‘Super pretty’ viral umpire catches Genie’s eye
As Roger Federer saved seven match points against Tennys Sandgren on Rod Laver Arena, there was one question on most people's mind - who is the good looking chair umpire?
Her name is Marijana Veljovic, she is from Serbia and has been officiating for 13 years with her career highlights being in charge of the 2018 Australian Open women's final and last year's Wimbledon women's final.
the umpire in this roger/tennys match is super pretty 😍— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) January 28, 2020
Genie Bouchard led the groundswell of interest on social media about Veljovic even though she surprisingly didn't know who she was.
"The umpire in this roger/tennys match is super pretty" Bouchard tweeted.
Interestingly, Veljovic has form with Federer with the pair clashing at last year's Open when the Swiss superstar was unhappy with rain falling on the court.
The tweet comes two days after the Canadian set tongues wagging after posting a #DollyParton meme on Instagram.
BAD BOYS, BAD GIRL...
The theory that boys are naughtier than girls is playing out at this year's Australian Open.
Seventeen players have been fined so far in the Open for a variety of offences and only one of them is female.
Alize Cornet has the honour of being the only bad girl, copping a $3698 fine for an audible obscenity.
Two Aussies feature on the naughty list with Nick Kyrgios parting with $4437 for racquet abuse at the end of the third set during his fourth-round match with Rafael Nadal.
Jordan Thompson also copped the same fine for the same offence earlier in the tournament.
The biggest fine was handed out to Frenchman Benoit Paire who was docked $11094 for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Overall just over $65,000 has been pocketed by the rules police.
ASH'S FOOTY CHEER SQUAD
Ash Barty continued the AFL theme in her players' box on Tuesday.
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin has been a regular but he was replaced by two prominent football figures who are linked to Barty through the same manager.
Melbourne AFLW captain Daisy Pearce and former Richmond and Collingwood great Brian Taylor were front and square in the world No.1's entourage for Tuesday's quarter-final against Petra Kvitova.
Gold Coast-based manager Nikki Craig has a small but impressive array of talent on her books including Barty, surfer Stephanie Gilmore and high-profile football identities Pearce, Taylor, Matthew Richardson and Simon Black.
"I try and surround myself with good people," Barty said. "Obviously we have a connection with our manager. It's really nice when we can come and support each other.
"Obviously Daisy had her first hit out last week. She's getting excited for the season. BT is gearing up for another year of commentating. Yeah, he's one of the best."
It's fair to say Nigel Sears won't be eating sushi for lunch before he takes his seat inside Rod Laver Arena to watch the women's quarter-finals.
The last time he was courtside in the tournament's main theatre was four years ago where he collapsed and almost died.
Sears, the father-in-law of Andy Murray, was mentoring Ana Ivanovic when he suffered the attack that he thinks was caused from a toxic build-up from the sushi he had been eating in large quantities throughout the previous week.
Now he returns to Rod Laver Arena with Anett Kontaveit, the 24-year-old Estonian who plays former world No.1 Simona Halep.
"I'm hoping that's not gonna happen again," Sears said. "Ana was a set and 2-1 up, I think, when it happened. We don't need that scenario."
Despite the near-death experience Sears hasn't given up on the Japanese delicacy.
"Actually, I do still eat sushi," Sears said. "I think I was very unlucky, because they make great sushi here.
"I said to Andy Bettles [another British coach]: 'I really don't feel very good. I think I ate something.' And he said: 'Ten days in a row eating sushi, you're bound to get a dodgy one.'"
CAPTURING A NATION
We're tipping PM Scott Morrison will be on the blower on Saturday if Ash Barty's stunning run continues.
But Morrison has been beaten to the punch when it comes to the national leaders getting behind their tennis players.
The Tunisian president reached out to Ons Jabeur prior to her historic appearance in the quarter-finals where she lost to American's Sofia Kenin.
Jabeur, 25, is the first Arab woman to make the final eight of a Grand Slam.
"I heard a lot from Tunisia actually," Jabeur said. "My phone is still going crazy right now. I actually talked to the president of Tunisia. He called me. He wished me good luck.
"That was really nice of him. I talked to a lot of political in Tunisia. They called me also. Everyone is crazy. A lot of people are calling and wishing me good luck. Still actually receiving really good messages that they are proud.
She said she didn't follow Venus Williams' lead who after winning the US Open spoke with President Bill Clinton and asked for lower taxes.
"I don't know, maybe lowering the tax would be a good idea also. I don't want to get into politics a lot because I'm probably not good at it.
"I mean, the only thing I wish is Tunisia to be better, safer."
Sofia Kenin's dad certainly has an eye for talent. He declared at the age of 5 that his daughter - who makes her Grand Slam semi-final debut - was a tennis prodigy and as a seven-year-old she'd worked out a game plan to defeat her hero Andy Roddick.
Poor old Casey Dellacqua. She was lured onto court by her good friend Ash Barty to conduct the post-match interview instead of Jim Courier. Let's just say we hope it doesn't happen after the semi-final.
Did an AFL great make an early exit on Monday night? It seems Nick Kyrgios' ducking and diving in the Nadal epic wasn't enough to keep interest.