February 10, 2016

John McEnroe Tennis Academy To Host College Combine June 18th-19th

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(February 9, 2016) – The John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA) announced the inaugural John McEnroe Tennis Academy College Recruiting Combine scheduled for the weekend of June 18th and 19th at SPORTIME Randall’s Island, the NYC home of JMTA. The Combine will give selected rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to showcase their technical and tactical skills, their athletic capabilities and their mental toughness, in front of leading collegiate coaches from around the country.

“With the great success we have had helping to place Academy students in college programs where they are most likely to flourish academically and athletically, the JMTA Combine is a natural progression for us. The Combine will enable us to help a broader group of youngsters, including those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to interact with college coaches in a live showcase of their skills and personalities. My hope is that this first Combine is going shine a light on some of the great tennis talent we are developing here in the greater NYC area, and that future annual Combines will show that we are only just getting started,” said John McEnroe.

Coaches representing all three NCAA Divisions are expected to attend, with commitments from Penn State, Columbia, Amherst, Harvard, Wake Forest and many other top programs. Interested players can apply to participate in the Combine at www.SportimeNY.com/JMTACombine beginning February 8th, with registration closing on March 31st. A limited number of Combine spots are available for boys and girls. JMTA Directors will evaluate each application based upon objective criteria. Those chosen to participate will be informed by no later than April 15th and will be required to pay an entry fee.

Player check-in will begin at 8 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday for boys and girls. Participants will compete in singles and doubles match play throughout both days, with results tracked. Players will also receive athletic performance assessments, mental toughness assessments, and will have ½ hour of their match play recorded and analyzed by Tennis analytics. An integrated recruiting package for each Combine participant will be compiled and made available, digitally, to both the participants and the coaches, at the touch of a button. For further details, go to www.SportimeNY.com/JMTACombine.

“The upcoming college recruiting combine at Sportime is an outstanding concept. Certainly college coaches are looking for tournament results, but they also want to be sure that they are recruiting players that are both physically and mentally tough. And coaches like to meet their future players as early in the process as possible. This combine will be a great way for coaches to interact with a very select group of players and to get a first-hand sense of their tennis skills, as well as their mental and physical capacities. There is no better place than the John McEnroe Tennis Academy to hold this showcase, which should be a real leg-up for East Coast players.” Tony Bresky, Head Men’s Tennis Coach – Wake Forest University.

JMTA students who have gone on to compete on the collegiate level include: current ATP No. 247 and 2014 junior Wimbledon champion Noah Rubin, who was the ACC Player of the Year at Wake Forest University and NCAA singles finalist in 2015; Jamie Loeb, the 2015 NCAA singles champion from the University of North Carolina who also turned pro in the fall; Jessica Golovin, a freshman already making her mark at LSU; and Sabrina Xiong, a freshman at Harvard who was the recipient of the first full scholarship to JMTA in 2010.

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Agassi, McEnroe, Blake and Fish Heading to New Haven – Legends Event Becomes Official PowerShares Series Stop

