2015/01/27

Katrina Adams Among Inductees into the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame

USTA Eastern Logo (150)

(January 20, 2015) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The Junior Tennis Foundation (JTF) will recognize four integral members of the tennis community on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 7 p.m. during the 28th Annual Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame celebration at the Beach Point Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

The four individuals who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame are: Katrina Adams, USTA president and a former WTA professional player who ranked as high as No. 67 in singles and No. 8 in doubles, Mel DiGiacomo, a professional photographer who has had photographs published in Sports Illustrated and Tennis Week, among others, and has photographed at the US Open for several years, Bob Ingersole, tennis director at The West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y. and president of JTF and Victoria Rogers McEvoy, a former Eastern junior player who was nationally ranked in the women’s top ten for two years and is a recent gold ball winner.

Proceeds from the celebration will benefit JTF, which provides scholarships and grants for junior and adaptive tennis players throughout the Eastern Section. At the event, two junior players will receive David N. Dinkins Scholarship Awards for their accomplishments both athletically and academically.

“This year we have four incredibly accomplished, deserving inductees who have made significant contributions to Eastern tennis,” Dick Scheer, Eastern Hall of Fame selection committee chairman said. “They will join an impressive group of prior inductees who have also made lasting contributions to the game of tennis.”

Since its inception in 1979, JTF has provided more than $2 million for programs and scholarships in the Eastern Section.

“The Junior Tennis Foundation has been an important supporter of USTA’s Eastern junior players and programs,”

Share

“Miracle Coffee” Lifts Serena Williams at Hopman Cup

(January 5, 2015) Sluggish and apparently jetlagged, Serena Williams needed a coffee break after dropping the first set 6-0 to Flavia Pennetta at Hopman Cup on Monday.

“I am a coffee drinker. I didn’t have mine this morning and I was just feeling it, so I just had to get some coffee into me,” said the world No. 1.

“I just asked them to get me a shot of espresso. I asked them if it was legal, because I’ve never done it before.

“I needed to wake up – it’s just the jetlag. It gets you all the time.”

The coffee did the trick. Williams rebounded and went on to win the match 0-6, 6-3, 6-0.

“It’s miracle coffee,” Williams said jokingly after the match.

“I wanted coffee with my bagel and whatever coffee it was, it was really good.”

Team USA won the face-off against Italy 3-0 with John Isner beating Fabio Fognini 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (4) in men’s singles and Williams and Isner finished with a win in mixed doubles.

Next up for Team USA will be Team Canada.

Share

Safarova Leads Czechs to Victory in Hopman Cup Opener

Safarova

(January 4, 2015) Team Czech Republic defeated Canada 2-1 on day one of Hopman Cup on Sunday in Perth. Lucie Safarova lead the charge for the Czechs with a 6-0, 6-4 win over No. 7 in the world Eugenie Bouchard and later combined with Adam Pavlasek to win the mixed doubles.

“It’s the best way I could imagine and I started really strong and was pressuring her from the first point,” the 16th ranked Safarova told media.

Serena Williams and John Isner representing team USA will play their first match against Italy on Monday. Andy Murray, fresh off his Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament win, will lead Great Britain against France.

“If anything it’s going to help me for Melbourne,” Williams said of the 106 degree Fahrenheit temperature in the forecast for her Monday matches. “Perth is one of the hottest places I’ve ever played, so it will be really good for the preparation in Melbourne, which is always super-hot.”

