October 4, 2015

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


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



*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)


Tennis Magazine, Mark Miles & Larry Scott to be honored at The Legends Ball


Hall of Fame Tennis Legends, Tennis Magazine,
and Sports Executives Mark Miles and Larry Scott to be honored at
The Legends Ball presented by BNP Paribas

More than 20 Hall of Famers, tennis industry leaders, and dedicated tennis enthusiasts will gather for a celebration of the sport to benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 12 at Cipriani 42nd

Street, NYC.
– The evening will be emceed by ESPN SportsCenter Anchor Cari Champion. –
– Jazz musician Jon Batiste, who made his debut as bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night, is scheduled to perform. –

NEWPORT, R.I., September 9, 2015 – The tennis world goes glam off the courts during US Open Finals weekend when more than 500 guests will gather on Saturday, September 12 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City for The Legends Ball presented by BNP Paribas. The annual social event hosted by the International Tennis Hall of Fame celebrates tennis and honors some of the sport’s greatest champions and contributors. Proceeds of the event will benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame to support the organization’s mission of preserving and promoting the history of the sport.


The evening will pay tribute to the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015, which features former world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo, 6-time Paralympic medalist David Hall, and longtime tennis industry leader Nancy Jeffett. The Legends Ball presented by BNP Paribas is co-chaired by Jody and John Arnhold, Marjorie and Jon Pastel, Barbara and Gary Tolman, and Katie and Todd Traina.


More than 20 Hall of Fame tennis legends are expected to participate in the evening’s festivities including Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Virginia Wade, Tracy Austin, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Pam Shriver, Gigi Fernandez, Nancy Richey, Rosie Casals, Maria Bueno, Peachy Kellmeyer, Jane Brown Grimes, Stan Smith, Vic Seixas, Owen Davidson, Brad Parks, Butch Buchholz, Charlie Pasarell, Donald Dell, and Ion Tiriac. Additional special guests will include 2013 Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli and American tennis great Jimmy Arias.

A special highlight of the evening will be a tribute to the Original 9, the nine women who famously signed $1 contracts to turn pro with the Virginia Slims Circuit, the forerunner to today’s WTA Tour.


ESPN SportsCenter anchor Cari Champion, formerly of Tennis Channel, will be the evening’s Master of Ceremony. The Legends Ball will feature a live musical performance by Jon Batiste, a New Orleans-bred, New York-based jazz musician, who made his debut as bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night.


Sports industry executives Mark Miles and Larry Scott will be guests of honor at the event, during which they will be recognized for their extensive contributions to tennis by presentation of the Eugene L. Scott Award.  The award is given annually to honor an individual who embodies Scott’s commitment to communicating honestly and critically about the game, and who has had a significant impact on the tennis world. Scott will be introduced by Hall of Famer Billie Jean King and Miles will be introduced by Hall of Famer Charlie Pasarell.


Mark Miles was CEO of the ATP Tour from 1990 – 2005, during which time he stabilized and significantly developed the Tour in the areas of revenue, marketing initiatives, prize money increases, and expansion, with new events in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. He has since gone on to be a successful leader in motorsports as President & CEO of Hulman & Company, which is comprised of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, INDYCAR, and other entities.

Larry Scott served as CEO of the WTA Tour from 2003 – 2009, during which time the tour achieved the long-sought goal of equal prize money for women at tennis’ grand slam events, signed the largest-ever sponsorship in professional tennis, and created a  landmark global partnership with UNESCO. Scott also served in various leadership roles with the ATP Tour from 1989 – 2003. Scott currently serves as Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference


Another highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award to The Tennis Media Company. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the company’s signature publication, Tennis Magazine, which was launched in May 1965. Next year, TMC will begin its third decade of producing daily content on Tennis.com, and, at the beginning of last year, the company launched Tennis Tuesday, which has since become the sport’s fastest-growing weekly digital publication.


The Legends Ball is proudly presented by BNP Paribas. In addition, major sponsors include Rolex Watch USA, EMC, Alex and Ani, Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, and Fila, which will debut FILA + UO, a  new and exclusive women’s collection produced by the iconic sportswear line that is available only at Urban Outfitters.


The Legends Ball, held annually since 1980, brings the tennis world together to celebrate the history of the game and honor some of the sport’s great contributors all while serving as an important fundraiser for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.



Nadal, McEnroe, Hewitt Keep Focus On Tennis at JMTP Benefit

Nadal McEnroe at Randalls Island

By Vito Ellison

(August 26,2015) NEW YORK, NY -With drawing cards like 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal, 2001 US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt and the legendary John McEnroe himself, it’s no surprise that the Johnny Mac Tennis Project drew a near-capacity crowd to Randall’s Island on a balmy Wednesday evening for the fifth edition of his Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) exhibition. The event was held to raise funds used to provide financial assistance to qualified young tennis players.  Sportime Clubs, home of last night’s event and McEnroe’s eponymous tennis academy and the JMTP, have already provided over $2 million in scholarships and assistance in part paid for by this annual event.

