singles championship haul to 22, one short of Steffi Graf’s all-time record of 23. But the 34-year-old American made it completely clear that the 22 titles are just “a starting point” – another indication that winning large, shiny trophies is far from getting old.

    Williams sat down with Yahoo France in Nice for the opening of the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, which was created by her coach Patrick Mouratoglou. When Delperier asked if she likes “playing with kids all around you” at the academy, Williams looked around the

    Read More »from Serena Williams finds inspiration to be No. 1 in the most surprising place
  • The 2016 US Open came to a thrilling conclusion Sunday night, as Stan Wawrinka out-dueled top-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3  to claim his first title in New York.

    Though Djokovic came into the match with a 19-4 head-to-head advantage and two US Open titles under his belt, Wawrinka delivered the clutch performance Sunday under the bright lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

    (Getty Images)
    (Getty Images)

    Early on, it looked as if the world No. 1 might run away with the contest. Djokovic jumped out to a 4-1 lead with precise shot selection, while Wawrinka struggled to keep up.

    But Wawrinka soon found his rhythm and fired off three straight games, saving two set points, to erase the early deficit and then take the set to a tiebreak. In the end, though, it would be Djokovic who seized the momentum in the tiebreak filled with spectacular points, storming to a 6-1 win.

    In the second set, it would be Wawrinka that jumped out to a 4-1 lead, and Djokovic who fought his way back to even the score. With

    Read More »from Stan Wawrinka defeats Novak Djokovic to win US Open title
  • (Getty Images)
    (Getty Images)

    Angelique Kerber did not disappoint in her first match as the new world No. 1, defeating Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to win the US Open.

    Facing off against Pliskova, who had defeated top-seeded Serena Williams in the semifinals, Kerber executed her game plan to perfection. She showed off her superior return game, drew her heavy-hitting opponent into long rallies, and did not give Pliskova any mistakes to pounce on.

    Kerber jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first set, and held on despite a tenacious challenger. Though Kerber struggled to get her serves in play, she staved off three break points in the opening set and committed just three unforced errors to win 6-3.

    But as the match grew on, Pliskova gained the confidence to go after Kerber’s serve. She won 13 of 14 points at the net, while winning 89 percent of points on her first serve to send things to a decider.

    Pliskova broke early in the third set and looked to have captured the momentum, but Kerber held

    Read More »from Angelique Kerber wins first US Open title
  • (Getty Images)
    (Getty Images)

    While Serena Williams was shocked in the semifinals of the US Open Thursday, there would be no such upset for the top-ranked player on the men’s side.

    Novak Djokovic moved on to his third Grand Slam final of the year with an entertaining 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win against Gael Monfils.

    Friday’s match inititally looked like an easy victory for the world No. 1, who handily took the first two sets without much of a challenge from Monfils. But things took a turn when Monfils found his groove and won five straight games to force a fourth set.

    At times, both players sought treatment to deal with the effects of the oppressive heat and humidity. Monfils hunched over his racquet between nearly every point and called for a soda during one changeover.

    After the two traded breaks in the fourth, Djokovic broke Monfils again to recover the edge he needed to advance to his third Slam final of the year.

    There, he will face No. 3 Stan Wawrinka on Sunday in a rematch of the 2015 French Open

    Read More »from Novak Djokovic advances to US Open final
  • (Getty Images)
    (Getty Images)

    For the first time in 186 weeks, a new name will be featured atop the WTA world rankings.

    Because of Serena Williams’ stunning loss Thursday in the semifinals of the US Open, Angelique Kerber is now set to take over her No. 1 slot.

    Before she faces off against Karolina Pliskova in Saturday’s US Open final, here is everything you need to know about the German tennis star.

    • At 28 years old, Kerber is the oldest player to debut at No. 1 and the first German to hold the honor since Steffi Graf’s reign ended in 1997.
    • Kerber counts Graf as her idol and has trained with her in Las Vegas.

      “Steffi is a great champion, a great person and I think she’s proud of me to be the next No. 1 after her,” Kerber said after her semifinal win Thursday.

    • Kerber has enjoyed a breakout 2016, besting Williams for her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and finishing runner-up at Wimbledon. She also added a silver medal at this summer’s Olympics.
    • Kerber is known for her excellent return
    Read More »from Meet new world No. 1 Angelique Kerber
  • For the second consecutive year, Serena Williams bowed out in the semifinals of the US Open.

    Two matches in less than 24 hours proved to be too much for Williams, who fell to 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova 2-6, 6-7 (5).

    Coming back to the court after a tough three-set quarterfinal against Simona Halep the night before, Williams looked physically and mentally drained Thursday night. She also appeared to be struggling with a left leg injury that severely inhibited her movement.

    Unlike Roberta Vinci, who bested Williams in 2015, this time Williams was outdueled by a fellow heavy hitter. Like Williams has done to so many opponents before, Pliskova overpowered her on serve and Williams struggled to react.

    The 24-year-old Pliskova, who had never before made it past the third round of a major, becomes the first person to best both Williams sisters at the same Slam since Kim Clijsters did so in 2009. 

    Williams was looking to break Steffi Graf’s Open era records for most Grand Slam wins and

    Read More »from Serena Williams crashes out of US Open, loses No. 1 ranking