Watch: Sloane Stephens hails rise of American tennis

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Sloane Stephens.

US Open defending champions Sloane Stephens said American women’s tennis is in great health as she welcomed all-time great Serena Williams to the tournament.

Serena, aiming for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, is seeded 17th at the US Open. Her presence has created quite a buzz and compatriot Stephens said having a legend like Serena was a big boost for American tennis. At last year’s US Open, all four semi-finalists were from the USA – CoCo Vandeweghe, Stephens, Venus Williams and Madison Keys.

“Last year we stepped up big time with four Americans in the semis. This year she (Serena) is back, it’s great. American tennis is really flourishing,” Stephens said.

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Legend Ivan Lendl joins Alexander Zverev's coaching team ahead of US Open

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Yet to make major breakthrough: Alexander Zverev.

Andy Murray’s former coach Ivan Lendl has teamed up with rising star Alexander Zverev ahead of the US Open.

Zverev revealed the tie-up on Instagram, writing “Welcome to the team Ivan Lendl” and posting pictures of the Czech-American coach alongside him on court in New York.

It appeared to indicate that Lendl will be part of the 21-year-old German’s entourage for the grand slam at Flushing Meadows, which starts next Monday.

Lendl guided Murray to US Open glory in 2012 and two Wimbledon titles before they parted ways, for a second time, in November of last year.

Former British number one Greg Rusedski believes world number four Zverev has everything to gain from teaming up with 58-year-old Lendl, who won eight singles grand slams in his playing career.

Rusedski wrote on Twitter:

Welcome to the team Ivan Lendl

A post shared by Alexander Zverev (@alexzverev123) on

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US Open to be broadcast exclusively on a digital platform in the UK after Amazon Prime Video strikes deal

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US Open will be broadcast exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

The US Open will become the first grand slam tournament to be broadcast solely on a digital platform in the United Kingdom and Ireland after it was announced Amazon Prime Video has signed a five-year agreement.

The deal with the United States Tennis Association begins this year and runs until 2022 and follows on from a similar contract signed between Amazon and the ATP.

The digital broadcaster has non-exclusive rights to this summer’s Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club and the Nature Valley International at Eastbourne and will begin a five-year exclusive deal to show 37 ATP tournaments next year, taking over from Sky.

Alex Green, Prime Video Europe’s managing director of channels and sports, said: “We are proud to partner with the USTA to add the US Open to the growing portfolio of sports available on Prime Video.

“This prestigious event, along with the other exciting tennis coming this year and next, makes Prime Video a destination for tennis fans in the UK and Ireland.”

Sky held the UK broadcast rights for the tournament for 25 years until letting them go in 2016, with Eurosport showing the event for the last two years.

Tennis is Amazon Prime’s first major foray into live sports broadcasting in the UK and Ireland, with their output also including a weekly NFL game, beach volleyball and a number of documentaries.

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