 

Hopman Cup

Day 1 – Final results

Czech Republic d Canada 2-1

Lucie Safarova (CZE) d Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-0 6-4

Vasek Pospisil (CAN) d Adam Pavlasek (CZE) 7-6(5) 6-2

Lucie Safarova / Adam Pavlasek (CZE) d Eugenie Bouchard / Vasek Pospisil (CAN) 6-4 6-2

 

Poland d Australia 3-0

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 6-2 6-3

Jerzy Janowicz (POL) d Matt Ebden (AUS) 3-6 7-5 6-0

Agnieszka Radwanska / Jerzy Janowicz (POL) d Casey Dellacqua / Ben Mitchell (AUS) 8-6

Share

Tennis Channel Begins 2015 Hopman Cup Coverage January 4

Hopman_Cup

Serena Williams and John Isner to Represent United States in Mixed-Doubles Tournament

(December 30, 2014) LOS ANGELES, – Tennis Channel will bring viewers exclusive tournament coverage from the 2015 Hyundai Hopman Cup beginning Sunday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. ET. Serena Williams, World No. 1, will partner with top-ranked American man John Isner in the annual mixed-doubles tournament. The network’s telecast will include action from around the world as well as U.S. competitions. All Hopman Cup matches, which feature teams consisting of one man and one woman, will take place at the Perth Arena in Australia, Jan. 4-Jan. 10.

 

The United States leads all nations in Hopman Cup titles, claiming its sixth crown in 2011; when Isner played for the team. This year he won titles at Auckland and Atlanta, and helped the U.S. Davis Cup team beat Slovakia 5-0 in September. Williams captured her 18th Grand Slam singles title at this year’s US Open and has won four Olympic gold medals, including one in singles and three in doubles with her sister Venus. She also holds 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles. Williams has contributed to two American Hopman Cup championships during her career.

 

Tennis Channel’s 2015 Hopman Cup coverage begins with Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Vasek Pospisil, who will face the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova and Adam Pavlasek. Bouchard, World No. 7, made Canadian tennis history this year at Wimbledon when she defeated World No. 3 Simona Halep to become the nation’s first women’s singles finalist. In 2014, the Czech Republic’s Safarova advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon before falling to fellow Czech and Fed Cup teammate Petra Kvitova.

 

Coverage from Perth, Australia (all times ET):

Sunday, Jan. 4:

8 p.m. – Canada v. Czech Republic

 

Monday, Jan. 5:

8 p.m. – Italy v. USA

 

Tuesday, Jan. 6:

8 p.m. – Canada v. USA

 

Sunday, Jan. 11:

10 a.m. – Championship

 

The Americans will take on Italy’s Flavia Pennetta and Fabio Fognini. Pennetta, World No. 12, reached to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and US Open in 2014 and won her 10th WTA title at Indian Wells. In doubles, Pennetta and partner Martina Hingis made it to the finals at the US Open before falling to Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. Italy’s top-ranked male player, Fognini reached a career-high ranking this year of World No. 13, and won his third ATP title at Vina del Mar, while also advancing to the finals at Buenos Aires and Munich.

Share

Tennis Channel to Air Federer vs Wawrinka Charity Exhibition – “The Match for Africa 2,” on December 21

Warinka Federer

(December 18, 2014) LOS ANGELES - Tennis Channel has exclusive live coverage of 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer as he faces off against Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Dec. 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET in a battle benefiting Federer’s charity. The Match for Africa 2 is an exhibition between the two friends and Swiss compatriots to benefit The Roger Federer Foundation.

The Roger Federer Foundation supports children living in poverty, helping them realize their potential through education. With seven countries running programs, 136,000 children currently benefit from the foundation. It hopes to reach 1 million by 2018.

 

The match will be held at Zurich’s Hallenstadion, Switzerland’s largest multifunctional hall. For more information about additional Tennis Channel programming events in December visit www.tennischannel.com/schedule.

Share

International Premier Tennis League in Manila

By Abigail Hinto

(December 1, 2014) MANILA –  There is no other word to describe it but surreal.  After fitting tennis tournaments to my vacations in order to see live tennis, professional tennis and its superstars have finally come to me.  I’ve seen and covered most of these players before, but seeing them introduced to the Manila crowd to raucous cheers was goose bumps-inducing.  Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova, and Serena Williams, the current best of the world were actually playing on a tennis court in my city.  Not to mention the legends Goran Ivanisevic, Carlos Moya and Patrick Rafter; exactly the players I followed when I first became a fan of the sport.  Even when I finally got the opportunity to travel and watch tennis, I never imagined I would still get the chance to experience seeing my early favorites who are now long retired, play live.