2014 PowerShares QQQ Tennis Tour Rings The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell

2014 PowerShares QQQ Tennis Tour Rings The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Jan. 25, 2016 – Four of the best male American tennis players of all time, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake and Mardy Fish, will compete in a PowerShares Series event – the circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30 – at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, a WTA Premier event to be held August 19-27, at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, it was announced today by Tournament Director Anne Worcester.
The Connecticut Open Men’s Legends Event, which began two years ago, has now become an official part of the PowerShares Series. This year the WTA Premier tournament will welcome some of the game’s most well-known and talented men’s legends for two evenings of tennis, complete with an all-new format. On Thursday evening, August 25, following the WTA quarterfinal, McEnroe will play Blake, and on Friday evening, August 26, following the WTA semifinal, Agassi will battle Fish, with the winners of each matchup competing in a final on Friday night. The men’s matches will all be one set each.
One of the most well-known tennis players of all-time, Agassi returns to New Haven for the first time since 1995 when he won the men’s tournament, and promptly proceeded to shave the head of then-Tournament Director Jim Westhall. The eight-time Grand Slam champion is one of only seven men to have won all four Grand Slams, is a former World No. 1 and owns 60 singles titles on the ATP World Tour. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011.
“I am excited to return to New Haven and look forward to participating in the PowerShares Legends Event at the Connecticut Open,” said Agassi. “I have fond memories of capturing the title there in 1995, and the memorable activities that followed.  It will be fun to compete against Mardy Fish, and hopefully I will reach the finals to compete against the winner of McEnroe and Blake.”
McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam singles and nine-time Grand Slam doubles Champion, will be returning to New Haven for the second consecutive year. Last year McEnroe enthralled the crowd throughout his match, and even conducted an impromptu fundraiser mid-match, auctioning off his racquets and shirt to raise more than $8,000 for Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. One of the most talented players in history, he accumulated more than 150 singles and doubles championships in his career, and in 1984, had one of the greatest seasons in the history of tennis when he won two majors (Wimbledon, US Open), 13 of 15 singles tournaments, and compiled an 82-3 record for the year, which still stands as the best year-long winning percentage on the ATP World Tour. McEnroe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.
Blake is a former two-time Connecticut Open Champion with 10 singles and seven doubles titles to his name. The Connecticut native will be returning to play in the Legends event for the third consecutive year. Fish, a former top 10 player with six singles and eight doubles titles in his career plus the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, will make a return to New Haven for the first time since 2009. Fish played in the men’s ATP event in New Haven five times (2005-2009), reaching the finals twice (2007, 2008).
“We have continued to build our Legends Event each year which is anchored by hometown favorite James Blake. For year three, we wanted to attract yet another big name and Andre Agassi is undoubtedly one of the biggest legends in the history of the sport,” said Worcester. “John McEnroe was such a huge hit with fans last year that we wanted to bring him back in 2016, and now adding another New Haven fan-favorite in Mardy Fish, we are truly excited about these matches. In addition, becoming an official part of the PowerShares Series validates that the Legends Event was a wise innovation a few years ago and it strengthens the future of the Connecticut Open.”
Fans can guarantee their tickets to incredible women’s tennis plus Legends matches by purchasing weeklong box seats which provide access to all 14 sessions, significant savings and a host of benefits OR  multiple session packages which provide seating in a reserved location on the West sideline, and savings up to 31 percent. Multiple session packages include:
After Hours (Aug. 22-27) – Every evening session, including all Legends matches, and Saturday afternoon (WTA Finals)
Final 4 (Aug. 25-27) – Thursday evening (WTA Quarterfinal/Legends), Friday day and evening (WTA Semifinals/Legends), and Saturday (WTA Finals)
Pick 4 (Aug. 21-25) – Four early round sessions including Thursday evening (WTA Quarterfinal/Legends)
POWERSHARES SERIES PLAYER FIELDS ANNOUNCED FOR 2016

LOS ANGELES – The PowerShares Series, the tennis circuit for champion players over the age of 30, announced its slate of player fields for its 12-city circuit that begins April 8 in Chicago. Competing players in 2016 are Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis, James Blake and Mardy Fish.

The PowerShares Series also announced the addition of an event in Denver at the 1stBank Center on November 5. Ticket and VIP experiences information – including play-with-the pros opportunities – can be found at <a href=”http: www.powersharesseries.com” target=”_blank”>www.PowerSharesSeries.com. The full schedule with player fields are listed below;

April 8               Chicago  (UIC Pavilion) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

April 9                       Charleston (Family Circle Tennis Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mardy Fish

April 14                    St. Louis (Chaifetz Arena) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

April 22                    Memphis (Landers Center) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

April 23                    Tulsa (BOK Center) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

July 17                      Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame) – Andy Roddick, James Blake + 2 Players TBA

August 21   Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

August 25, 26       New Haven (Yale University) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

November 4          Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish and TBA

November 5         Denver (1stBank Center) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake and TBA

December 1          Orlando (Amway Arena) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

December 3          New York (Barclays Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match. For the second straight year, players will make their own line calls, with assistance of electronic line-calling.

