'We kept our composure' – Kiwi tennis star Michael Venus on his colossal day at Wimbledon

Kiwi tennis star Michael Venus has spoken about his thrilling Wimbledon encounter that saw him progress to the tournament quarter-finals for the very first time in his career.

Venus and doubles partner Jack Harrison of the USA overcame sixth-seeded duo Croatian Ivan Dodig and Spain's Marcel Granollers 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in an epic five-set encounter.

Speaking to 1 NEWS Europe Correspondent Emma Keeling at Wimbledon, a visibly tired Venus spoke of the intensity of the match.

"The other guys got off to a great start. We managed to find our rhythm in the second and third set," Venus said.

"We were very close to closing it out in the fourth, unfortunately didn't, kept our composure and stayed focused and finished it off in the fifth.

Venus and Harrison will now face top seeds Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia for a place in the tournament semi-finals.

Venus and partner Jack Harrison advanced to the quarter-finals after a five-set thriller. Source: 1 NEWS


'Are you comfortable?' Publicist tries to shut down interview as Serena delivers withering stare

Serena Williams' publicist was forced to intervene, as the 23-time Grand Slam champions' interview with Australia's Sunday Project took a turn.

Williams, 36, sat down with Channel Ten's Lisa Wilkinson, before being asked about her role in the US Open final against Naomi Osaka earlier this month, that saw her become involved in an ugly on court spat with officials.

Wilkinson first asked about Williams' first code violation of the match, for coaching.

"I just don’t understand what he was talking about, because we don't have signals, we've never had signals … and he said he made a motion,'" Williams told Wilkinson.

Wilkinson. responded: "So you had to have a fairly tough conversation with him afterwards?"

Williams: "Yes, because we've never had this before. I was like 'It's OK, but don't … like … yeah.'"

But things were about to get "sticky", as Wilkinson said later, when she  asked Williams if she regretted the racket abuse that followed, causing a second violation, the publicist stepped in.

"Sorry, that's four questions about the US Open, change topic," could be heard off camera.

Wilkinson kept her cool however, replying;

"Are you comfortable or not?"

"I'm in your hands Serena, totally in your hands."

Williams' interview with the Sunday Project airs tonight on Australian television.

Appearing on Australia's Sunday Project, the 23-time Grand Slam winner refused to answer questions. Source: Channel Ten



'I love playing in Auckland!' John Isner confirms entry for 2019 ASB Classic

Popular American tennis star John Isner has confirmed he's returning to Auckland for next year's ASB Classic but organisers are hopeful another top 10 player could join him.

Isner was confirmed today to make his eighth appearance at the tournament where he'll look to add to his 2010 and 2014 titles.

"I love playing in Auckland," he said.

"It's such a great place to play, the crowds are awesome and it's one of the best stops on the tour. It's where I won my first ATP title, and I'm looking forward to playing there again in 2019."

Tournament director Karl Budge said despite Isner's common turnout for the event, getting him back is still a big achievement.

"When you have guys like Isner coming back year on year, particularly off the back of the season that he has had…he is a man in demand now.

"For him to show his loyalty again to the ASB Classic shows just how well regarded the tournament is."

Budge also admitted he's aiming on bringing Juan Martin del Potro back to Auckland after getting the Argentine here at the start of the year.

"We spoke again on Monday," Budge told Radio Sport.

"He is a guy that doesn't make decisions at this time of year. Every year when I have been tournament director he has said no to me at this time.

"[But] in that November period once he is off tour, stopped playing and started to think about what [he] should do before Melbourne his views seem to change."

Women's star Venus Williams was confirmed for 2019 last month as well.

John Isner (USA)
John Isner. Source: Photosport



US Open umpire who gave Nick Kyrgios pep talk gets two tournament ban

The chair umpire who climbed out of his seat to talk with Nick Kyrgios during a US Open match was suspended for two tournaments by the ATP.

Mohamed Lahyani will not officiate at his next two scheduled events — the China Open in Beijing, which starts on October 1, and the Shanghai Masters the following week, the men's tour said in a statement today.

The ATP says Layhani's actions during Kyrgios' second-round victory over Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Flushing Meadows on August 30 were "deemed to have compromised the impartiality that is required of an official."

According to the statement, he is one of seven full-time ATP chair umpires.

As a full-time employee, he is subject to tour discipline, even though what he did came at the US Open, which is under the jurisdiction of the US Tennis Association.

Kyrgios, a 23-year-old Australian, did not appear to be putting forth much effort while dropping the first set and falling behind 3-0 in the second against Herbert.

During a changeover, Lahyani left his chair — a rare sight in Grand Slam tennis — to speak to Kyrgios, leaning with hands on knees while saying, "I want to help you."

The 30th-seeded Kyrgios wound up beating Herbert 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-0, then lost to Roger Federer in his next match.

Herbert said at the time he thought Lahyani should be sanctioned in some way.

"This was not his job," Herbert said. "I don't think he's a coach, he's an umpire, and he should stay on his chair for that."

Kyrgios, meanwhile, laughed at the idea that he had received coaching or a pep talk from Lahyani.

The next day, USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said Lahyani had gone "beyond our protocol," but would be allowed to continue to work matches during the US Open because of his "exemplary track record as an international tennis official."

Lahyani then was assigned to umpire doubles matches during that tournament.

"Mohamed is a world-class and highly respected official. However, his actions during the match crossed a line that compromised his own impartiality as a chair umpire," Gayle Bradshaw, ATP executive vice president of rules and competition, said in today's statement.

"Although well-intended, his actions were regrettable and cannot go without disciplinary action on our own Tour. We know that he will learn from this experience and we look forward to welcoming him back in October."

Lahyani will be able to resume umpiring at the Stockholm Open on October 15.

His suspension was first reported by The New York Times.


Serena was wrong: New report disproves Williams' 'sexism' claims made during - and after - US Open final meltdown

Serena Williams' claims of sexism from tennis officials have been debunked in spectacular fashion, with an investigation from the New York Times finding that men are hit with nearly three times the amount of conduct violations as their female counterparts.

Williams, 36, a 23-time single grand slam champion, was given three separate code violations in last week's US Open final, resulting in Naomi Osaka being awarded a crucial point penalty which gifted her game seven of the second set, then an even more crucial game penalty to gift her the next game, and a 5-3 second set lead.

In a fiery on court scene, Williams protested that she was a victim of sexism, telling tournament referee Brian Earley, "there are men out here who do a lot worse than me, but because I'm a woman you are going to take this away from me?

"That is not right."

However, the New York Times report finds Williams' claims are well wide of the mark.

In the 20-year period between 1998 and 2018, men have accrued 1,517 separate code violations, while women feature incurred 535.

The only real exception comes in terms of players being cited for coaching, with women being given violations 152 times, compared to men's 87.

Williams' first code violation was for coaching, before also notching up citations for racket abuse, and verbal abuse, calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "thief".

As a result of her outburst, Williams was slapped with a fine of NZ $25,700. 

She claimed over $2m in prize money for being the runner-up.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her Women's Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA)
Serena Williams of the United States argues with umpire Carlos Ramos during her women's singles US Open finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan. Source: Getty