 

I have to admit that I was initially skeptical when the concept of the International Premier Tennis League was introduced, as I would guess most tennis fans were.  Would they really be able to get the players, especially the superstars on board?  Tinkering with the rules seemed sacrilege to the long tradition of the sport.  But then Manila got a franchise when IPTL had to pull out of Bangkok because of political unrest in that city, and I knew no matter what, I was going to be there.

 

Let me now say straight out that all the new rules introduced for the league, made to make the matches faster and therefore more conducive to television, are just secondary to the real tennis being played on court and the team atmosphere displayed.  Yes, it was real tennis.  While some players like Maria Sharapova first seemed undecided whether she would treat the game as exhibition or competition, with nary a shriek heard from her at first, probably the thought of an embarrassing loss against Kristina Mladenovic in her first match for her home team spurred her to increase her level of intensity and turn the match around.  I also didn’t think we would have seen Mladenovic be unable to close out the set after being up two breaks if nerves weren’t involved.  Ana Ivanovic played flawless tennis for her part against Sharapova and displayed her pleasure at her level of play with her trademark fist pumps and “ajdes.”  Andy Murray was crazily retrieving balls all over the court to make-up for his poor level of shot making.  Even the legends were groaning at missed shots and opportunities.  As one hardcore tennis fan who attended the tournament expressed, she was indeed worried at first whether the players would take the matches seriously because she still believes the tournament is just an exhibition.  But she ended up being satisfied with what she saw on court.  Even the players themselves were surprised how everyone was treating the matches seriously.  In the end, they are competitors at heart who want nothing more than to win.  And playing for a team, which they very seldom get to do, increases that desire to be able to help put your team in a winning position.  Stakes may be lower than playing on tour, but wins don’t necessarily mean less.

 

The team competition format also allowed for players to showcase not just their tennis but their personalities as well.  Gael Monfils, to no one’s surprise shone in this kind of format.  The fans embraced his goofiness and showmanship, but also marveled at his shot making.  Mladenovic, who outside serious tennis fans most in the stadium have probably never heard of before continually gained fans as the three days got on.  Treat Huey, who even though was the local boy most Filipinos have never seen play awed the crowd with Jo-Wilfred Tsonga once they finally gelled on the 2nd day.  Goran Ivanisevic will always be willing to please a crowd.  You see these players interacting with each other on the sidelines which you will never see just watching regular tour matches on tv.  There’s Murray and Daniel Nestor who couldn’t stop talking and laughing.  Same for Serena Williams and Daniela Hantuchova.  Ivanovic and Sania Mirza were practically inseparable, and who could ever forget Ivanovic’s absence of dancing skills thanks to Monfils.  Of course, there were the more silent and reticent types, but that’s showing their personalities too.

 

As a team competition, it was no surprise that the team that got on together from the get go won this leg of the league.  The Indian Aces was clearly that team.  Right off the bat, they were huddling during changeovers, cheering loudly for their teammates and just generally showed the most positive team spirit.  The Aces’ players continually acknowledged this fact saying how much they’re having fun together.  Not that the other teams didn’t embrace the team aspect of the competition, but Manila Mavericks for one took time to gel together, probably not helped by having the more introvert players while the Indian Aces had Monfils providing unbridled energy throughout.

 

Eventually, the Manila Mavericks were helped by relentless cheering from the home crowd urging them on until it paid off on the 3rd day when they finally won their last match.  Mark Philippoussis, who subbed in for an injured Carlos Moya set the tone by winning the first set coming from behind against Patrick RafterKirsten Flipkens, the home team’s other female player was showered loudly with support when she finally stepped up to play on the 3rd day.  I didn’t think Andy Murray would have liked to lose all his matches in front of his home team so he was finally able to pull off two wins on the 3rd day.  It was the most electric on that last day and last match as the whole stadium cheered louder and louder for the home team especially as the last set, the men’s singles between Murray and Nick Kyrgios got down to the wire and the last and longest rally of the set finished off the 5-minute shoot-out with a Kyrgios backhand to the net.  It was the fitting end to 3 days of tennis fun and excitement.