In 2015, Roddick won the PowerShares Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

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BNP Paribas Open – #TennisParadise Sweepstakes Launches

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(January 25, 2016) Indian Wells, Calif., – The BNP Paribas Open, the largest WTA and ATP World Tour combined two-week event in the world, to be held March 7-20, 2016 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, has announced its #TennisParadise sweepstakes whereby tennis fans around the world can enter to win a tennis trip of a lifetime to the 2016 BNP Paribas Open, it was announced today by Chief Executive Officer Raymond Moore.
To enter the drawing to win a VIP trip for two to the 2016 BNP Paribas Open, fans must share a photo of their version of #TennisParadise on Twitter and Instagram while incorporating the hashtag in their post. After posting to Twitter or Instagram, fans must visit www.bnpparibasopen.com/tennisparadise and claim their photo on the website. Fans can also upload their submissions directly by visiting the URL. Fans should reference the Terms and Conditions, as age and residential limitations apply.
The VIP trip for two includes two box seat tickets for five sessions in Stadium 1 – March 14 (evening), March 15 (day and evening), and March 16 (day and evening) – three hotel nights (March 14 – 16) at a City of Indian Wells luxury resort hotel (room and tax), complimentary shuttle service between hotel and tournament site, $500 Visa cash card for transportation, two BNP Paribas Open gift bags that include Official Fila tournament apparel and a behind the scenes tour of Stadium 1.
A secondary prize awards fans with a two-night stay at an Indian Wells’ luxury hotel property (between April 1 – December 31, 2016) and the opportunity to play tennis on the same courts as the professionals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“The combination of the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells Tennis Garden, amazing scenery and activities of the surrounding region creates Tennis Paradise,” said Moore. “This sweepstakes is a fun way for us to give some fans a chance to experience Tennis Paradise and shape lifelong memories.”
Daily tickets for the BNP Paribas Open are now on sale and range in price from $20 for a Grandstand seat for the first Thursday evening session to $70 and $110 for Grandstand and Loge seats, respectively, for the Championship Weekend. To purchase tickets, visit www.bnpparibasopen.com, call 800-999-1585 or 760-200-8000, or visit the box office at 78-200 Miles Avenue, Indian Wells, CA, 92210.
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Online Registration Begins for BNP Paribas Challenge

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(January 11, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Registration for the 2016 BNP Paribas Challenge, the pre-qualifying event for the BNP Paribas Open, begins today and will run through Friday, February 19. The Challenge is slated for February 29 – March 5 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Last year’s event boasted the largest draw in the event’s history with more than 200 participants seeking wildcard berths into the BNP Paribas Open Qualifying tournament.
First through quarterfinal round matches will be best of three sets with a 10-point match tiebreak played for the third set, while semifinal and final matches will be best of three sets. To enter, visit http://www.bnpparibasopen.com/en/event-info/bnp-paribas-challenge.The entry fee is $50.
All entries and fees must be received by Friday, February 19. For more information, please contact Tom Fey, Director of Tennis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden at 760-200-8200 or tfey@iwtg.net.
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PowerShares Series Tennis Announces 2016 Schedule

 

2014 PowerShares QQQ Tennis Tour Rings The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell

2014 PowerShares QQQ Tennis Tour Rings The NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell

(January 5, 2015) LOS ANGELES — PowerShares Series Tennis, the circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30, announced its 2016 circuit will kick off on April 8 in Chicago. The 2016 circuit will feature 12 events throughout the year concluding December 3 with the first-ever tennis event at the Barclays Center in New York.

The 2016 PowerShares Series will visit six new markets in 2016 and will partner alongside ATP and WTA events in Charleston, S.C., Newport, R.I., Winston-Salem, N.C., and New Haven, Conn.

Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Jim Courier and James Blake comprise the field for the Chicago event, to be played at the UIC Pavilion. Agassi, Blake, Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish will compete in the Charleston tournament, to be played April 9 in conjunction with the WTA’s Volvo Cars Open. Tickets for these two events are currently on sale at www.PowerSharesSeries.com. Ticket information and player fields for St. Louis, Mo., Memphis, Tenn., and Tulsa, Okla., will be announced on January 25.