Long considered an iconoclast in the sometimes hidebound world of tennis, McEnroe’s mellower side was on display at last night’s event.  He was effusive in thanking his guests, particularly Nadal, of whom he said “He’s done me a huge favor and I owe him one big time,” said McEnroe.  “He’s come here for nothing and it is very, very much appreciated.” In another exchange he added, “When you get to be stature of Rafael Nadal, you expect people to come up to you, even the older players, to pay respect to you. Rafael’s never been that type.”

While McEnroe’s was unguardedly positive about Nadal he adopted a different, more protective stance regarding Nick Kyrgios. With McEnroe’s desire to keep the event and crowd focused on the good work of the JMTP, Kyrgios, who to his credit honored his commitment to attend, was largely relegated to the background. With Kyrgios still under heavy fire in the court of public opinion for his comments in a match against Stan Wawrinka two weeks ago, McEnroe announced to the gathered press that the Aussie would not be playing singles against Nadal as initially scheduled. “Nick Kyrgios is going to be playing doubles with me, along with my brother [Patrick] and Jonas Bjorkman,” McEnroe started. “I made a decision based on some of the ongoing stuff. While I want to be supportive of Nick and think he’s a tremendous talent…It would be better served for him at this particular time to maybe take a step back.”

Top draw Rafael Nadal would instead square off against another former World No. 1 in Lleyton Hewitt for an eight-game pro set.  The match, though just an exo, was typical of the Spaniard’s two steps forward/two steps back season-to-date. Nadal flashed vintage moments including an well-placed ace that helped him dig out of a love-40 hole on serve and a screaming backhand down-the-line winner that brought a big smile to his face and a 4-1 lead on the scoreboard.  The sparkling moments were tempered though by frustrating periods of imprecision.  He gave the net tape a workout at points and seemed to guide more shots than usual long.  The inconsistency left Nadal, who opened up a 6-3 lead in the eight game pro set scrambling to keep the lid on Hewitt in an 8-7(5) win that was closer than the early going would have indicated.

The exhibition was held in advance of the year’s final major, the US Open which commences Monday.


Althea Gibson Week 8/25-29: TPN Talks to ALTHEA Filmmaker Rex Miller

Photo of Althea Gibson and Millicent Miller courtesy of Rex Miller

Photo of Althea Gibson and Millicent Miller courtesy of Rex Miller

(August 24, 2015) NEW YORK, NY – With the celebration of what would have been Althea Gibson’s 88th birthday on August 25, it’s Althea Gibson Week. This week not only commemorates her accomplishments at the US Open, where she won singles titles in 1957 and 1958, but also the national broadcast debut of the documentary film ALTHEA, on PBS’ American Masters, Sept. 4th, 2015 at 9 p.m., with an encore on WNET, New York on the morning of the US Open men’s final on September 13th.


All over the New York City area, special screenings of the film will be taking place, before its broadcast television debut.


Tennis Panorama had the chance to speak with ALTHEA filmmaker Rex Miller about what this week means to him. Miller’s mother played with and against Gibson.


“For me it’s all about Althea, and our team, we call ourselves “team Althea,” Miller said.

“I was fortunate enough to get great people fired up about this project, they’ve put up a lot of work and personally my biggest enthusiasm comes from the film. We are going to be having four events in Harlem this week, and that’s real exciting because that’s where Althea grew up. We had a goal of helping althea get re-recognized. We wanted to take her to icon status, that may or may not happen, I think she deserves that. But to have her recognized, especially in Harlem is just awesome, in Queens and Long Island as well.


“Althea’s story to me is important on several levels,” Miller said.

“For the tennis fan, obviously it’s a tennis story, and a sports story. But it’s also a civil rights story because Althea achieved all of this in the early 50’s. I mean she broke the color barrier in 1950, then she went on to win the US Nationals, Forest Hills and Wimbledon in 1957 and 58. This is the time of Emmitt Till, Rosa Parks and lynchings in the south. Long before Arthur Ashe, long before Martin Luther King.

“She really was heroic in having to break down barriers during this time, way back in the early 50s. She overcame all of these obstacles and her achievements span across many areas.


“Not only did she breakthrough in tennis, she also played pro golf – the first female African American to be on the LPGA tour.


“She sang at the Wimbledon Ball, on the Ed Sullivan Show live. She was in a John Wayne film, directed by John Ford.” Gibson also made an album. On top of all of this, Gibson also earned a college degree at Florida A&M.


“She’s a role model for kids today of any ethnic group,” Miller said. “So her story is important.”


There is also an outreach component to the film in which many schools have had screenings of the film which have been successful. “It has worked so well that we are working with our various outreach partners, including the USTA and setting screenings over the next year.”

“We also plan on renovating two Black history tennis sites” – the backyard courts of Dr. Hubert Eaton in Wilmington, NC and tennis Hall of Famer Dr. Robert W. Johnson of Lynchburgh, VA who coached Arthur Ashe.