 

The competition will probably continue to have its critics, but I for one was converted.  That IPTL was able to bring all these tennis superstars to my country already makes it a winner in my book.  But the overall experience just solidified that fact.  I talked to several people, hardcore fans, casual fans, people who have never watched a tennis match in their life and they all came out of the experience with nothing but positive words to say, all saying that they will definitely be back next year to watch some more.  For the casual fan, it was like watching tennis on steroids with the faster paced play.  For the non-tennis fan who was greatly entertained, it was a marvel seeing how gorgeous all of the players looked.  I asked another non-tennis fan whether she will watch tennis on TV if she chances upon it and she said that she already did the following day.  Most of these people just got complimentary tickets, but their enjoyment showed that next time, they will already be willing to pay for the experience.  And if the aim of the IPTL is to grow the fan base of the sport, in areas that are rarely or never served by the professional tours, then so far, it seems to have achieved its goal.  A day after, and everyone is suffering from IPTL hangover.

 

Will IPTL supplant the tours?  Most probably not.  It’s still an exhibition in the mind of players and fans.  Will it eventually be part of tennis’ history especially with some of its innovations as Carlos Moya says it could be?  Too hard to tell after the first leg.  I feel its success is highly dependent on the commitment it gets from the biggest superstars of tennis.  It has managed that so far, will it continue to do so in the future?  Is there a place for it in the current tennis landscape as founder Mahesh Bhupathi says it does as he summed up the Manila experience?  Why not?  We all got to see Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova play mixed doubles together to disastrous results all with smiles on their faces, the biggest cherry on top of this wonderful cake.  And that alone should make the fans demand for the continued existence of the IPTL.

 

Share

James Blake Hosts Foundation Event at Brooks Brothers; Discusses His Own Tennis Future

James Blake and Brooks Brothers CEO Claudio Del Vecchio

James Blake and Brooks Brothers CEO Claudio Del Vecchio

(November 13, 2014) NEW YORK, NY – Former top American tennis player and world No. 4 James Blake played host to a kick-off “Serving for a Cure” shopping event at the Brooks Brothers flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York City on Thursday night to benefit his foundation.

Blake’s foundation raises funds for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, specifically the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund, which supports early detection cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Blake began “Serving for a Cure” in 2005 a year after he lost his father Thomas to cancer. The fund is named after his father.

Blake talked about the beginning of his foundation: “I wanted to do something one time as a memorial for him, and it turned out that the support I had that first year made me feel that I couldn’t stop at one. It’s been going strong ever since and now it feels like it’s never going to stop which is a really good thing and I’m proud of it. We passed the million dollar donation mark to Memorial Sloane Kettering.

“My father unfortunately was detected so late, but once he was a patient at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, he said it was like night and day. The treatment there was great, the research was unbelievable. They tried everything they could and we just want to give everyone a fighting chance. That’s why our research for early detection, we want give people a chance to beat the disease.”

In addition to his own philanthropic endeavors, the current Westport, Connecticut resident, commented on how dedicated players on the ATP Tour are to charity.

James Blake

“It’s kind of like the spirit of community,” said Blake. “We’re all in the same locker room together. We’re all not really part of the same team, like in team sports but it feels like it. We see what the others are doing and we see the example set at the top especially. Some of the older guys when I was growing up. -I saw (Andre) Agassi, I saw (Pete) Sampras, a lot of guys who were doing right by the rest of the world. It made me think that I’d want to do the same.

“Once something so personal hit my family, it made me realize I can make a difference in a positive way, because most of our lives as a tennis player are selfish. We’re playing tennis and doing it for ourselves.”

