Caroline Garcia Named to France’s Olympic Tennis Team for 2024 Paris Games

Caroline Garcia will be competing at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

The 20-year-old Spanish-French tennis player, a two-time French Open doubles champion, has been selected to France’s tennis team for the 2024 Paris Games on Friday but not her frequent partner Kristina Mladenovic.

Caroline GarciaGarcia and Mladenovic won at Roland Garros — the Olympic venue next month — in 2016 and 2022. Their most recent Grand Slam appearance was at the Australian Open, where they reached the quarterfinals. They haven’t played together on tour since February.

Mladenovic is a former doubles No. 1 who has slipped to No. 55. She has nine Grand Slam doubles titles, including four French.

Garcia played only singles at the French Open this year and bowed out in the second round.

She will play the Olympic doubles with Diane Parry. Also on the women’s team were Clara Burel and Varvara Gracheva. 

Olympic tennis starts July 27.

Marcelo Arevalo Claims Second Career Men’s Doubles Title at French Open

Marcelo Arevalo is celebrating a second double’s title at the French Open

The 33-year-old Salvadoran professional tennis player and Mate Pavic of Croatia won the men’s doubles title at Roland Garros against Italians Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori 7-5, 6-3 in the final on Saturday.

Marcelo Arevalo & Mate PavicPavic completed the set of winning all four Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles and rushed to celebrate with his team on Court Philippe Chatrier.

“First (title) for me here, so I’m very happy,” Pavic said. “It feels special. I lost here twice the final.”

Arevalo grabbed a scarf with his country’s name on it, raised it aloft and chanted “Salvador, Salvador.”

It was Arevalo’s second men’s doubles title after winning at Roland Garros in 2022 with Jean-Julien Rojer.

“I want to thank Mate for trusting me and believing in me, to fight together. We did it together, man,” an emotional Arevalo said. “My second title here also feels special.”

With Arevalo serving for the match at 40-30, Pavic missed a straightforward-looking volley. The ball clipped the top of the net, landed on the wrong side, and Pavic put his hand over his mouth in disbelief.

But Pavic, the reigning Olympic champion in men’s doubles, made up for it moments later by saving a break point with a difficult smash down the middle when leaning backward.

They won on the second match point when Vavassori hit a forehand wide, and the ninth-seeded winners both fell to the red clay.

Bolelli is a former singles player who reached a highest ranking of No. 36 but did not win a title in singles. He won the Australian Open men’s doubles in 2015 alongside countryman Fabio Fognini and has reached the semifinals in doubles at every Grand Slam tournament.

Vavassori has lost both major finals he has played in men’s doubles. They were seeded 11th.

Aitana Bonmatí Named Best Sportswoman at Laureus World Sports Awards

Aitana Bonmatí has earned a special recognition…

Winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards have been revealed, with the 26-year-old Spanish professional footballer – a midfielder for the Spanish national women’s soccer team and Liga F club Barcelona – named best sportswoman.

Aitana BonmatíBonmati and her Spanish teammates, who won Spain’s first-ever Women’s World Cup last year, were chosen as world team of the year for 2023.

Novak Djokovic received the sportsman of the year at the ceremony in Madrid, and American gymnast Simone Biles was given the comeback of the year award.

Real Madrid forward Jude Bellingham earned the breakthrough prize, and Rafael Nadal won the sport for good award thanks to his foundation.

The Spanish women’s World Cup breakthrough last August in New Zealand and Australia was tarnished in the following weeks because of an unwanted kiss of forward Jenni Hermoso by then-federation president Luis Rubiales after the final.

Laureus rewarded Spain as the first all-female team to win the team award.

Before the World Cup, Bonmatí also helped Barcelona win a second Women’s Champions League.

She’s the first female soccer player to win the Laureus, after also receiving the Ballon d’Or and FIFA best player award.

“I want to thank all my teammates and the staff of my club and national team who have helped me a lot, and because of them I am here today,” Bonmati said.

Djokovic won his record-equaling fifth Laureus sportsman award — tying Roger Federer — after titles at the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open to reach a record 24 Grand Slam singles triumphs. NFL great Tom Brady presented Djokovic the award.