For more information about the film http://www.altheathefilm.com/ Follow on twitter at https://twitter.com/AltheaFilm


Here is a list of scheduled events for Althea Gibson Week:

Aug 25 : Harlem Junior Tennis & Education program

The Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program will host a viewing of the Althea at the Harlem Armory where Althea trained and competed. Katrina Adams, Dante Brown, Directors. Filmmaker Rex Miller will join the audience for a Q/A following the screening.

For more info please visit hjtep.org


DATE: Tuesday, August 25 2015

TIME: 1:00pm to 3:00pm

LOCATION: Harlem Armory – 40 West 143rd Street NY, NY 10037

TICKETS: Open to all – Please RSVP (212) 491-3738


Aug 25 : Films at the Schomburg

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Presents AMERICAN MASTERS, ALTHEA: Remarks by Neal Shapiro, President & CEO WNET and Michael Kantor, Executive Producer, American Masters, excerpts from the film, a discussion and reception with  The Honorable David N. Dinkins, Art Carrington, and director Rex Miller. Talk-back with guests following the screening.

For more info please visit Films at The Schomburg


DATE: Tuesday, August 25 2015

TIME: 6:00pm to 9:00pm

LOCATION: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture , Langston Hughes Auditorium – 515 Malcolm X Boulevard NY

TICKETS: Seating Limited Registration Required

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/films-at-the-schomburg-althea-tickets-17953871513


Aug 26 : Queens Day at the museum

The Queens Museum presents the Queens Premiere of ALTHEA, as part of Queens Day at the US Open.

For more info Queens Museum/info@queensmuseum.org


DATE: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

TIME: 6:30pm

LOCATION: Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park Queens, NY 11368

TICKETS: RSVP  info@queensmuseum.org or (718) 592-9700


Aug 27: US Open Draw Ceremony


DATE: Thursday, August 27 2015


Aug 27: ImageNation Cinema Foundation presents a screening of ALTHEA.

Doors open at 6:30pm / Screening at 7pm, Q&A with director Rex Miller to follow.

Free! $5 suggested donation.

Please visit www.imagenation.us to learn about the #iLoveSoulCinema crowdfunder.




ImageNation’s RAW SPACE,

2031 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., New York, NY 10027

(bet. 121st & 122nd)




Aug 28 : The West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills

The West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills, hosts a screening of ALTHEA. Reception and outdoor screening on the grass courts just after sunset. Visit the legendary site of Althea’s groundbreaking 1950 match against Louise Brough, and her 1957/58 US National titles. In the shadow of the grand old stadium, built in 1923 and recently renovated, the film will be viewed after sunset on a 20′ screen. Cocktails available beforehand. Q&A with director Rex Miller to follow. For more info Forest Hills


DATE: Friday, August 28 2015

TIME: 8:00pm

LOCATION: The West Side Tennis Club – 1 Tennis Pl, Forest Hills, NY

TICKETS: Open to public, please RSVP as seating is limited

(718)268-2300 Ext 115  Attn: Bob Ingersole


Aug 29 : The Jungle: Re-dedication of courts

The David Dinkins Tennis Club at The Jungle presents, “A re-dedication of the Althea Gibson and Sydney Llewellyn courts at The Jungle public courts”, 7th Avenue and 150th St., Harlem, in honor of those who have contributed to the Jungle’s legacy. This year’s inductees will be David Dinkins and tennis great Bob Ryland. The ceremony will start at 10:00 AM. It will be followed by a party for kids and their parents, in conjunction with our weekly “Free 10 and Under Family Tennis/Reading Program.” All are welcome!

For more info please visit The David Dinkins Tennis Club


DATE: Tuesday, August 29 2015

TIME: 10:00am

LOCATION: The Jungle public courts – 7th Avenue and 150th St., Harlem NY, NY

*Parking is available up the school’s ramp next to the park at 7th Avenue and 150th St.

TICKETS: FREE – All are welcome!


Aug 29 : Long Island Premiere

Long Island Premiere screening of ALTHEA, presented by the Gold Coast Film Festival. Q&A with director Rex Miller to follow.

This premiere is sponsored in partnership with the USTA Eastern Long Island Region.

For more info please visit Gold Coast International Film Festival


DATE: Saturday, August 29 2015

TIME: Doors 7:00pm; Screening 7:30pm

LOCATION: Soundview Cinemas, Port Washington, NY

TICKETS: Regular $15 / Student $10


TICKETS: http://goldcoastfilmfestival.org/althea/


Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama


Related article:

Althea Gibson Documentary Project “Althea” Selected for Film Festivals


Washington Kastles Win Fifth Straight World Team Tennis Championship

Aug. 2, 2015; Washington, D.C.: Washington Kastles win

Aug. 2, 2015; Washington, D.C.: Washington Kastles win

From the WTT: WASHINGTON, DC (August 2, 2015) — Mylan World TeamTennis’ historic 40th season closed out today with the Washington Kastles making history of their own by winning a record fifth consecutive championship title with a 24-18 victory over the Austin Aces in Washington DC. It was the sixth overall championship for the Kastles, tying the mark set by the Sacramento Capitals in 2007.