“I hope the young guys – the Sam Querrey’s , the John Isner’s, the Jack Sock’s, the Donald Young’s, they want to make difference too whatever way they can,” Blake continued.

Since Blake’s retirement from the tennis tour in 2013, he still is active in tennis in one form or another.

“Well I helped Jack Sock a little bit,” he said. “I also have stayed close with the USTA and with Katrina Adams becoming the new president. I’m proud of her and hopefully I’ll be able to be part of the staff soon if that comes to be we’ll see. But right now I’m mainly focusing on my family, being at home and spending a lot of time with two little girls, that definitely keeps me pretty busy.”

Blake admitted that he likes coaching but there are some drawbacks.

“I like it but I don’t like to travel, I don’t like being on the road 30 weeks out of the year like I was when I was playing,” he said.

“So in terms of Jack (Sock) I just helped him with some of the bigger picture stuff- to be able to talk to him on the phone and helping keep his mind set the right way, because he’s got a full time coach, I don’t want to interfere with that, I’m not dealing with the X’s and O’s, strokes and stuff. I’m more of a mentor and a friend, someone that’s going to be a sounding board for him.

“He’s going through a lot of stuff I was going through at his age, so I just want to be that resource that can help him. If I can do that for others, that would be something in the future that I’d be proud to be a part of. I went through it all and hopefully have others have that knowledge as well.”

Blake who was a member of the 2007 Davis Cup championship team told Tennis Panorama News that down the line he’d like to be the U. S. Davis Cup Captain. “I thought about it the first time I played Davis Cup,” he said. “I would love to have that opportunity and it’s something that’s such an honor. Jim’s (Courier) doing a great job. I know it won’t be for a long time to get a chance because I know Jim’s got a pretty good handle on it. There would be no reason to make a change anytime soon. Hopefully I have plenty more years to have that opportunity and if it ever comes my way, I won’t pass it up, that’s for sure.”

Blake had the opportunity to be in the broadcast booth for Tennis Channel as an analyst in February 2013 when the U. S. played a first round Davis Cup tie against Brazil in Jacksonville, Florida.

“I thought it was going to be much more natural than it was,” said of the transition to working on television.

“I worked with Brett Haber, who is a true professional ad he really helped me. I got better through the weekend.”

“The biggest thing was when to talk and when not to talk, because I felt like I needed to say more and he said it was ok to let the tennis do the talking, that actually made it easy for me to get better and just let the players do the talking on the court. I was getting better. It still feels there is a lot more work for me to get to anyone’s level like Bret Haber, John McEnroe and the people who have been doing it for years, but it’s something that’s fun and I think it helps me that I played again most of the guys I’m commentating on, so I don’t need to do as much work on the scouting reports I’ve already done that.”

 

Blake entertains doing more television work in the future. “It’s something that was fun the first few times I did it. I think it would be great to stay close to the sport. It may give me an opportunity to stay involved as it gets closer to a time if I have the opportunity to be Davis Cup captain but it is a good way to stay involved. It may be tough for me to stay objective. I maybe have a few favorites especially with the Americans. I like to see them doing well but I have to do my best to stay objective, just commentate on the facts.”

 

Brooks Brothers is a new sponsor for “Serving for a Cure.” “I’m really happy to be affiliated with a company with such a great tradition as Brooks Brothers. You see them at a lot of classic events, I know tennis and golf are known for that kind of classic feel and Brooks Brothers really brings that to the table.”

