NOTE: Click on pictures to enlarge. Genius/Joker Quiz Answers at bottom.

The top shot is from the 2017 Australian Open on a day when Nick Kyrgios was unhappy and being treated by the trainer but still won his first-round match in Hisense Arena 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 over Gastao Elias.

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Word was out at the US Open about how exciting Denis Shapovalov was – as is obvious by the standing room only crowd on Court 7 for his first-round match against Daniil Medvedev.

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Families are part of pro tennis as can be seen in this picture of Argentine player Horacio Zeballos – with wife Sofia and one-year-old daughter Emma – walking back from a third-round doubles match at Roland Garros.

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The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is one of the most popular tournaments in the world. And it offers some interesting perspectives – such as this view at an outside court.

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Players do round-table interviews with reporters pre-tournament at some events. Here Andy Murray is surrounded by media at Indian Wells.

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Philip Bester retired from tennis in 2017 and Rogers Cup in Montreal was his last ATP event. In this picture he stretches for a forehand volley against James McGee during a first-round qualifying match.

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The ochre terre battue at Roland Garros is the most vibrant of all tennis surfaces. This is Fernando Verdasco framed against the red clay at its vibrant best on a sunny afternoon on Court Philippe Chatrier.

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Canada’s Davis Cup tie against Britain was played in Ottawa the first week of February. That was shortly after six Muslims were murdered in a mosque in Quebec City and flags were at half-mast across Canada, including on Parliament Hill.

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Everyone knows about Rafael Nadal’s powerful left arm but this picture from a practice session at Rogers Cup in Montreal provides a sleeveless snapshot of that amazing limb.

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Quality is not a strong point of this picture but it nonetheless shows the enthusiasm of Team Europe players as they supported Roger Federer during a match at the Laver Cup in September.

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Denis Istomin came to prominence in 2017 when he upset Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. He’s a rare player who is coached by his mother, Klaudiya. Here they work together before the French Open.

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This was early in Denis Shapovalov’s quarter-final match against Adrian Mannarino at Rogers Cup in Montreal. At 18, Shapovalov’s victory made him the youngest player to reach a Masters 1000 semifinal.

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This year the great Rod Laver finally got a sculpture worthy of himself outside the arena named in his honour at the Australian Open. Here it’s juxtaposed with the previous artwork (with Jesse Levine leaning against it) which was pretty awful.

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Francoise Abanda qualified at Wimbledon this year and played a thrilling match in the second round against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. It was in the gloaming on Court 12.

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There was a lot that was incredible and magical about Denis Shapovalov’s upset of Rafael Nadal at Rogers Cup in Montreal. All that shows in the reaction of his coach Martin Laurendeau at the moment of victory in this TV image.

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Australia, especially near the Pacific Ocean, is a great place to be in January. This image was taken in Wollongong, about 60 miles (96 kilometres) south of Sydney.

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Sascha Zverev finished 2017 ranked No. 4. Here’s a candid shot of him taken during a practice session at Melbourne Park before the 2017 Australian Open began.

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This slice of Parisian life was photographed on the sly one evening on the Metro the week before the French Open.

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After Denis Shapovalov won his first-round US Open match these fans were looking to get a selfie with him. We’re not sure whether or not they actually succeeded.

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This twilight shot, showing the two dominant hues of the terre battue, was taken in Court Philippe Chatrier on the Wednesday before Roland Garros began. That’s Lucas Pouille at the far end hitting with his best friend on the tour, compatriot Mathias Bourgue.


—————————————————————————- GENIUS/JOKER QUIZ WITH ANSWERS

1. In the picture at the top, who are the players walking onto Court 7 for a first-round match at Wimbledon last July

a) A Canadian an an Uzbek

b) A Canadian and a Dutchman

c) A Canadian and a Pole (Denis Shapovalov and Jerzy Janowicz)

d) A Canadian and a Czech

2. Roger Federer holds the record for the most consecutive Grand Slam tournaments played with 65. Which active player is the closest to equalling Federer’s mark?

a) Andreas Seppi

b) Fernando Verdasco

c) Guillermo-Garcia Lopez

d) Feliciano Lopez (63)

3. Which of these celebrity couples has the most combined Twitter followers?

a) Grigor Dimitrov (423K) and Nicole Scherzinger (5.81M) = 6.23M total followers

b) Milos Raonic and Danielle Knudson

c) Caroline Wozniacki and David Lee

d) Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker

4. The retired Ai Sugiyama has the record for playing the most women’s Grand Slam tournaments in a row with 62. Who, among active players, is the closest to breaking Sugiyama’s record?

