The gray area around medical time outs in tennis continues to frustrate players and fans.
Amanda Anisimova was the latest to be accused of calling for the trainer as a tactical move when she halted proceedings in the middle of a tiebreaker in her match against Donna Vekic at the Italian Open.
Anisimova won the first set and had match point in the second set before Vekic broke back to force another breaker. It was 1-1 when the American 19-year-old held up her hand and walked off court.
“Really, now?” said a frustrated Vekic.
But Anisimova launched an immediate defense, arguing blisters had appeared on her right hand.
“It just happened,” she said. “If I would have fell it would have been all of a sudden too.”
The injury didn’t stop Anisimova from claiming the second set tiebreaker and the match 7-6 7-6.
She later posted a photograph of her hand to social media to highlight the blisters.
It comes after Serena Williams was targeted by some fans after taking a medical time out to have treatment on her Achilles late in her semifinal defeat against Victoria Azarenka at the US Open.
But the injury was cited as the reason Williams is not playing in Rome.
What’s next for Henrik Lundqvist? Potential NHL landing spots
This is not something Henrik Lundqvist necessarily wished for, but the former Rangers franchise goaltender — too soon? — has the opportunity for the first time to test the open market as a free agent.
He is 38, though, there is a star-studded goaltending carousel about to go ‘round and ‘round, and where it will stop, nobody knows.
One assumes that contenders seeking an experienced backup comprise the field of interest, but it is impossible to gauge how much interest in him there will be. After all, Lundqvist has no experience in that role.
It is possible that Lundqvist, who should be signable to a one-year, over-35 contract with a light base and heavy bonuses, won’t find a team that’s a match for his resume. In that case, the King would likely retire rather than try to latch on with a non-contender just to play another year.
But all it takes is one. All it takes is one team — one general manager, one coach, one goalie coach — believing that No. 30 still has the goods to be a valuable contributor to a Stanley Cup run.
It is unclear when 2020-21 will begin and it is also unclear for how long the travel restrictions between the United States and Canada will remain in force. Lundqvist’s wife and two daughters are expected to remain in New York if the goaltender goes elsewhere to ply his trade, but if travel is not permitted between the countries, that might impact Lundqvist’s decision if he receives an offer from a Canadian team. Beyond that, location on the map as well as in the standings will matter, too.
A preliminary look at potential interested parties:
Henrik Lundqvist’s potential landing spots
St. Louis Blues
The Blues sent backup Jake Allen to the Canadiens, thus leaving Jordan Binnington with an NHL novice in 25-year-old Ville Husso as his backup. This of course is the organization with the general manager (Doug Armstrong) that signed Martin Brodeur as a free agent in 2014 when his time with the Devils had come to an end, so there is that.
Vegas Golden Knights
Perhaps the most intriguing possibility. If the Golden Knights move on from Marc-Andre Fleury, an opening would present itself as the backup to Robin Lehner, whose father, Michael, was Lundqvist’s goaltending instructor for five years in Sweden.
The Petr Mrazek-James Reimer tandem is not Cup worthy and everyone knows it. Problem is that after a career of dominance against the Candy Canes, Lundqvist didn’t play well enough to beat either one of the two goalies in the first two games of the qualifying round, so Carolina could look elsewhere on the market.
Location, location, location, yes, but imagine Lundqvist in the crest made famous by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier while playing behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl? Yes, you would have to have a healthy imagination.
If Jacob Markstrom flees as a free agent, the Canucks would be seeking a goaltender to share responsibilities with 24-year-old Thatcher Demko, who played the final three games of the team’s first-round, seven-game defeat to Vegas. It’s a long way away, though.
Who is Alex Caruso? Undrafted Lakers guard forms dynamic duo with LeBron James off bench
Playing with LeBron James can be big for a lesser known pro’s notoriety. Just ask Matthew Dellavedova and his nearly $40-million contract. Lakers guard Alex Caruso might be the next big beneficiary of being within James’ orbit.
Caruso will come off the Los Angeles Lakers bench when the NBA Finals begin Wednesday against the Miami Heat. And while he might not fill up the box score, Caruso could be the key to LeBron and the Lakers bringing home the title and avoiding an upset. Not bad for an undrafted guard who’d spent more time before this season in the G League than in the NBA.
Here are five things you need to know about the Lakers’ fan favorite.
NBA FINALS: Preview, predictions for Lakers-Heat
1. He’s the greatest point guard in Texas A&M history
Caruso finished out his career at Texas A&M by making it to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. In the process, he led the SEC in steals for a third consecutive year. Caruso scored his season-high 25 points in the Aggies’ second-round win over Northern Iowa, showing off his clutch gene. And his senior season was enough to earn SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors from CBS Sports.
A kid from College Station, Texas, Caruso filled up his hometown school’s record books. That includes setting the Aggies’ all-time assists record with 649 and the all-time steals record with 276. He broke the 1,000-point mark his senior year to finish as the 28th-leading scorer in program history, as well.
2. Alex Caruso can dunk
One of The Athletic’s NBA reporters, Fred Katz, recently tweeted: “My favorite NBA tradition is pretending that we don’t know Caruso can dunk every time he dunks.”