Biles made a record-breaking return to competition last year when she won four gold medals at the world championships, including a record sixth all-around title.

Nadal’s foundation was rewarded for helping more than “1,000 vulnerable young people in Spain and India,” according to Laureus.

Teenager Arisa Trew won the action sportsperson award after becoming the first female skateboarder to land a 720 in competition.

Dutch wheelchair player Diede de Groot was selected as the sportsperson of the year with a disability after winning her third straight calendar tennis Grand Slam.

Garbine Muguruza Announces Retirement from Professional Tennis

Garbine Muguruza is putting away her rackets…

The 30-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player, a two-time major champion and former World No. 1, has announced that she’s retiring from professional tennis at after an extended time away from the court.

Garbine Muguruza“I feel that it is time to retire and open up a new chapter in my life,” Muguruza said at a news conference in Madrid on Saturday.

Muguruza beat Serena Williams in the 2016 French Open final and Venus Williams in the 2017 Wimbledon final, making her the only player to defeat each Williams sister in a Grand Slam title match.

The Spanish player earned 10 career titles and was also the runner-up at 2015 Wimbledon and the 2020 Australian Open.

She earned nearly $25 million in prize money — 13th on the all-time list — and finished with a win-loss record of 449-238.

Her last important victory was the 2021 WTA Finals.

Muguruza has not played since January 2023.

In April that year, she announced she was extending her hiatus from playing and said, “Spending time with my family and friends [has] really been healthy and amazing.”

Born in Caracas to a Spanish father and Venezuelan mother, Muguruza moved to Barcelona when she was a child to continue her tennis training.

She became the first Spanish woman to lift a Grand Slam trophy since Arantxa Sánchez Vicario at the 1998 French Open.

Alex de Minaur Defeats Grigor Dimitrov to Advance to Rotterdam Open Final

Alex de Minaur is headed to the Rotterdam Open final.

The 25-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player notched an emphatic revenge win over Grigor Dimitrov to earn the perfect 25th birthday present.

Alex de MinaurAt the same event on de Minaur’s birthday in 2023, Dimitrov proved a veritable party pooper by knocking out the Australian No 1 in the quarterfinals.

But the ‘Demon’ avenged that narrow defeat emphatically in the Rotterdam Ahoy arena in Saturday’s (Sunday AEDT) semifinal with a 6-4 6-3 win that has set up a final showdown against Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner.

Back in tournament action for the first time since his Melbourne Park triumph, top seed and world No.4 Sinner downed home favorite Tallon Griekspoor 6-2 6-4 in the later semifinal.

de Minaur’s win has ensured he will rise to a career-high No 9 in the world rankings next week from his current position of 11.

He had already avenged his painful Australian Open last-16 defeat by downing Andrey Rublev 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 in the quarterfinals on Friday.

“I’m extremely happy with the level throughout the whole match,” a delighted de Minaur said after beating Dimitrov.

“It was probably one of the better matches I’ve played from start to finish. Even saying that, I always know that Grigor is going to lift his level and compete until the end, and I had to fight off some pretty tough break points, when I came up with some of my best tennis.”

de Minaur crashed 14 winners and made just four unforced errors in his impressive 84-minute march.

“From the word go here in Rotterdam, I’ve felt a very calm presence. I’ve felt positive, I’ve been calm and collected throughout whole matches, and I think that’s been a big key for me,” added de Minaur, who is also competing in his first tournament since the Australian Open.

The Sydneysider puts his improved form down to a stronger mentality that’s beginning to harden him in matches against the very best players, a steely streak that the last Aussie to win in Rotterdam 20 years ago, Lleyton Hewitt, also had.

It’s no coincidence that de Minaur has been working so closely of late with his Davis Cup captain Hewitt, and he explained after the Dimitrov win: “This is my standard now, this is what I’ve got to bring every single time I walk on the court.

“I think I made a big step in the right direction, showing the type of tennis I can play, week in, week out. I think I’ve raised the bar a little bit and hopefully there’s plenty more to go.”