The full 2016 PowerShares Series schedule is as follows:

April 8 Chicago (UIC Pavillion)
April 9 Charleston (Family Circle Tennis Center)
April 14 St. Louis (Chaifetz Arena)
April 22 Memphis (Landers Center)
April 23 Tulsa (BOK Center)
July 17 Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame)
August 21 Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University)
August 25, 26 New Haven (Yale University)
November 4 Portland, Oregon (Moda Center)
December 1 Orlando (Amway Arena)
December 3 New York (Barclays Center)

Additional cities will be announced in the near future.

“We are looking forward to another highly entertaining season of competition on the PowerShares Series starting with our kick-off event in Chicago,” said Jon Venison, co-president of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and the PowerShares Series. “We are excited to bring PowerShares Series tennis to six new markets this year including our new partnerships with world-class events in Charleston, Newport, New Haven, and Winston Salem.

“PowerShares sponsorship of Champions Series Tennis represents our support for world renowned sports stars who dedicate themselves to excellence and improving their techniques to achieve success over time,” said Dan Draper, Global Head of Invesco PowerShares. “In that same spirit, PowerShares is dedicated to helping investors improve their investing strategies to achieve lifetime success with their portfolios. We want to help people get the most out of life by providing resources and strategies to meet their unique investment goals.”

In 2015, Roddick won the PowerShares Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Mark Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

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Players Approve Courts but Work Still to be Done at Rio Olympic Tennis Centre

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By Sheila Vieira

(December 12, 2015) RIO De JANEIRO, BRAZIL –  The Olympic Tennis Centre for the 2016 Rio Games held its test event from last Thursday to Saturday at the Olympic Park with general praise from Brazilian players. However, while seven courts are ready for play, including the 10,000 capacity main stadium, there are still adjustments to be made in regards to lighting and working offices.

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The total estimated cost of the Rio Tennis Centre is close to US$ 52 million (around 80% funded by the Federal Government), the construction is 85% ready and the organization expects everything to be completed by April. The Brazilian Tennis Federation tested the green courts with matches between local players in three categories: wheelchair, juniors and professionals. There were also two exhibition matches at the main stadium, featuring the country number one singles player, Thomaz Bellucci, and doubles specialists Bruno Soares and Andre Sa, among others.

“It is a hard court, but not a really fast court, because it’s Rio. You can’t control that, these are the conditions here, sea level and humidity. So it’s not too slow or fast. In my point of view, it’s totally approved. The locker room is great. Now it’s about the organization checking the logistics and operations, that will certainly be more complex at the Games”, said Soares, the new doubles partner of British player Jamie Murray.

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Chief Operating Officer for the International Tennis Federation, Spaniard Juan Margets defined the test event as a “positive” experience: “We visited the place a year ago and it was at a very early stage. The situation is now clear: we knew that there was a small delay, but this week’s experience is really positive because you can see the facilities and what they’re going to become. When it comes to the sport aspect, everything is good, no player can complain. In the general aspect, like the working offices, the level is quite acceptable”.

The matches in the main stadium were played during the afternoon because only a part of the lighting has been installed. The arena will be named after 19-time Grand Slam champion Maria Esther Bueno after the Games. Current seats should be replaced by new ones and the temporary stands for courts 1 and 2 (5,000 and 3,000 seat capacity each) are still to be built. Other five outside courts were also tested. At the Olympics, the matches will take place in 10 courts and six others will be reserved for practice.

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The Olympic Tennis Centre is right beside the main street access for the fans, the Embaixador Alberto Bueno Avenue. The Main Press Center (MPC), the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) and the Velodrome are the closest structures to the tennis venue. The Olympic Park, located in the west side of Rio, will host 16 sports during the Games. The tennis tournament takes place from August 6th to the 14th and all tickets are sold out for Brazilian fans.

After the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tennis Centre is expected to be administrated by the Brazilian Tennis Federation. “If everything goes according to plan, we will move to Rio (the Federation’s head office is currently in Sao Paulo) and besides having a training center, we can host all kinds of tournaments here, like Davis Cup ties”, said Jorge Lacerda, president of the entity.