“When we met with James we were quite impressed with all that he’s accomplished,” said Claudio Del Vecchio, Chairman & CEO of Brooks Brothers. “It’s the same passion and dedication he shows on court that he brings to a cause that is so near to his heart.  Together we are helping to make a difference in the fight against cancer.”
Click here for more information on the James Blake Foundation.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

Share

Inaugural Serena Williams Ultimate RUN South Beach to Take place on December 14

Serena Williams ultimate run

(November 13, 201) World No. 1 and 18-time major champion  Serena Williams got to watch first-hand as friend and tennis competitor Caroline Wozniacki finished the New York City Marathon. Now it’s Williams turn to run a race. She will join running enthusiasts from South Florida and around the country for the inaugural Serena Williams Ultimate RUN South Beach, taking place on Sunday, December 14th. The Quarter Marathon (6.55 miles), 5K Run/Walk and Ultimate KIDS Dash will bring together runners of all ages and abilities to support the Serena Williams Fund, which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and providing underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them. Registration for each event is now open at www.TheUltimateRun.com.

“Miami is very close to my heart — I’ve lived and trained here throughout my career — and it’s such an electric and diverse city,” said Williams. “I really hope Miami will come out to support this fun event and run with me to help youth in need, so that they’re able to thrive and live fulfilling lives.”

On Sunday, December 14th, famed Ocean Drive will be closed to traffic for the Ultimate RUN’s scenic start and finish lines. The course will take runners through Miami’s South Beach. Those scheduled to participate include U.S Olympian and American middle distance runner Shannon Rowbury, and the Canadian long-distance Olympic runner, Cam Levins American track coach and retired long-distance runner, Alberto Salazar, is expected to fire the starting gun as a tribute to kick off the new event. Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, Andy Murray and other special guests are expected to attend the new event.
“Our goal is to think of what would make the ultimate run,” says Marc Wachter, the event’s executive producer. “We are thrilled to be working with Serena for the first annual Serena Williams Ultimate Run.  One of the world’s number one female athletes behind our inaugural event in Miami Beach, together with participants from the Nike Oregon Project, will make this run the Ultimate experience.”

Open to runners of all ages, registrants of the Ultimate RUN will receive a premium, Nike tech, gender-specific Ultimate RUN shirt and custom artisan Ultimate RUN finisher medal, official finisher certificate, chip timed results, recovery refreshments, post-race entertainment and an amazing RUN experience along one of the most famous beach front locations on earth. At the all-inclusive fun RUN, a medal and a Nike shirt will also be presented for the Ultimate KIDS Dash for ages 2-10, on a special secure course for the children lined with volunteers and parents who will help direct and cheer the smallest runners to the finish.

“Serena, South Beach, and running down Ocean Drive breaking a sweat for a good cause is a perfect combination,” said Michael Rose, Managing Partner of Rose Capital Advisors in Miami Beach and Board Member of the Serena Williams Fund. “We’re extremely fortunate and grateful that the community has embraced this project as strongly as all of our partners, sponsors, volunteers, family, and friends have. The race will truly be a weekend affair, leveraging all that South Beach has to offer – including an intimate welcome reception on Friday evening, an outdoor health and fitness expo open to the public on Saturday afternoon, and of course, a celebratory post-race karaoke party!”

A significant portion of proceeds from the Serena Williams Ultimate Run will go towards the Serena Williams Fund, which provides assistance to families affected by violent crimes and providing underprivileged youth around the world with the highest quality of education available to them.  For further information, visit www.theserenawilliamsfoundation.org

Registration for the first annual Serena Williams Ultimate RUN South Beach on Sunday, December 14th is now open at www.TheUltimateRun.com at facebook.com/SerenaWilliamsUltimateRunSouthBeach and via Twitter @TheUltimateRun.  Additional inquiries can be made by calling 305.538.8899.  For further information and updates, visit  www.TheUltimateRun.com

The Serena Williams Ultimate Run is sponsored by Nike, Gatorade, beats by dr. dre, Delta Airlines, MISSION Athletecare, Merchant Hub, Whole Foods Market, Douglas Elliman, Rose Capital and Ocean Drive Magazine.

Share

Roger Federer vs. Grigor Dimitrov in BNP Paribas Showdown at MSG on March 10, 2015

Federer vs Dimitrov

(October 22, 2014) New York, NYRoger Federer will return to Madison Square Garden to face Grigor Dimitrov and headline the annual BNP Paribas Showdown on Tuesday, March 10, it was announced today.