The Kastles dominated the match, winning four of five sets. It was the sixth title for Kastles’ captain Leander Paes who was also named the Finals MVP. “It’s just a beautiful moment to share,” Paes said after collecting his sixth Mylan WTT title — all with the Kastles. “I’ve had a really long career and done some really special things, and this is way up there with the best of them. I’d like to dedicate this MVP award to every single Kastles member, not only on the court but behind the scenes and every single Kastles fan.”

“It’s a dream come true,” said Kastles coach Murphy Jensen. “It’s so different, you’d think this’d get old hat but it doesn’t. It was a bigger challenge because players were coming and going during the season but to get them all to perform the way they did against an extremely tough team says a lot about our organization.”

Washington was in control of the highly-anticipated matchup between the top two teams in the regular season from the start. In the opening set of mixed doubles, Teymuraz Gabashvili and Alla Kudryavtseva reeled off four straight points to win the first game. Paes held serve to even up the match at 1-1. Martina Hingis hit a winner down the middle to break Kudryavtseva’s serve to go up 2-1. Hingis held to give Washington a 3-1 lead before Gabashvili brought the Aces back to 2-3 with a huge service game. Paes held serve then the Kastles got another critical break of Kudryavtseva’s serve to close out the first set, 5-2.

The Kastles boasted the top-ranked women’s doubles team in the league and showed why early in the second set. Anastasia Rodionova and Hingis jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Aces got on the board with a break of Hingis’ serve. Washington broke back in the next game on Svitolina’s serve to go up 3-1. After a break of Rodionova’s serve, Austin evened up the set 3-3 as Kudryavtseva held serve for the first time in the afternoon. There were six service breaks in the set before Washington pulled out a 5-4 win to extend their lead to 10-6.

Washington seemingly took control of the match in men’s doubles with an early break of serve to go up 2-1. The Kastles took a 4-2 lead on a Sam Querrey ace. Washington closed out the set 5-3 to take a commanding six-game lead at halftime, 15-9.

Querrey continued his strong play in men’s singles with a 5-4 win over Gabashvili, the top men’s singles player in the league, to give Washington a 20-13 edge going into the final set of women’s singles.

World No. 20 Elina Svitolina was handed the task of bringing Austin back from a seven-game deficit against Madison Brengle. Svitolina, who beat Brengle 5-1 in their only previous Mylan WTT meeting, looked in control early on before a controversial call going against the Kastles ignited the Washington crowd.

Svitolina proceeded to fall behind a break, but broke back and, putting continued pressure on Brengle, took the first set of the day for the Aces, 5-3, and triggered Extended Play. The American has played her best tennis in 2015, however, and responded by winning the requisite game off a stunning backhand winner to clinch the historic victory.

For more information, visit www.WTT.com.


2015 Mylan World TeamTennis Final: Washington Kastles def. Austin Aces 24-18 (EP)

MIXED DOUBLES: Martina Hingis/Leader Paes (Washington) def. Alla Kudryavtseva\Teymuraz Gabashvili (Austin) 5-2

WOMEN’S DOUBLES: Martina Hingis/Anastasia Rodionova (Washington) def. Elina Svitolina/Alla Kudryavtseva (Austin) 5-4

MEN’S DOUBLES: Leander Paes/Sam Querrey (Washington) def. Teymuraz Gabashvili/Jarmere Jenkins (Austin) 5-3

MEN’S SINGLES: Sam Querrey (Washington) def. Teymuraz Gabashvili (Austin) 5-4

WOMEN’S SINGLES:  Elina Svitolina (Austin) def.  Madison Brengle (Washington) 5-3

EXTENDED PLAY: Madison Brengle (Washington) def. Elina Svitolina 1-0



Taste of Tennis “Week” Returns



NEW YORK, NY (July 27, 2015) – AYS, the creators and producers of the Taste of Tennis, announced the lineup of events leading up to this year’s US Open. From Top Chefs battling it out on the Tennis Court, to pro tennis players “serving” incredible cuisine, these exciting events offer something for all tastes! Events include the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge on August 26th, the 16th Annual Taste of Tennis Gala on August 27th and Party with The Pros on August 29th.


“Taste of Tennis is among the most recognizable brands in the culinary and tennis communities. Each year, our flagship event sells out. To satisfy demand, we have added the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge and Party with the Pros. Additionally, in 2016, we are excited to announce that we will launch Taste of Tennis Series in key tennis and culinary markets nationwide. It’s an extremely exciting time for us,” explains Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS.


Tickets for Taste of Tennis events are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.tasteoftennisnyc.com.  The complete Taste of Tennis Week schedule of events includes:


  • Wednesday, August 26th – Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, 10AM-2PM (City View Racquet Club, 43-34 32nd Place, Long Island City, NY): Hosted by Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan and SNY anchor Michelle Yu. At this exciting event, professional chefs will serve up something a little out of the ordinary as they compete in a round-robin doubles tournament to determine who is the King (or Queen) of the court! Guests will witness action packed matches featuring Marc Murphy (LandMarc), Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto) and many other renowned chefs. Guests will also enjoy interactive sponsor activities, and will join the chefs for a delicious post tournament cookout sponsored by Master Purveyors.