a) Agnieszka Radwanska

b) Jelena Jankovic (Jankovic has 56 consecutive appearances, but that’s where her streak may end as she is doubtful for the 2018 Australian Open. Radwanska is next up with 46) 

c) Alizé Cornet

d) Ekaterina Makarova

5. Which birthplace is not correct for one of the men’s top five all-time Grand Slam singles titles winners?

a) Basel, Switzerland

b) Mannacor, Spain

c) Washington, D.C.

d) Novi Sad, Serbia (Novak Djokovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia)

e) Blackbutt, Australia

6. Genie Bouchard has the career best WTA ranking among Canadian women at no. 5. Who has the second highest WTA ranking?

a) Helen Kelesi

b) Aleksandra Wozniak

c) Carling Bassett Seguso (no. 8, 1985)

d) Céline Dion

7. This WTA play is:

a) From Slovakia

b) A 2017 WTA singles champion

c) Retired

d) Married (Andrea Hlavackova is Czech and is married to Fabrizio Sestini) 

8. Which of the following players did Daniel Nestor never play with in doubles?

a) Jonas Bjorkman

b) John Sullivan

c) Kenny Thorne

d) Andy Murray

9. Which current women’s player was golden after a set in the third round of Wimbledon in 2012?

a) Sara Errani

b) Francesca Schiavone

c) Yaroslava Shvedova (Won a 6-0 ‘golden set’ against Errani at Wimbledon in 2012)

d) Lucie Safarova

10. Milos Raonic holds the highest ever Canadian ATP ranking at no. 3. Who among the following is not in the top-five Canadians?

a) Greg Rusedski

b) Vasek Pospisil

c) Glenn Michibata

d) Denis Shapovalov (Shapovalov was no. 49, the rest were 48 or higher)

11. Roger Federer won the 2017 Australian Open scoring wins over four top 10 players – Nadal (9), Wawrinka (4), Nishikori (5) and Berdych (10). Who is the previous Grand Slam winner to beat four top-tenners on his way to the title?

a) Gustavo Kuerten – 1997 French Open

b) Thomas Johansson – 2002 Australian Open

c) Michael Chang – 1989 French Open

d) Mats Wilander – 1982 French Open (defeated Lendl, Gerulaitis, Clerc, and Vilas) 

12. Who is the young girl playing tennis in this photo?

a) Adele

b) Princess Diana

c) Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice)

d) Maria Kirilenko

13. Which Grand Slam had unforgettable moments connected to the following match times – 5 hours 53 minutes and 5 hours 14 minutes?

a) Australian Open (Djokovic vs. Nadal 2012 final & Nadal vs. Verdasco 2009 semi-final)

b) French Open

c) Wimbledon

d) US Open

14. Who is this picture of – and where was it taken?

a) Donald Young at the US Open

b) Frances Tiafoe at Roland Garros

c) Donald Young at the Aptos Challenger

d) Frances Tiafoe at the Las Vegas Challenger

15. Which former Grand Slam champion’s post-playing career does not fit with those of the others listed below?

a) Lindsay Davenport

b) Monica Seles (Seles is the only one to never have coached)

c) Amélie Mauresmo

d) Conchita Martinez

16. John Isner has only played one match on the pro tour when he did not hit a single ace. When was he shut out?

a) Juan Ignacio Chela 2011 – Rome 1R

b) Thiemo de Bakker 2010 – Wimbledon 2R (after his famous 11-hour match against Nicolas Mahut in the previous round)

c) Tomas Berdych 2014 – French Open R16

d) Jesse Levine 2008 – Newport 1R

17. At which tournament was this picture taken?

a) Indian Wells

b) Cincinnati

c) Miami

d) US Open

18. Who had the most wins on the WTA tour three years ago in 2014?

a) Serena Williams

b) Simona Halep

c) Maria Sharapova

d) Ana Ivanovic (tour-leading 58 wins in 2014)

19. Who was the stand-in for action shots of the Bobby Riggs character in the movie ‘Battle of the Sexes’?

a) Sargis Sargsian

b) Tim Smyczek

c) Vince Spadea 

d) Filippo Volandri

20. Which range is the most accurate for the string tension of Roger Federer’s Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph racquet – mains and crosses?

a) 26.5 kg / 25 kg (58 lbs / 55 lbs)

b) 30.5 kg / 29 kg (67 lbs / 64 lbs)

c) 22.5 kg / 21 kg (50 lbs / 46 lbs)

d) 19.5 kg / 18 kg (43 lbs / 40 lbs)

Congratulations to our Genius/Joker Quiz winner Lynn Marshall: She got a remarkable 19/20, only missing Question #18.

Kudos to our runner-ups – both with 18/20 – Vivian Tse and past-winner Irving Ho.

NOTE: Next week’s blog (January 2) will be from Australia.