But Sinner is the acid test for him. If any player could give the Australian an inferiority complex, it’s his 22-year-old Italian foe, who’s won all six of their matches and lost just one set since they first dueled in the ATP NextGen finals in 2019.

Rafael Nadal to Play in “6 Kings Slam” Exhibition Event in Saudi Arabia

Rafael Nadal is headed to the Middle East this fall.

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player, the former World No. 1, is set to play in an exhibition event in Saudi Arabia in October, the kingdom’s latest move into tennis.

Rafael NadalNadal will be joined by Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, new Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner, Daniil Medvedev and Holger Rune in what’s being touted as the “6 Kings Slam” in Riyadh.

All but Rune have won at least one Grand Slam title. Djokovic holds the men’s record with 24, followed by Nadal with 22. Alcaraz has two, and Sinner and Medvedev one apiece.

Nadal was recently announced as an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation.

The ATP men’s tour moved its annual tournament for leading players who are 21 and under to Jedda, and the WTA women’s tour is in negotiations to put its season-ending championship in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has pumped huge amounts of money into sports, such as soccer, Formula One, boxing and golf, with critics accusing the country of using its Public Investment Fund to engage in sportswashing over its human rights record, including the treatment of women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The kingdom denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security through its laws.

Rafael Nadal’s 2007 French Open Tennis Racket Sells for $118K in Auction

One of Rafael Nadal‘s title-winning rackets is a hot item…

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player and former World No. 1’s racket from his 2007 French Open final victory over Roger Federer was sold for more than $118,000 at an auction Monday, ranking among the highest-priced memorabilia.

Rafael NadalNadal beat Federer 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the 2007 final at Roland Garros with the Babolat AeroPro Drive racket to win his third Grand Slam title before the Spaniard moved on to secure 19 more — 14 of them in Paris– to become one of the sport’s greatest players.

The racket, which Nadal also used in previous matches at the tournament, including his semifinal victory against Novak Djokovic, sold for $118,206 at an online auction, Prestige Memorabilia‘s The Tennis Auction, that closed on Monday.

Rafael Nadal 2007 French Open Racket

It was previously housed in the Australian Tennis Museum prior to its recent closure.

Previous highest individual tennis racket auction sales include Nadal’s 2022 Australian Open racket ($139,700), Billie Jean King‘s “Battle of the Sexes” racket ($125,000) and Djokovic’s 2016 French Open racket ($107,482).

Nadal missed the recent Australian Open this month after suffering a small muscle tear during his comeback from a long injury layoff at the Brisbane International earlier in January.

He, however, is set to return on the court in February during the ATP 250 tournament in Doha.

Rafael Nadal to Serve as Saudi Tennis Federation Ambassador

Rafael Nadal is hoping to inspire the next generation of tennis players in the Middle East.

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player will serve as an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation, part of a recent effort by the kingdom to make inroads into tennis and other sports.

Rafael NadalNadalh as won 22 Grand Slam titles. He’s missing the Australian Open while recovering from a muscle tear near his surgically repaired hip. He had hoped to return to Grand Slam action at Melbourne Park after missing nearly all of 2023.

Nadal’s new role, announced Monday, includes promoting tennis in Saudi Arabia and plans for a Rafa Nadal Academy there.

It signals yet another step into tennis for the kingdom, which is hosting the men’s tour’s Next Gen ATP Finals for top 21-and-under players in Jeddah through 2027. The women’s tour has been in talks to place its season-ending WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia.

Human rights groups say women continue to face discrimination in most aspects of family life in the kingdom, and being gay is a major taboo, as it is in most of the rest of the Middle East.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has worked to get himself out of international isolation since the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. He also clearly wants to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy and reduce its reliance on oil.

Alejandro Tabilo Claims First ATP Tour Title of His Career at ATP Auckland Classic

From qualifying to the crown… Alejandro Tabilo is celebrating a remarkable week. 

The 26-year-old Chilean professional tennis player wrapped up the most extraordinary week of his career on Saturday when he emerged from the qualifying rounds to beat Taro Daniel 6-2, 7-5 in the final of ATP Auckland Classic, claiming the first title of his career.

Alejandro TabiloTabilo came through two rounds of qualifying and three rounds of the main draw.