 

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Former world No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten hopes that the Olympics can be a turning point not only for Brazilian tennis, but for the country as a whole: “Our nation usually extracts few benefits from great opportunities. It will be amazing for tennis and for people who live in the sports universe. But unfortunately we are not ready take advantage of that in a general way. The Olympics will certainly be a success and people from all around the world will leave with great memories. But the Brazilian people will stay here afterwards. Those days need to be the start of a bigger transformation”.

Sheila Vieira is a Brazilian sportswriter who has been covering the tennis tour over the last five years.

All photos by Cristiano Andujar.

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Edmund Beats Murray To Win Tie Break Tens In London

(December 5, 2015) Kyle Edmund won the inaugural Tie Break Tens at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday evening and took away more money than he had earned all year.

The 20-year-old Briton produced a sensational barrage of power-hitting to beat his compatriot Andy Murray 10-7 in a high-quality final.

Victory for Edmund meant he took home the $250,000 prize. His year-to-date prize money had been $205,654, and his career prize-money $410,583.

‘It was an honour for me to be here, I really enjoyed it’, said Edmund, afterwards. ‘The fact that I was successful made it even better. I’m very pleased. It’s important to use the money smartly. The best thing is to invest it in my career. If I invest in support and trainers, it’s going to help me on court.’

John McEnroe, who had been part of the field, was impressed with what he saw from the 20-year-old.
‘I liked what I saw, he’s made some great progress,” said McEnroe. “He’s a better athlete than I thought, his backhand was more solid. He’s got a huge forehand, he pops that serve and he rose to the occasion. He’s got huge upside.’
The anticipation ahead of Tie Break Tens had been building at Champions Tennis all week.

The six-man field comprising Edmund, Murray, McEnroe, David Ferrer, Tim Henman and qualifier Xavier Malisse (who earlier beat Younes El Aynaoui to earn his place), had been split into two-round robin groups and competed in a series of fast-paced, first-to-ten point tie-breaks.

In Group 1, McEnroe, 56, thrilled an excited crowd inside the Royal Albert Hall by rolling back the years and volleying exquisitely. He stayed neck and neck with Henman before eventually being edged out, and then led Malisse 7-1 with some of his best tennis in years. Suddenly, the McEnroe juggernaut came juddering to a stop as he lost nine points in a row.

They were joined in the final four by Murray and Edmund. The British pair both overcame World No.7 Ferrer to progress from Group 2.

The semi-finals turned out to be one-sided affairs; Murray clinically beat Henman 10-1 before Edmund saw off the spirited challenge of Malisse.

In the final, Edmund defied the odds and managed to avenge his Group stage loss to Murray. Edmund used his sledgehammer forehand to devastating effect and not even Murray’s renowned defensive skills could prevent Edmund from dominating the baseline exchanges and coming through 10-7.

What Did The Players Think Of Tie Break Tens?

Edmund: ‘I thought it was very exciting. I didn’t know what to expect but I think the crowd enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed it. With tennis it’s always so serious so it was nice to actually have some fun out there and see that emotion of players you don’t normally see. It’s like the 20-20 version of cricket, it’s quick, it’s sharp, it gets the crowd involved.’
Murray: ‘I thought it was good, it was quick. It was nice to be on the court with Tim and John. John is a legend of the game and the format was good.’

McEnroe: ‘I liked it, I felt good. I played well but sort of choked a little bit at the end. Tim actually played some good ball to win a couple of big points. I got cocky I think when I was up 7-1 against Xavier, I thought it was over and started thinking about the semis – that’s a mistake that no athlete should make.’

What is the future for Tie Break Tens?

Matthew Pryke, Tournament Director: ‘We are delighted with how our inaugural Tie Break Tens went as part of Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall. Everyone seemed to have a great time, whether playing, spectating, or watching on Sky Sports, and that’s the whole point. Kyle was a very worthy winner, but all of the players competed hard and made the evening a huge success. We believe Tie Break Tens can complement the current Tour and add value for the tennis fan with its quick-fire, tie-break format, and we intend to stage further events around the world in 2016 and beyond.”
For full results and more information: www.tiebreaktens.com
Champions Tennis runs from 2nd to 6th December at the Royal Albert Hall.