 

Federer, current World No. 2, will make his third appearance in the BNP Paribas Showdown after facing Pete Sampras in 2008 and Andy Roddick in 2012.  Arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, he holds several men’s world records including holding the world No. 1 ranking for an unprecedented 302 weeks, including 237-consecutive-weeks from 2004 to 2008; winning 17 Grand Slam singles titles; reaching each Grand Slam Final at least five times (an all-time record); and reaching the Wimbledon final nine times. He is one of seven men to capture the career Grand Slam. Federer also shares the Open Era record for most titles at the Australian Open with Andre Agassi and Novak Djokovic (4), at Wimbledon with Pete Sampras (7) and at the US Open with Jimmy Connors and Sampras (5).

 

The young rising star, Dimitrov, who is often compared to Federer, is currently ranked No. 11 and will be making his Madison Square Garden debut.  He recently cracked the top ten when he climbed to No. 8 after reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014.  Dimitrov is the only Bulgarian tennis player to ever be ranked in the top 10.  He’s also the first Bulgarian to win an ATP singles title (Stockholm – 2013) and reach a final in doubles (in 2011) as well as the only one to reach the third round or better at a Grand Slam tournament.

 

The two top players faced each other once before in Basel, Switzerland with Federer beating Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6 (2) in a quarterfinal match.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets start at $50.00 and will go on-sale Monday, October 27. They can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets.

 

“It’s huge and I’m unbelievably excited.  I did have the honor twice already to do it, once against Pete Sampras and once against Andy Roddick and both nights were very special,” said Roger Federer.  “I’ve played in many arenas and many cool places around the world but, there is nothing like MSG.  That is why when I heard there is another opportunity for me to come back and people wanted to see me, it got me going and I can’t wait for March 10.”

 

“Growing up, Roger was one of my heroes. To play him on such a stage is definitely an honor for me. I am really happy and excited to be part of the event since it is one of the biggest sporting venues,” added Grigor Dimitrov.  “This will absolutely be different. I’m getting goose bumps thinking about it. I’m just going to really enjoy it and embrace the moment. You are in New York and in one of the biggest arenas against arguably the best player of all-time. It means a lot to me to have an opportunity like that. I’m just going to try and make every moment count.”

 

“The BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden has continually showcased the very best players in the world and has provided countless thrills and terrific moments for New York tennis fans,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports.  “At any given moment you can see Ben Stiller come from the crowd to play doubles or watch the No. 1 golfer in the world, Rory McIllroy take to the Garden court. Having the best player in the world in Roger Federer back for a third time to face Grigor Dimitrov will certainly entertain the thousands in attendance and make new memories for years to come.”

 

“The BNP Paribas Showdown continues to be the crown jewel of World Tennis Day and this year will be no different with the New York fans being able to see great tennis between Roger and Grigor who I expect will put on a dazzling display,” said Jerry Solomon, president StarGames Inc.  “And, to add to the excitement, we will soon be announcing an opening match which will feature two of the greatest players in women’s tennis history to fill out a night that no one will want to miss.”

 

The 8th annual BNP Paribas Showdown, which consistently attracts the biggest names in tennis, will follow the likes of Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Ivan Lendl, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Mike and Bob Bryan, John and Patrick McEnroe, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic who all took part in previous Showdowns providing unforgettable memories for New York tennis fans.

 

As in years past, the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden will once again headline a full day of nationwide activities as part of “World Tennis Day,” a global tennis participation effort. All events promote tailoring the game to players 10-and-under with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring.

 

Additional information on the BNP Paribas Showdown and World Tennis Day will be announced at a later date.

Share

USTA Eastern Junior Awards Gala

Junior player Matthew Gamble receives his award from Justin Gimelstob and Katrina Adams at the Junior Awards Gala on Day 1 at the US Open.