He avoided second-seeded Cameron Norrie in the quarterfinals when Norrie withdrew with a wrist injury and beat sixth-seeded Arthur Fils in the semifinals to reach his second ATP Tour final.

Tabilo then dominated the final, serving 10 aces and keeping Daniel constantly on the defensive with his powerful left-hand forehands.

“It honestly feels surreal,” Tabilo said. “I feel happy and very emotional.

“Even my coach [Guillermo Gomez] didn’t have a visa and we applied in the quarterfinals and we got it yesterday and he came from Melbourne because he was waiting for me in Australia. So crazy, crazy.”

Japanese American Daniel also had an outstanding week as he made his way to a final between unseeded players.

Daniel had only bad memories of the Auckland tournament after being beaten last year in the final round of qualifying in a tournament plagued by rain. His reluctant decision to return this year paid off when he beat top-seeded Ben Shelton in the semifinals to reach his second career final after Istanbul in 2018.

But on Saturday he came up against a player on a roll, hardened by his many matches in Auckland. He fought hard to keep in the match, but Tabilo always was on top, breaking Daniel’s serve in the sixth and eighth games of the first set and the 12th game of the second.

It ended a tough run for the 82nd-ranked Tabilo.

“Last year was tough. Even two years ago we made the finals of Cordoba and from there we were going up,” Tabilo said. “Then we had a little stress fracture in my arm and we had to stop that year and I had to work back up.

“There were a lot of injuries last year also and now with the whole team, with the recovery, with the food, with my family and my girlfriend also supporting me … it’s been a crazy ride.”

Both players now move on to the Australian Open, where Daniel will play Chris Eubanks in the first round and Tabilo will play American qualifier Aleksandar Kovacevic.

Rafael Nadal Advances to Quarterfinals at Brisbane International with Dominant Win

Rafael Nadal’s return to competitive tennis play continues…

When the 37-year-old Spanish tennis star faced three break points while serving for a commanding first set on Thursday, a voice in the crowd at the Brisbane International yelled out to Jason Kubler: “You’ve got him worried now!”

Rafael NadalIt was a fleeting concern for the 22-time Grand Slam winner in his second match back from a yearlong injury layoff.

Nadal won the next five points to seal the set, broke at love to open the second set and consolidated by holding his own serve easily to put him on course for a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Kubler and a spot in the quarterfinals.

“Every day is an adventure,” Nadal said. “I take every day like an opportunity, and tomorrow is another one.”

Nadal is playing on a wild card after his ranking slipped into the 600s as he recovered from hip surgery, and he is desperate for match time ahead of the Australian Open this month.

Regaining the mental and muscle memory of navigating difficult game scenarios is on his must-do list this week.

“It’s important to survive these kind of moments because you practice the adversity,” Nadal said. “Something I need to practice again because [it’s] been a while, a long time, without being in that position.”

Nadal’s first competitive match since January last year was a win Tuesday against 2020 US Open champion and former No. 3-ranked Dominic Thiem. He was more convincing against Kubler, a hometown favorite who is ranked 63rd after a career interrupted by multiple operations on his knees.

“It means a lot to me,” Nadal said, “and two victories after a long time being outside of the professional tour is something that, yeah, makes me feel good and happy.”

Nadal had 20 winners, including some ripping forehands, and eight unforced errors. As well as his powerful groundstrokes and dominant serve, he hit volleys, half-volleys and overheads. He scrambled to chase drop shots and covered the baseline without any visible signs of the injury.

He lost only one point in his first three service games — a double-fault on the second point of the match. But he was also able to dig himself out of a hole when he needed it at 5-1.

The only blip for Nadal was a warning for a time violation for taking too long in a locker-room break between sets. He shrugged it off, saying it was so humid he needed to change his clothing and he thought he was on time. He promised he would work on changing faster.

Nadal said the hip was “not bothering me at all,” and he is not having any issues with his long-term foot problem.

He will play another Australian, Jordan Thompson, in the quarterfinals Friday. Thompson got a walkover when fourth-seeded Ugo Humbert withdrew from their second-round match because of illness.