Venus Williams may have won through to the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday but it was 24 hours later that an “unacceptable” comment about her gained traction on social media.
During the second set of the American’s straight-sets win over Stefanie Voegele, ESPN commentator Doug Adler said: “She misses a first serve and Venus is all over her.
“You see Venus move in and put the gorilla effect on. Charging.”
— Shanna 🍍 (@PinaCocoblog) January 18, 2017
The commentator who made the remark, former tennis pro Doug Adler, apologised for the remarks.
Adler on Thursday said he was speaking about Williams’ tactics and strategy and “simply and inadvertently chose the wrong word to describe her play.”
In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, ESPN said it had pulled Adler from the broadcasts.
“During an Australian Open stream on ESPN3, Doug Adler should have been more careful in his word selection. He apologised and we have removed him from his remaining assignments,” the statement read.
New York Times tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg slammed the commentary on Twitter, posting: “This is some appalling stuff. Horrifying that the Williams sisters remain subjected to it still in 2017.”
Richard Ings – an ex-tennis umpire and the former head of anti-doping body ASADA – also weighed in: “That is unacceptable commentary. Appalling stuff.”
Adler apologised to ESPN viewers on Thursday, saying he was sorry, according to tennis writer Erik Gudris.
Nick Kyrgios’ training habits revealed
We were out at Melbourne Park asking fans what they thought of Nick Kyrgios, whether he needed a coach and whether he could win a grand slam. Watch it here.
Kyrgios was hit with fines of more than $7000 for racquet abuse and an audible obscenity after his loss to Andreas Seppi, and he remained a hot topic of discussion on Thursday. After admitting his pre-season was not up to scratch following his Australian Open exit, one of his former coaches spoke up.
Josh Eagle told RSN 927 radio on Thursday: “The time has come, in my opinion, where he does need a bit more stability from a coaching set-up, where he’s going on the court and just working on his game.
“That can be just as simple as 15 minutes a day.
“It sounds crazy, but that’s not actually happening, and he’s still 13 in the world.”
Speaking of Nick …
After Kyrgios acknowledged he needed a coach on Wednesday, Roger Rasheed – who formerly coached Lleyton Hewitt and Gael Monfils – put his hand up for the job.
“I like Nick’s character make-up and I like what’s in front of me, and for me it’s more about the challenge to get the best out of everyone in life, that’s my natural coaching process,” he told GOLD104.3 FM.
“It would be a great opportunity to become the person they want to be both on and off the court.”
Pat Cash isn’t so keen. “Why would I want to get involved in a job like that?” the ex-Wimbledon champion told 3AW.
“I wouldn’t last one minute. Same thing with Lleyton Hewitt, Bernie Tomic or Andy Murray – if they started screaming at me and abusing me up in the box, I’d pack it up and walk out.”
Blink and you’ll miss it
Fifth seed Karolina Pliskova made light work of her second-round clash, winning 6-0, 6-2.
The Czech player needed just 59 minutes to see off Russian Anna Blinkova.
Astute tweeters noted the match finished in the ‘blinkova’ eye.
— #7TENNIS 🎾 (@7tennis) January 19, 2017
Shock of the summer
Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic’s second-round clash against Denis Istomin didn’t go as planned.
It took the Serb an incredible 16 minutes just to hold serve in the opening game of the match as he saved six break points.
And it didn’t get easier for the defending champ, losing an 85-minute first set.
The wildcard from Uzbekistan and world no.117 pushed the second seed to his limit and surprised the tennis world, winning 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in four hours and 48 minutes.
Djokovic last lost in the second round of a grand slam in 2008 at Wimbledon.
Photo of the day
The power of … big words
Britain’s ninth seed Johanna Konta beat Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday – but it was the winner’s talking that really impressed the promising Japanese player.
“I heard her talk and she sounds really intelligent,” Osaka told the media.
“She uses big words, you know. Like, big words. Even I don’t know, like, I can’t say the words that she’s saying. It’s so hard to explain.
“She uses big words in her accent and it sounds really smart.”
Konta was later told how Osaka thought she sounded really intelligent and responded: “I need to chat more with Naomi (laughing). That’s a very nice compliment.”
Sydney-born Konta was then asked if she agreed with Osaka and added: “I don’t know. I think – well – I haven’t really analysed my own speech. I’m sorry.”
What’s on Friday
The third round separates the contenders from the pretenders, as the big names start to come up against other seeds.
Four-time champ Roger Federer tops the main card with a match-up against the hard-hitting Czech Tomas Berdych, as Andy Murray meets 31st seed Sam Querrey.
World No.1 Angelique Kerber is back in action and will take on Kristyna Pliskova, while soon-to-be father Jo-Wilfried Tsonga clashes against the big American Jack Sock.
Bernard Tomic leads the charge for the Aussies in his match against giant-killing Brit Daniel Evans, while Ashleigh Barty has the best chance for a fourth-round berth as she faces German qualifier Mona Barthel.
Games to watch
From 11.00am – Rod Laver Arena
Angelique Kerber vs. Kristyna Pliskova
Stan Wawrinka vs. Viktor Troicki
From 11.00am – Margaret Court Arena
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Jack Sock
Venus Williams vs. Ying-Ying Duan
From 11.30am – Hisense Arena
Andy Murray vs. Sam Querrey
Bernard Tomic vs. Daniel Evans
From 7.00pm – Rod Laver Arena
Ashleigh Barty vs. Mona Barthel
Roger Federer vs. Tomas Berdych
The New Daily will publish the Daily Deuce each day throughout the Australian Open.