Del Potro Meets the Pope
Juan Martin del Potro took in a Mass at the Vatican and also shared a meet-and-greet with the recently elected leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, during the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Del Potro presented the Pope, a fellow Argentine, with one of the racquets he used to defeat Roger Federer in the 2009 U.S. Open. The Pope actually picked out del Potro in a crowd.
“There was a very nice moment when he was talking to all of us, all of his audience, and he turned his face, saw me, and raised his thumb,” said del Potro. “He recognized me and that surprised me. We talked for a few seconds. He told me that he knew I was playing at the tournament in Rome, he blessed me and wished me the best. I congratulated him and thanked him for the opportunity to talk to him.”
Benoit Paire, the unseeded Frenchman, defeated the seventh-seeded del Potro 6-4, 7-6(3) in the third round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.
Sloane vs. Serena
World number 17 Sloane Stephens was not happy with top-ranked Serena Williams and she made that public.
“She’s not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not looked my way, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia,” Stephens said. “And that should tell everyone something, how she went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter.”
Days later, the two made up, as Stephens backpedaled via a tweet a few days later: "Guilty of being naive. Much respect 4 @serenawilliams, a champ & the GOAT. We spoke, we're good. ONWARD! #lifelessons."
Tomic's father in trouble
John Tomic, coach and father of world number 64 Bernard Tomic, was reported in the Australian media as being arrested for assaulting Thomas Drouet and will face a Madrid court. He was barred from attending the French Open or other events governed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Relationship between Evert and Connors exposed
Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors were the tennis world's golden couple in the 1970s, but suddenly called off their wedding in 1974. Connors, in an excerpt from his new memoir, The Outsider, has now shed light on the split.
"An issue had arisen as a result of youthful passion, and a decision had to be made as a couple. Chrissie called to say she was taking care of the 'issue,'" he says in the book. "I was happy to let nature take its course. It was a horrible feeling, but I knew it was over. Getting married wasn’t going to be good for us."
Evert responded saying, “In his book, Jimmy Connors has written about a time in our relationship that was very personal and emotionally painful. I am extremely disappointed that he used the book to misrepresent a private matter that took place 40 years ago and made it public, without my knowledge. I hope everyone can understand that I have no further comment.”
Connors, who won five U.S. Open titles, and Evert, who won six, captured the nation's hearts when they dated in the 1970s, particularly after they both won the Wimbledon singles title in 1974. It was the same year the then 22-year-old bad boy of tennis and the 19-year-old "America's Sweetheart" planned to get married. But the 60-year-old writes in The Outsider about the situation that arose just weeks before their planned wedding. Evert was just 19 at the time, and though she was raised as a Catholic, Connors claims it was her idea.
"Chrissie, however, had already made up her mind that the timing was bad and too much was riding on her future. She asked me to handle the details." He wrote that his response was: "Well thanks for letting me know. Since I don’t have any say in the matter, then I guess I am just here to help."
When he told her they were too young and should take a step back, her reply was: "Okay, if that's what you think. I've got a match tomorrow. Not a problem." And, according to Connors, that was it. He said though he loved Evert, he knew both their ambitions would ultimately get in the way of them having a future together.
Sharapova dating Dimitrov
Maria Sharapova was rumored to be dating fellow tennis player Grigor Dimitrov for months, but neither party ever confirmed the relationship. It wasn’t until the two were photographed by the paparazzi after Dimitrov’s upset win over Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open that she finally confirmed the two were an item … and she did so in a great way.
After beating Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-4 at the Madrid Open, Sharapova went to sign a television camera as is customary for the winner. Instead of signing her name, Sharapova wrote a funny message intended for the paparazzi: “How did you catch us?”
Tweets from the tennis pros …
What do tennis stars do off the court? They watch TV of course:
►Andy Murray (@andy_murray): Sherlock Holmes is my idol!
►Serena Williams (@serenawilliams): I'm obsessed with the TV show Arrow!
►Laura Robson (@laurarobson5): This week’s Game of Thrones is a corker.
►Melanie Oudin (@melanie_oudin): Officially a Game of Thrones fan now!
►Jesse Levine (@jesselevine7): In need of a new show to start watching over here in Europe … Suits, Breaking Bad, Dexter, Justified all checked off the list, suggestions?
They connect with their fans via social media:
►Roger Federer (@rogerfederer): A little (blue) bird told me that the place to be is @twitter, so here I am!
They play and watch other sports:
►Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob): Fun morning playing hoops at my alma mater, even got some tips from new @UCLAMBB coach afterwards!
►Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki): Lets go @MiamiHEAT!!
►Andy Roddick (@andyroddick): Good TV day ... Queens tennis final, US Open golf, checking on fantasy baseball team and NBA finals.
►Mardy Fish (@mardyfish): I love the handshakes after a playoff hockey series is over. Lotta respect there ...
They relax at the spa and go to sporting events:
►Maria Kirilenko (@mkirilenko): Spa time #red door spa … relax before the Caps game tonight, I deserved it!
They enjoy meals with friends:
►Jack Sock (@jacksock): Look who I ran into at Chipotle, tennis players just love it @Bryanbros @Bryanbrothers @MicaelaBryan @ChipotleTweets.
►Svetlana Kuznetsova (@svetlanaK27): I’m waiting for @flavia_pennetta to come back to hotel and txt me ... So we go for dinner … Anyone knows where is Flavia at?
►Caroline Wozniacki (@carowozniacki): Enjoyed a nice lunch on the beach with friends and family! Only missing @McIlroyRory!
►Rhyne Williams (@rhynewilliams): Chipotle near Wimbledon... This is too good to be true! #nom
►Kim Clijsters (@clijsterskim): At Jamba Juice getting our wheatgrass shot in. Great to see @venuseswilliams being a role model for healthy food!
They visit landmarks and sigh-see:
►Roger Federer (@rogerfederer): I really enjoyed going on top of the Eiffel Tower for the first time in my life today.
They hit the pool:
►Robin Soderling (@RSoderling): Relaxing by the pool in St. Tropez France.
They watch movies and attend concerts:
►Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole): Sunday night at home, movie night. Ladies choice: "The Notebook" :)
►Maria Sharapova (@mariasharapova): Thanks @rihanna for a fun evening!! #london #music