  • Thursday, August 27th – Taste of Tennis Gala, 7PM-10PM (W New York- 541 Lexington Ave.): The party that started it all! To celebrate the US Open, AYS created the Taste of Tennis, a one of a kind event featuring fine food prepared by 25 of NYC’s top culinary minds, signature cocktails, interactive sponsor experiences, live music and appearances by the world’s greatest tennis players. Hosting this year’s gala will be former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, headlining Chef Marc Murphy and professional tennis stars The Bryan Brothers. Major sponsors for the 16th Taste of Tennis include Citi, Rado, Jamaica Tourist Board, Lifeway Kefir, Zepp, Master Purveyors, Inc., Mouton Cadet and Franciscan Estate Napa Valley, among others.  A portion of proceeds from this event will benefit Chef Eli Kulp, beloved chef of Philadelphia’s High Street Market who was in the process of opening a new restaurant in New York City when he was critically injured in the recent Amtrak train derailment.


  • Saturday, August 29th Party with the Pros, 7PM-9PM (Measure Lounge at Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue): Guests at the Party with the Pros will enjoy an evening of incredible hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef David Vandenabeele and signature cocktails while rubbing elbows with some of the top names in professional tennis. This exclusive event takes place at Measure Lounge in the luxurious Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue. Availability is extremely limited, so get your tickets now! Confirmed players include Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and John Isner.


Special 10% discount for Tennis Panorama News readers for Taste of Tennis and the Celebrity Chef Challenge http://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-taste-of-tennis-tickets-14888080650?aff=erellivorg  – use the code TennisPanorama for the discount.



Mauresmo, Hall, and Jeffett Headline the 2015 Tennis Hall of Fame

Hall of Famers gathered in Newport to welcome the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Left to right: Stan Smith, Owen Davidson, Jane Brown Grimes, Rosie Casals, ITHF Chairman Christopher Clouser, Peachy Kellmeyer, Pam Shriver, Gigi Fernandez, Vic Seixas, Brad Parks, David Hall, Nancy Jeffett.    Photo by Kate Whitney Lucey

Hall of Famers gathered in Newport to welcome the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Left to right: Stan Smith, Owen Davidson, Jane Brown Grimes, Rosie Casals, ITHF Chairman Christopher Clouser, Peachy Kellmeyer, Pam Shriver, Gigi Fernandez, Vic Seixas, Brad Parks, David Hall, Nancy Jeffett. Photo by Kate Whitney Lucey


By Jack Cunniff

(July 18, 2015) NEWPORT, Rhode Island – The International Tennis Hall of Fame inducted three new members on Saturday afternoon, Amelie Mauresmo and David Hall in the Recent Player category and Nancy Jeffett in the Contributor category.


Mauresmo, who could not attend the ceremony due to the impending birth of her first child, was the first Frenchwoman to ever achieve the No. 1 ranking and won two major events in her career, the 2006 Australian Open and 2006 Wimbledon Championships. Her first significant achievement as a professional was in January 1999, reaching her first major final at the Australian Open. The tennis world took notice of her game, a mix of power and grace, and over the next several years Mauresmo added an effective volley and net game to her repertoire. These added dimensions culminated in her most successful year, when she captured two of the four major events in 2006.


In total, Mauresmo won 25 WTA Singles titles, including the year-end WTA Tour Championships in 2005. She also represented France in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, winning a silver medal in Athens 2004, and was a seven-time member of the French Fed Cup team, including the 2003 squad that won the championship.


Mauresmo retired from professional tennis following the 2009 U.S. Open, but has not disappeared from the tennis scene. Today she is the coach of Andy Murray, the No. 3 ranked player, a rare women’s coach on the ATP Tour. She also successfully coached her countrywoman Marion Bartoli to the 2013 Wimbledon title, and since 2012 has been the coach of the French Federation Cup Team.


David Hall of Australia is a former No. 1 ranked wheelchair tennis player. When he was 16, David was involved in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of both legs. Very soon after, he was inspired when he saw a photograph of a wheelchair tennis player. He used tennis as an outlet, and turned a negative into a positive. His incredibly successful wheelchair tennis career includes six Paralympic medals, including a gold medal in Wheelchair Singles in his hometown of Sydney, and 32 singles championships. Hall was introduced by his former coach, Rich Berman.


Nancy Jeffett was introduced by Hall-of-Famer Pam Shriver. In her comments, Shriver highlighted Jeffett’s accomplishments, most notably co-founding the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation with “Little Mo” Connolly. To this day, the MCB Foundation sponsors junior tennis tournaments, and helps develop and support junior players worldwide. Shriver also noted that Jeffett was influential in the decision to host a 1965 Davis Cup tie featuring Arthur Ashe in a Dallas public park, foreshadowing the move of the U.S. Open to a public facility.