Junior player Matthew Gamble receives his award from Justin Gimelstob and Katrina Adams at the Junior Awards Gala on Day 1 at the US Open.

By Dave Gertler

(August 25, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – The achievements of USTA Eastern juniors in tournaments over the last 12 months, and the dedication of their families, was celebrated at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center before the first ball was struck at the US Open on Monday, at the 2014 Junior Awards Gala. Future stars of American tennis gathered to hear guest speakers, including former professional player and current Tennis Channel broadcaster Justin Gimelstob, honor the achievements of 30 junior players, as well as present awards to the top three in each age group.

 

“As you see out there today, for the next 15 days, this is an incredible sport,” said Gimelstob, “This sport challenges you in a way physically, mentally, tactically, emotionally, that almost nothing else can compete with, in an individual way. To find enjoyment in that, you’re a unique bunch.”

 

First Vice President of the USTA, and former world No.8 doubles player Katrina Adams, also praised the dedication of the kids and their families. While the complete list of award-winners from each age group is listed below, there were a small group of players who won awards in multiple age categories.

 

“I play every day, try to get better every day,” said Matthew Gamble, who was the top achiever in the 16s Boys category, as well as third overall in the 18s. “It’s a big part of my life.” Gamble cites the interaction with other players as an important part of the sport for him, saying, “Lately I’ve done more and more team events, so the team aspect and just playing your best, giving 100%.”

 

The junior from Rochester doesn’t want to stop here. While his favorite player, Rafael Nadal, was absent from the US Open this year, perhaps Gamble might one day find himself facing his idol at his home slam. “I obvioiusly want to play college tennis,” said Gamble, “And then after college, I’m gonna try to go pro and make it on the pro tour.”

 

The USTA Eastern Section, based in White Plains, N.Y., is a not-for-profit community service organization whose mission is to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The section encompasses all of New York State, Northern New Jersey and Greenwich, Conn. It is one of 17 geographic sections of the United States Tennis Association, the governing body of tennis in the United States, and supports more than 49,000 members.

 

Exceptional players recognized at the Awards Gala:

 

Boys’ 10s:

1. Ty Switzer (New York, N.Y.)
2. Evan Wen (Morristown, N.J.)
3. Julian Wu (Tenafly, N.J.)

Girls’ 10s:

1. Stephanie Yakoff (Fort Lee, N.J.)
2. Amaya Goulbourne (Pelham, N.Y.)
3. Hailey Stoerback (Saint James, N.Y.)

Boys’ 12s:

1. Billy Suarez (Huntington, N.Y.)
2. Jeffrey Fradkin (New York, N.Y.)
3. Ronan Jachuck (Slingerlands, N.Y.)

Girls’ 12s:

1. Rosie Garcia Gross (New York, N.Y.)
2. Gabriella Price (Montebello, N.Y.)
3. Alexa Noel (Summit, N.J.)

Boys’ 14s:

1. Sean Wei (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.)
2. Ronan Jachuck (Slingerlands, N.Y.)
3. Michael Sun (Livingston, N.J.)

Girls’ 14s:

1. Rachel Lim (Braircliff Manor, N.Y.)
2. Lea Ma (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
3. Anna Brylin (Short Hills, N.J.)

Boys’ 16s:

1. Matthew Gamble (Webster, N.Y.)
2. Brenden Volk (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
3. Jordan Benjamin (Fairport, N.Y.)

Girls’ 16s:

1. Stephanie Schrage (Millburn, N.J.)
2. Rachel Lim (Braircliff Manor, N.Y.)
3. Sabrina Xiong (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.)

Boys’ 18s:

1. Daniel Grunberger (Great Neck, N.Y.)
2. Daniel Kerznerman (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3. Matthew Gamble (Webster, N.Y.)

Girls’ 18s:

1. Katharine Fahey (Fair Haven, N.J.)
2. Sabrina Xiong (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.)
3. Rima Asatrian (Tenafly, N.J.)

Share