Tennis 2019: Tennis without Andy Murray


They stopped getting the rights from Tennis Channel back in 2016 French Open onward, at least for the U.S. I did try it one of these years, I can’t remember if it was 2016 or 2017 or 2018, but I tried accessing it through the ESPN app, just to confirm that they didn’t have it, and indeed they did not. I think maybe internationally they still have rights to it, but in the U.S.


Ah, we moved to Latin America in early 2016 so didn’t miss it.

Here’s another idea. There’s a service called TVTap (formerly UKTV Now) which is 1) free, 2) offers a streaming box / android app, and 3) streams TV channels from every country in Europe and many more around the world. We’ve seen a lot of tennis there that we could not get anywhere else. They include a Tennis Channel stream, as well as others, including EuroSport 1 and 2, which per the media guide is where Europe will be watching the French Open this year. Also includes ITV sports channels, where you get tennis plus rugby and cricket.

It works most of the time. Sometimes it seems to break, but it’s free so there’s no one to complain to. Maybe give it a try.


Cool, I’ll give that a try. Plus I remember there was another free TV service in the U.S. that I’d never heard of that added Tennis Channel to their lineup last month. I totally forgot about that service until just now. I remember my brother texted me about it as well when it happened, so I’ll have to dig out his text.


Meanwhile, in Acapulco, a certain claycourt god’s a bit salty about blowing three match points against an injured-looking Nick Kyrgios. . .

The crowd was nearly 100% against Kyrgios. He just fed off it. Sets up a quarterfinal against Stan Wawrinka, a match custom-tailored for me that I hope I can see live this evening, as I have a thing for big-hitting headcases.


This was a strange match. Kyrgios seemed on the verge of quitting (as usual) after he was broken in the first set and then lost it.

Looking at the numbers, Nadal has to ask himself: How do I hit 17 errors across three sets and still lose to a guy who hit 50?


Also, meant to say last week: The Rio final between Djere and Auger-Aliassime was really enjoyable, as were the semifinals. Nice to see the young guys get to enjoy the big matches.


As someone who didn’t watch the match, how the heck is that possible?


Nadal basically lost in the tiebreaks for the second and third sets. A handful of points and that’s it.

He had 9 break points in the 2nd and 3rd sets and won none of them. Twice he had 40-love on Kyrgios’ serve but couldn’t convert. In both those games he got extra break chances even after Kyrgios fought off the first three break points, and still didn’t convert.


Here’s a Deadspin recap of the match. Looks like things were kinda tense throughout with regard to the crowd.


Nadal was pissed. That was barely a handshake at the end.

I can’t really blame him. Kyrgios can be a jackass, but he’s at times a highly entertaining jackass. Too bad Kyrgios can’t really get it together and be a top 5 player. He’s got the talent.


Second straight match where Kyrgios fails to fold as and when expected. Is it the End of Days?

Though the chair umpire nearly sent him into a total funk by chastising him for shouting. I thought the umpire was off base, especially in a match where Wawrinka did his share of shouting to express his enthusiasm and try to draw encouragement from the crowd. It would have been something if Kyrgios had lost, and then the umpire got disciplined for discouraging him after Mohamed got disciplined for encouraging him.

Edit: I mean, the umpire actually managed to induce in me empathy for Kyrgios. That’s…something.


I saw the part where Kyrgios cut is hand in a fall, did that seem to affect him later?


Not at all, and that was in the first game.

Kyrgios really toughed it out at the end. He was cramping in his legs quite badly and played out a good part of the last set and the tiebreak by winning his service games and standing without really playing Wawrinka’s service games. He was a break up so this was the smart play, but it earned him boos from the crowd, which was unfair but really Kyrgios’ fault since he’s established a reputation as a guy who quits / doesn’t make an effort. They even booed when he won.

Wawrinka was pissed of course but handled it better than Nadal. He complained about the medical treatment Kyrgios was getting during the breaks — since there isn’t supposed to be treatment for cramps — but at the end he shook Kyrgios’ hand and patted his chest and otherwise behaved well.


Kyrgios beat Zverev for the Acapulco title, which means his ranking should be high enough to get seeded at Indian Wells and Miami. He sometimes makes it hard to root for him, but it’s easy to forget all the extraneous stuff when he’s playing well. Against Zverev, his serve was great, his backhand return was keeping him in Zverev’s service games (it reminded me of how Federer used to return Roddick, only from the other side), and he was smart enough to use drop shots to force Zverev to play closer to the baseline. He’s only two years older than Zverev, so he still has plenty of time to figure things out. I can’t help but think if he doesn’t win at least one slam, his career will be a letdown.

Also, Federer won title #100 in Dubai, inching him closer to Connors’ record. On a down note, defending champion del Potro has withdrawn from Indian Wells with yet another injury.


Kyrgios managed to play 5 consecutive matches against quality players where he mostly kept his focus and played up to his abilities. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him do that before. I’m guessing no one wants to see him in their quarter at Indian Wells.


The draw is out for Indian Wells. In the ‘some people never catch a break in the draw’ category, Djokovic will likely have Kyrgios in the third round. Nadal will have Schwartzman, Federer will have Fucsovics, and Zverev will have Dimitrov.


Maybe not since he lost tonight to Jan-Lennard Struff, 3 and 1. That’s not going out with a bang but a whimper.


That, plus Dmitrov bowed out I think. Lots of lucky losers in this draw.


Some interesting matches today. Nadal vs. Schwartzman, Cilic vs. Sharpalov, and the most intriguing, Fed vs. Wawrinka.


Yes. Some young guys are getting through, but not the expected young guys.