The Enshrinement Ceremony also featured the Hall of Fame ring presentation to Billie Jean King, a 1987 Tennis Hall of Fame inductee.


Josh Groban to Highlight Opening Night Ceremony at 2015 U.S. Open

Josh Groban

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 09, 2015 – The USTA today announced that singer, songwriter, and actor Josh Groban will perform at the Opening Night Ceremony for the 2015 US Open in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  The ceremony will be carried live by ESPN 2 on Monday, August 31 as part of the cable network’s comprehensive coverage of the US Open.


Groban, who has entertained fans across the globe with his multiplatinum albums and DVDs (selling more than 30 million worldwide), live performances, and comedic film and television appearances, will perform a selection of songs from his seventh studio album – Stages.  Released in April of 2015, Stages is a collection of some of the greatest musical theater songs.


Groban joins the ranks of great artists who have performed at the US Open over the years, including: Aretha Franklin, Lenny Kravitz, Chris Botti, Gloria Estefan, Ariana Grande, Rob Thomas, and many others.


In addition to the musical performance by Groban, the ceremony will also feature an appearance by tennis legend Billie Jean King who will join USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams on court to welcome the fans to opening night.


The Opening Night National Anthem performer(s) will be announced at a later date.


Groban first broke through in 2001 with his self-titled double-platinum debut, followed by 2003’s multi-platinum Closer, and 2006’s double-platinum Awake. In 2007, he became the best-selling recording artist of the year thanks to sales of Awake and his blockbuster Grammy-nominated Christmas album, Noel —  the best-selling album of 2007. At the end of 2010, Groban released the Rick Rubin-produced, platinum-certified Illuminations. All That Echoes followed in 2013, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, Groban’s first No. 1 debut and third chart-topper. All That Echoes racked up a host of positive reviews from major media outlets, including The New York Times, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and USA Today. His global arena tours routinely sell out, including his 2013 All That Echoes tour, which included 60 shows in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America.


On April 28th, Groban released his seventh studio album, Stages. Recorded with producers Humberto Gatica and Bernie Herms in both Los Angeles and London’s Abbey Road (with a 75-piece orchestra), Stages features songs from Les Misérables (“Bring Him Home”); Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel (“You’ll Never Walk Alone”); Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George (“Finishing the Hat”), Sweeney Todd (“Not While I’m Around”), and Into the Woods (“Children Will Listen”); The Fantasticks (“Try to Remember”); A Chorus Line (“What I Did For Love”); Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera (“All I Ask of You”), The Wizard of Oz (“Over the Rainbow”), and others.


Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe Compete At 2015 Johnny Mac Tennis Project Benefit at SPORTIME Randall’s Island Wednesday, August 26

Rafael Nadal is ousted in the third round by fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in Miami.

Rafael Nadal

NEW YORK, July 8, 2015 – It will be a great night of tennis for a great cause when 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal joins Hall of Famer and fellow former World No. 1 John McEnroe, plus other tennis stars, legends and celebrities, on Wednesday, August 26, for a gala evening to benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. The benefit night will take place at SPORTIME Stadium on Randall’s Island.

In the main event of the evening, the Spanish superstar will compete against another top ATP professional or legend to be announced. The evening will also include pro-celebrity doubles action, featuring Johnny Mac and friends, promising junior players from the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, a lively auction and great hospitality, with all net proceeds to support the efforts of Johnny Mac Tennis Project, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

JMTP provides scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area, as well as introducing the sport to hundreds of new junior players each year in the neighborhoods surrounding Academy locations. JMTP benefit nights in previous years have featured Bjorn Borg (2011), Andre Agassi (2012), Jim Courier (2013) and Novak Djokovic (2014). JMTP and Sportime Clubs, home of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, have already provided over $2.0 million in scholarships and no cost programming to young players in NYC and its surrounding communities. SPORTIME Randall’s Island has been the flagship location of JMTA since 2010.

Rafa has meant so much to tennis and I’m excited that he’s agreed to be a part of this great cause,” said McEnroe. “He is a first-class individual and has proven to be one of the best players of all time. His participation is a perfect continuation of the tradition of this important annual event.”

Nadal, 29, is one of just 10 players to win the Career Grand Slam (nine French Open, two Wimbledon, two US Open, one Australian Open), among his 66 career singles titles. The Mallorca native first reached No. 1 in 2008, returning in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 while finishing in the top three nine times in the past 10 years. His 14 Slam titles tie him for second all-time with Pete Sampras, behind Roger Federer (17).

As ferocious a competitor as tennis has ever produced, steely in his resolve, unwavering in his convictions, McEnroe was a left-hander who played with singular verve and sparkle. A New Yorker with rare talent, his imagination knew no boundaries. McEnroe’s touch on the volley was golden, and his match playing instincts were remarkably sound. He claimed the US Open crown four times and was victorious at Wimbledon three times. He was an American Davis Cup stalwart, and many believe he may be the greatest doubles player of all time.