During the week of Champions Tennis, Henman, debutant James Blake, defending champion Fernando Gonzalez, Xavier Malisse, Younes El Aynoui and Sebastien Grosjean have contested an ATP Champions Tour event. John McEnroe, Mats Wilander and Henri Leconte are playing legends singles matches against each other, and also joining the field to play amongst the doubles action are Mansour Bahrami, Pat Cash and Jamie Murray.

On Sunday, Henman will face Gonzalez in the ATP Champions Tour final, with a singles exhibition between McEnroe and Leconte. In doubles, Bahrami, Blake, Cash and Wilander.
Written by David Law
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USTA Foundation to Host First Los Angeles Pro-Am Fundraiser

USTAFoundation

(November 6, 2015) – The USTA Foundation and USTA Foundation Chairman of the Board, former world No. 4 men’s singles player James Blake announced world No. 30 women’s singles player Sloane Stephens and world No. 37 women’s singles player Coco Vandeweghe will be joined by a field of tennis players and celebrities for the foundation’s first Los Angeles Pro-Am to be held on Sunday, November 8 in Brentwood.

 

The event, co-hosted by Blake and International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver, will fund the USTA Foundation’s commitment to improving the quality of life among the nation’s youth, military heroes and individuals with disabilities through tennis and education. This is the first time the USTA Foundation will host a fundraiser on the west coast.

 

Joining Stephens and Vandeweghe are International Tennis Hall of Famer, former world No. 1 and two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin, and Justin Gimelstob, a two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion. Also slated to participate is Katrina Adams, a former world top 10 doubles player and current Chairman, CEO and President of the United States Tennis Association. Celebrities who will participate include Academy Award-nominated actress Elisabeth Shue, Katharine McPhee and Elyes Gabel, who are both stars of CBS’ hit show “Scorpion.” and former college tennis standout and FOX “Last Man On Earth,” star Boris Kodjoe.

 

Participants from Ramp Up, a Los Angeles-based chapter of the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network, will serve as ballpersons for the tournament. The organization is one of the USTA Foundation’s premier after-school tennis and education programs.

 

The Pro-Am will be followed by a reception bringing together tennis stars, icons, enthusiasts and celebrities, all to support the work of the USTA Foundation in combining tennis and education to aid those in need. The event will include a live auction featuring exclusive, one-of-a-kind packages and experiences, including a signed racquet by Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova and tickets to the 2016 US Open and World Tennis Day at Madison Square Garden in March.

 

“I am excited to join an amazing lineup of participants with my friends Pam and Sloane for the USTA Foundation’s first Los Angeles Pro-Am,” said Blake. “It’s great to have so many people lend their time in support of our mission in positively changing lives through the combination of tennis and education. Because I know firsthand how tennis and education programs encourage many of our youth to reach their fullest potential, I’m honored to get back out on the courts and compete for a tremendous cause that will have a lasting impact on future champions.”

 

Individual player packages including private hitting sessions are available at www.ustafoundation.com/LAproam.

 

To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $19 million, benefitting thousands of children and adults through tennis, education and health programs and college scholarships, and has impacted more than 200,000 military service members, veterans and their families through its outreach programs.

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Serena Williams vs. Wozniacki and Monfils vs. Wawrinka Headline BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in March

 

 

Serena Williams MSG

 

New York, NY (October 28, 2015) – It was announced  that 21-time Grand Slam Champion and  Serena Williams, will take on close friend and former No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki, while current No. 4 men’s player Stan Wawrinka will square off with French star Gael Monfils in the 9th annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden.  The one-night tennis event, which is being held on World Tennis Day for the fourth straight year has become a staple on the tennis calendar and is set for Tuesday, March 8.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets starting at $35.00 will go on sale November 1 at 9:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets.

 

“I have been fortunate to play in World Tennis Day events in New York and Hong Kong,” said Caroline Wozniacki.  “It is a great day to celebrate our sport. This year will be even more special as I return to Madison Square Garden with Serena. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

 

Stan Wawrinka said, “There are certain things in your tennis career that you want to do: win Grand Slams, win the Davis Cup for your country. Playing in Madison Square Garden is one of the things on that list so I am excited about the invitation to play in the BNP Paribas Showdown and look forward to walking onto The Garden court.”