That about sums it up. Caruso doesn’t frequently get into the scoring act, but when he’s coming down the lane, look out. He’ll put it down on an unsuspecting defender’s head.
3. LeBron and Caruso are a historic duo
The Wall Street Journal recently called Caruso “The LeBron of playing with LeBron.” In that story, the WSJ analyzed James’ pairings with hundreds of teammates throughout his career and found that no combination of LeBron with a teammate has produced a better net rating than Caruso. Their net rating (point differential per 100 possessions) when on the floor together this season is +18.6 points. James never reached that level with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving.
Caruso’s skillset pairs well with James on a couple of levels. Offensively, Caruso doesn’t need the ball to be effective. He can back cut or spot up on the perimeter to help James thrive as a distributor. The Lakers will also run pick-and-rolls between Caruso and James and vice versa. Since Caruso is a high-level defender, that’s bound to help the pairing perform well on the floor together, too.
And Caruso certainly knows how to set James up for highlights. It seems like once a game that the pair takes off on a 2-on-1 fastbreak. James usually gives the ball up to Caruso. Then Caruso normally floats the ball toward the rim for James to hammer home.
4. He was a G League player before this season
In 2018-19, Caruso played 25 games in the NBA and 27 games for the Lakers’ G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers. Two years prior, Caruso didn’t sniff the NBA while hooping for the Oklahoma City Blue in the NBA’s G League.
Caruso put up numbers in the G League – across three seasons, he averaged 14.4 points, 6.0 assists and 2.1 steals per game. But after going undrafted and spending the majority of three seasons in the G League, the odds of Caruso breaking out for an NBA Finals team didn’t seem high.
5. Caruso is a lock-down defender
Caruso isn’t shy about getting up into a ball-handler and trying to pressure them into mistakes. That, along with solid off-ball anticipation, is what made Caruso into Texas A&M’s all-time steals leader and helped him average 1.1 steals per game in bench minutes this season.
But Caruso’s impact may best be summed up in the field goal percentage he’s allowed to players who shoot while he’s guarding them. According to NBA Stats, Caruso has allowed a 40.9 field-goal percentage when guarding a shooter in this year’s playoffs. That’s the same percentage as one Defensive Player of the Year, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Even if Caruso didn’t rack up steals, the way he limits his opponents’ scoring makes a difference all by itself.
How Cam Newton has ‘incredibly impressed’ OC Josh McDaniels
Cam Newton is making a strong impression in New England.
The larger-than-life 2011 No. 1 overall pick has already exceeded expectations since joining the Patriots in late June and has helped lead the team — which many wrote off after Tom Brady’s departure — to a respectable 2-1 start. But longtime Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels says it’s Newton’s character and humility that’s stood out to him thus far.
“I have been super impressed with his humility,” McDaniels said Tuesday, via NESN.com. “This guy has accomplished a lot in his career. Being 10 years in the league and doing all the things he has done, coming here and having no familiarity with our coaching style, our system, or the way we do things, I have been incredibly impressed with the way he’s embraced it, looks forward to it, really wants to be coached, wants to be great, wants to improve and is a great example for a lot of our younger players.
“I feel very comfortable coaching him, whether it is practice, meetings, games, walkthroughs because he is such a great listener and he takes nothing personal, which, really, there’s no part of coaching that is personal. It’s just about trying to correct and improve. He’s really done a nice job.”
Newton — who many worried would not fit the Patriots’ scheme — has had to adapt to a completely new system for the first time in his career in a COVID-19-shortened offseason. He is tasked with filling the void left by Brady, who had been with the team for 20 seasons and led them to six Super Bowl titles.
Meanwhile, McDaniels, 44, has had to revamp the Patriots’ offense that was curated to Brady’s strengths as a passer. Newton — who stands at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds — is highly athletic and a dual threat on the ground and through the air, but is much less of a traditional pocket passer than his predecessor. This means adding more designed runs and option plays for the mobile, 2010 Heisman Trophy winner to deploy, though McDaniels notes that the offense isn’t completely new.
“[There is] certainly a huge chunk of what we’ve been able to try and do in the past that we continue to try and do,” he said. “I have really enjoyed the process with him because he prepares so hard. We run a lot of plays that have nothing to do with deception or tricking the defense or anything like that. It’s just fundamentals and execution. Cam is adamant about wanting to do his job really well in those areas just as he is if I asked him to run the ball, or throw it deep, or do something else. You try to maximize their strengths each week, and at the same time, we’re not done learning.”
Newton has recorded 62 completions on 91 attempts for 714 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, as well as 149 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 35 attempts through three games.
Injuries have marred Newton’s career and he was eventually cut this offseason after nine seasons with the Panthers to make way for Teddy Bridgewater, whom Carolina signed in free agency.
The 31-year-old went unsigned for months before the Patriots scooped him up on a veteran minimum deal. The one-year contract does come with a number of incentives worth up to $7.5 million.
“I look forward to every day I get to coach him and he obviously reciprocates that with his effort and the time he spends trying to prepare himself for the game,” McDaniels said.
Newton’s next test will be against the 3-0 Chiefs at Arrowhead this Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.
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