Tickets start at $75. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.JMTPBenefit.com/rafa.


International Tennis Hall of Fame Set to Re-open with Roger Federer Hologram Exhibit

From the Tennis Hall of Fame – NEWPORT, R.I., May 11, 2015 – After three years of planning and a $3 million renovation, the Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame is set to re-open to the public on May 20, with a ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m.The museum collection has been completely reinterpreted and the galleries have been redesigned to deliver an entirely new, engaging visitor experience. The intent of the new museum is to draw visitors into the content through interactive exhibits and a cohesive narrative of tennis history as told through the lives and careers of the 243 Hall of Famers who built the sport. More than 1,900 artifacts of tennis history are displayed throughout the exhibit galleries, ranging from Rod Laver’s first Wimbledon trophy to the golden shoes that Serena Williams wore in her first French Open victory.

Multimedia technology is integral to the new museum experience, with a highlight being a hologram of Roger Federer talking about why he loves tennis. It is the first use of holographic technology in a sports museum in the United States.


Sneak Peak! The Roger Federer Experience


“Tennis history dates back to the 12th century and it evolves with tournaments around the world weekly. There have been extraordinary people and moments throughout the sport’s history – Arthur Ashe’s 1968 US Open victory, Billie Jean King’s Battle of the Sexes triumph, Martina and Chrissie’s rivalry and friendship, the unstoppable Australian Davis Cup teams, and so much more. This new museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame will share the stories of the sport’s legends with the world in a really exciting way, and it will hopefully serve as an inspiration for the next generation of tennis greats and fans,” said Todd Martin, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.


In creating the new museum, the Hall of Fame’s collection of more than 25,000 artifacts, and hundreds of thousands of images, videos, and publications was completely reinterpreted. The museum is designed to appeal to dedicated tennis fans and casual visitors alike, which is achieved through engaging storytelling in the museum narrative and the use of an array of objects including art, fashion, and items of historical relevance beyond the tennis courts.

“Our goal is for visitors to leave the museum feeling educated about and inspired by the rich history of tennis,” said Douglas Stark, museum director. “We designed the exhibits in a way that people could participate in the learning process together – a touch table in which you can ‘serve’ tennis history questions back and forth, video walls in which you can select match highlights and watch together, artifacts from 60 years ago and artifacts from last season so as to appeal to a span of generations, among other aspects. The new museum will provide visitors with a memorable experience in which they will learn about the history of tennis, and its impact on and off the courts.”


The new museum was funded through the Match Point Capital Campaign, which was co-chaired by Edgar Woolard and Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The campaign, which was the Hall of Fame’s first in 14 years, has raised $14.8 million of the $15 million goal. The museum project is a highlight of the campaign, which will also result in a new indoor tennis facility, new office and retail space, new grandstands in Bill Talbert Center Court, and other improvements to the Hall of Fame property, all of which are slated to open in 2015-2016.


“The International Tennis Hall of Fame is committed to serving the sport of tennis by preserving and promoting its great history, and the new museum is an extraordinary representation of this,” commented Clouser. “We are grateful to the donors who share in our passion for tennis and supported the capital campaign to make this world-class museum a reality. It would not have been possible without the support of so many who have helped us build the museum content – Roger Federer’s time on the hologram, Hall of Famers who donated artifacts, the ATP, WTA, ITF, the Grand Slams, and our incredibly hard-working staff and the talented museum development vendors. We are set to deliver a tremendous museum experience and we are appreciative to all who have made this happen.”


Rolex, a long time supporter of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and a highly engaged sponsor in tennis worldwide, has committed to a new, multi-year partnership with the museum.

The Roger Federer Experience

A highlight of the new museum will be a holographic theatre in which visitors feel as though they are in the room with Roger Federer, one of the sport’s all-time greatest champions. When visitors walk into the theatre, the hologram of Federer welcomes visitors and begins a dynamic monologue about a topic that museum visitors and Federer have in common – a love of tennis. Federer then takes the visitor through his top-10 list of the reasons why he loves the sport, ranging from the athletic beauty of tennis to the challenge of it being an individual sport, all while showcasing a few of his signature shots.

“It was an honor to be asked to be the hologram at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and I was quite happy to take on the project,” commented Federer. “I’ve always had an interest in the history of our sport and I believe we’ve been fortunate to be able to learn from and build on that history. The Hall of Fame does a tremendous job of preserving our sport’s history and celebrating it with the world. I’m glad to be able to support those efforts by helping to create a fun experience in their museum.”

An Interactive Museum Experience

Interactive, educational experiences abound throughout the new museum.


Tennis aficionados can test their knowledge of the sport on a five-foot touch table at which they can stand at either end and “serve ” tennis history questions back and forth to each other.


The “Call the Match” exhibit offers visitors the chance to record themselves taking on the role of broadcast luminaries like Cliff Drysdale, John Barrett, and Mary Carillo.