 

“I have always loved playing for the New York crowd which inspires me very much,” said Gael Monfils.   “So coming back to New York with Stan on World Tennis Day will be a great opportunity to play for the fans. We will put on a great show for them.”

 

StarGames President, Jerry Solomon added, “I am excited that once again the BNP Paribas Showdown will offer fans great tennis and entertaining matchups. Moreover, I think Serena has really become the ‘people’s champion’ and we have priced tickets to encourage her fans to be in attendance at Madison Square Garden as we honor her on World Tennis Day. It promises to be another night full of memorable moments that you won’t want to miss.”

 

“Year in and year out, the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden continues to attract the top tennis stars in the world and this year is no different,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports.  “We are thrilled to host these top athletes in what has become one of the most exciting and fun nights on the tennis calendar.”

 

The 9th edition of the 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, Grigor Dimitrov, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Monica Seles, Gabriela Sabatini and Jelena Jankovic, all of whom took part in previous Showdowns and provided 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 worldwide 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.

 

Williams, who will make her third appearance in the annual BNP Paribas Showdown, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world, a ranking she has held on six separate occasions dating back to July 8, 2002.  She has a total of 21 Grand Slam singles titles – the third-most of any tennis player, male or female of all time.  Williams holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players and her record of 36 major titles puts her fifth on the all-time list.  Additionally, Serena has won four Olympic gold medals, one in women’s singles and three in women’s doubles.

 

Williams captured the inaugural “BNP Paribas Showdown” held on March 2, 2009 at Madison Square Garden with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over sister Venus Williams. The field also included 2008 French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic, as well as year ending No. 1 Jelena Jankovic.

 

Wozniacki is a former World No. 1 who is currently ranked No. 11 and will be making her second appearance at Madison Square Garden in the BNP Paribas Showdown.  She made her professional debut at 15 years old in 2005 and has since won 23 WTA singles titles.  In 2008, she was named WTA Newcomer of the Year award. She took on Maria Sharapova in her MSG debut in 2012.

 

Wawrinka and Monfils will make their Madison Square Garden debuts when they step onto the Garden court on March 8.

 

Wawrinka, currently ranked No. 4 in the world, has won two Grand Slam titles including the 2014 Australian Open and 2015 French Open title.  Additionally, Wawrinka was a member of the Swiss team that won the Davis Cup in 2014 and also won a Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympics.  Stan and doubles partner Marco Chiudinelli played in the longest known doubles match when they faced Tomas Berdych and Lukas Rosal in a match that lasted over 7 hours.

 

The Frenchman, Monfils, is currently ranked No. 21 in the world. In 2014, he finished in the Top 20 for 1st time since 2011 and 5th time overall and advanced to the quarter finals of both the US Open and French Open.  He made it to the semi finals of the French Open in 2008 and to the quarter finals of the US Open in 2010.   In recent Davis Cup play, Monfils went 3-0 in singles to help France reach its first final since 2010.

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James Blake added to Mylan WTT Smash Hits lineup as Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King announce teams

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New York, N.Y. (September 22, 2015) — Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King have finalized their teams for the 23rd annual Mylan WTT Smash Hits, a charity tennis event set for October 12 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The two longtime friends have selected their lineups with Elton John taking Andy Roddick to head up his squad, while Las Vegas residents and Hall of Famers Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf will lead Team Billie Jean.  The one-night event will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN).

Joining Roddick on Team Elton are former world No. 1s and Hall of Famers Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport, along with American Mardy Fish. King rounded out her roster with a third Hall of Famer, Tracy Austin, and added former world No. 4 James Blake to join Graf and Agassi on her team.

Blake, who won 10 singles and seven doubles titles on the ATP World Tour, is also considered one of tennis’ most inspirational athletes. Blake staged a comeback in 2005 after suffering a fractured neck and illness and also started the James Blake Foundation to support early detection cancer research. Blake has played nine seasons of Mylan World TeamTennis and returns for his second Smash Hits event.

The all-star player lineup, which includes five Hall of Fame members, represents more than 700 singles and doubles titles plus 100 Grand Slam Championships and six Olympic medals.

The players will form two teams, coached by King and John, and play a Mylan World TeamTennis match including one set each of men’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles.  Sets are first to five games with a 9-point tiebreaker at 4-4.  Game scoring is no-ad and cumulative throughout the match.  The evening is expected to begin with a celebrity doubles match featuring Elton John. The night will close with a singles set between Roddick and Blake. The two Americans faced off 12 times on the ATP World Tour with Roddick holding the lead 9-3.

Men’s doubles will include an all-American lineup with Roddick and Fish pairing up for Team Elton against Agassi and Blake for Team Billie Jean. Women’s doubles will showcase four Hall of Famers sharing the court when Davenport and Navratilova lead Team Elton against Graf and Austin. One of the evening’s highlights will be the mixed doubles set featuring Team Billie Jean’s Agassi and Graf taking on Fish and Navratilova.

Tennis action is set for 7:00 p.m. on a specially-constructed tennis court in the valet parking lot adjacent to Caesars Palace Drive. The overall series is tied 11-11 after Team Billie Jean posted a 22-16 victory over Team Elton in London last year.

Tickets for Mylan WTT Smash Hits are selling quickly for the event’s first appearance in Las Vegas. Only a limited number of premium reserved chair back seats remain at $125, and general admission seats are $45. Order tickets through www.WTTSmashHits.com or axs.com, or by calling The Colosseum at Caesars Palace box office at (866) 320-9763 or AXS at (888) 929-7849. For group sales of 10 or more tickets, call USTA Nevada at (702) 792-8384 x. 101.

Special VIP ticket packages, including VIP courtside seating and admission to the pre-match VIP Reception and Auction, will also be available for $500. John, King and all players will participate in the pre-match live auction, which will include an Elton John signed piano bench and King’s Wimbledon tickets, among other items. To buy VIP Reception ticket packages or for more information, call AFAN at (702) 383-8081.

Sponsorship packages are also available by contacting Natalee Jarrett at njarrett@wtt.com or (212) 586-3444 x. 111.

Caesars Palace, which is home to Elton John’s hit show “The Million Dollar Piano,” will also be offering packages that include tickets to Elton’s show and special room rates. All available packages are listed at www.WTT.com/SmashHotel.

Official event sponsors include title sponsor Mylan and host sponsor Caesars Palace. Ryan Wolfington and USTA Nevada are promotional partners of Mylan WTT Smash Hits. Additional sponsors and partners include Adecco, AmerisourceBergen, Aon Hewitt, BICP, Centerview Partners, Cognizant, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, DecoTurf, Ernst & Young, Forevermark, GEICO, Goldman Sachs & Co., Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, KPMG, Macy’s, Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation, McGuireWoods LLP, Perkins Coie LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, RR Donnelley, Wilson, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Wipro. Media partners include News 3, The CW Las Vegas, 97.1 The Point, ESPN radio 1100/100.9, Cox Communications and WG Communications Group.

 

TEAM LINEUPS & MATCH SCHEDULE (subject to change)

TEAM ELTON:                    Lindsay Davenport, Mardy Fish, Martina Navratilova, Andy Roddick

TEAM BILLIE JEAN:           Andre Agassi, Tracy Austin, James Blake, Stefanie Graf

 

ORDER OF PLAY:

*Celeb set:                         featuring Sir Elton John

Men’s Doubles:                Andy Roddick/Mardy Fish (Team Elton) vs. Andre Agassi/James Blake (Team BJK)

Women’s Doubles:         Lindsay Davenport/Martina Navratilova (Team Elton) vs. Stefanie Graf/Tracy Austin (Team BJK)

Mixed Doubles:               Mardy Fish/Martina Navratilova (Team Elton) vs. Andre Agassi/Stefanie Graf (Team BJK)

Men’s Singles:                  Andy Roddick (Team Elton) vs. James Blake (Team BJK)

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