A large, rotating globe highlights the worldwide impact of the sport. At the globe, visitors can select a nation to learn more about tennis tournaments taking place there in any given week, and about the players and tournaments from that nation.


Interactive video walls throughout the museum offer fans an opportunity to re-live classic tennis moments through video highlights of WTA, ATP, and Grand Slam tournament matches.
The Galleries
The new museum tells the story of tennis history from its origins through present-day. Objects throughout the narrative are clearly linked to the Hall of Famers, personalizing their stories within the sport’s history.
The museum is divided into three chronological areas: The Birth of Tennis (1874 – 1918);  The Popular Game (1918 – 1968); and  The Open Era (1968 – Present). 
Themes of focus include the sport’s evolution from medieval monasteries to lawn tennis, the development of early international tournaments and early pro tours, infusion of tennis in pop culture and the rise of celebrity among athletes, the impact of technology on the sport in terms of equipment and media coverage, the dawn of the Open Era ,and the growth of the WTA and ATP tours. The museum narrative also examines the sport’s forays into social matters, including politics, diversity, and the rise of women’s game.
 The Grand Slam Gallery shares detail on the sport’s four majors, their champions, and their most iconic moments. The Global Tennis Community Gallery examines the sport’s broad global impact, with focus on the Olympic Games, Fed Cup and Davis Cup, and Wheelchair Tennis. The interactive globe is a centerpiece of this gallery.
In addition to the three chronological areas, there are two galleries specifically dedicated to the Hall of Famers. The Woolard Family Enshrinement Gallery pays tribute to all 243 Hall of Famers through interactive kiosks featuring photos, videos, and records. The Rosalind P. Walter Tribute Gallery to the Hall of Famers will be a multimedia gallery dedicated to the current year’s class of inductees.
Additional detail on the exhibits and the artifacts within each is highlighted on the Hall of Fame’s website, tennisfame.com. A new Hall of Fame website will be launched later this month.
The Newport Casino’s architecture revealedA primary goal of the museum renovation was to better showcase the Newport Casino, the National Historic Landmark buildings and grounds in which the Hall of Fame is located. Through the renovation, three magnificent fireplaces that had been covered by temporary walls for 25 yeas have been revealed. Additionally, original furnishings from the building, which was built in 1880, are exhibited. The exhibits and display cases in the new museum are positioned within the original design of the building to showcase the architecture as part of the museum experience.

Tennis History Evolves Daily
Tennis records have the potential to be set and broken with weekly tournaments around the world, and future Hall of Famers are constantly adding to their resumes.
As such, the new museum goes beyond focusing on the sport’s past, but also serves as a resource to showcase the sport today and how it is constantly evolving.  The new museum will feature a number of items from current and recently retired player’s careers. Grand Slam apparel worn by Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, and Jelena Jankovic is showcased in the museum, as are the shoes worn by Andy Roddick in his last match, among many other recently acquired items.
The Art of Tennis

From Maria Bueno’s grace on court to Roger Federer’s elegant shot making, it’s not uncommon for tennis to be commended for its beautiful, art-like nature. As such, the sport has served as an inspiration for a variety of mediums, and a range of tennis-inspired art is shown throughout the new museum.


A 1538 Renaissance painting that is believed to be the earliest known painting of the sport is a highlight. Visitors will also see an original Andy Warhol portrait of Chris Evert, one of an exclusive series of 10 sport superstars of the 1970s. Prints created by celebrated American painter George Bellows are exhibited as well. A bronze resin sculpture of Steffi Graf capturing her in motion and forever memorializing her distinctive and lethal inside-out forehand is also a highlight of the art collection.


Stained glass featuring tennis players, vintage advertising, varied colorful prints, and a display of more than 100 vintage tennis ball cans also showcase the sport in an artistic means.


Project Team

A large team of exhibit designers, media producers, and contractors have been working on the museum renovation at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Development of the museum experience was lead by Douglas Stark, museum director. Additionally, a 12-person Museum Committee was integral to the project. The committee was chaired by Katherine Burton Jones and Jefferson T. Barnes served as vice-chair.Exhibit Design: HealyKohler Design, Takoma Park, Maryland

Exhibit Fabrication and Case Work: 1220 Exhibits, Nashville, Tennessee

Media Production, including holographic theater: Cortina Productions, McLean, Virginia

General Contractor: Behan Bros., Inc., Middletown, Rhode Island

Opening the Doors!
The museum will officially re-open on Wednesday, May 20 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m.
Beginning May 21, the Hall of Fame will return to its normal hours, open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The museum will stay open until 6 p.m. in July and August.
As part of the Hall of Fame’s commitment to inspiring and engaging children with tennis, admission to visit the museum is free of charge for children ages 16 & Under. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for students, senior, and military.
The museum experience is self-guided, or visitors may opt to purchase an audio tour for $3. The audio tour is available in multiple languages, and is narrated by Hall of Famers, adding a fun twist to the visitor experience. In June, July, and August, guided tours will be offered daily at 11 am and 2 pm.