November 29, 2015

On Court 17 Youth is Served and Gets Served On Day 2 of the US Open Qualies


Setfan Kozlov, USTA International Spring Championships, Carson, CA

Setfan Kozlov, USTA International Spring Championships, Carson, CA

(August 20, 2014) Court 17, played host to a combination of veterans, college players and juniors on day two of the US Open qualifying tournament on Wednesday.

The day led off with a three-set women’s battle between former world No. 29, Poland’s Urszula Radwanska and last year’s Australian and US Open junior champion, Ana Konjuh of Croatia.

The younger sister of Agniezska Radwanska rocketed to a 6-1 first set, but the 16-year old Konjuh rebounded in the second set which consisted of mostly service breaks between to the two women.

The match took a turn the youngster’s way when the Croatian jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start off the third set. Unforced errors, which Konjuh fell victim to throughout the match crept back into her game and Radwanska won six out of the next seven games to claim the set and the match 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Konjuh made 52 unforced errors in the match.

Second match on the fourth largest show court in Flushing Meadow saw 16-year-old junior Stefan Kozlov face off against former University of Virginia player Mitchell Frank. After a slow beginning from the two-time junior Grand Slam finalist, who lost the opening set 6-3, the match turned. Koslov took the next set 6-0. Frank had a medical time out for a trainer to work on his back. His movement appeared hampered and Koslov finished off his opponent by claiming the third set 6-2.

The third match on Court 17 saw former US Open quarterfinalist from 2009 and Mixed doubles champion from 2011, American Melanie Oudin play Sesil Karatantcheva, born in Bulgaria, but now representing Kazakhstan. The 22-year-old Oudin needed just 70 minutes to stop the 25-year-old, breaking her serve five times.

To round-up the evening, American junior 16-year-old Francis Tiafoe fell to No. 11 seed Tatsuma Ito in a two hour and 22 minute contest 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3.

Related article:

A Q & A with No. 1 US Junior Tennis Player Stefan Kozlov


Kvitova, Wozniacki, Bouchard and Halep “Meet the Press” in New Haven for All-Access Hour at Connecticut Open (Podcast)


(August 17, 2014) NEW HAVEN – Top seeds for the Connecticut Open – Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova,  Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Woznacki met the media on Sunday.

Petra Kvitova3

Petra Kvitova – The 2012 winner of the New Haven event is just off her second title at Wimbledon back in early July. She said the the second win at the All England Club is even more special.


Caroline Wozniacki – A four -time champion at New Haven, the Dane says she’s very happy with her current form on the court and is looking forward to running the New York Marathon in the fall to raise money for charity.



Eugenie Bouchard – The world No. 8 and recent Wimbledon finalist evaluated her season so far and spoke about what separates the Top 50 players is the mental side of the game.



Simona Halep – Last year’s champion, the top seed and world No. 2 discussed her rise over the past two years and that she likes to eat chocolate.

(Note – due to the news conferences being held outside, there is background noise from the wind and crowd sounds in the recordings.)




Quotes of the week from the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club


Quotes of the week from the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club


By Wendy M. Grossman


(June 14, 2014) LONDON – Feliciano Lopez, asked if he regrets learning to play the very unSpanish game of serve and volley: “God gave me this serve when I was really young, so I have to take advantage of it.”


Radek Stepanek, asked how he still finds motivation to play: “I know what’s behind the question.”


Stanislas Wawrinka, asked how much force it takes to break a racquet in half, as he did during his straight-sets semifinal loss to Grigor Dimitrov: “I don’t know. You should try.”


Marinko Matosevic, asked about comments he made earlier in the week to the effect that he’d never have a female coach because he doesn’t think highly of women’s tennis, comments Sam Stosur called “thick-headed”: “Women are a big inspiration to me. I didn’t mean it to be sexist at all.”


Andy Murray, asked whether he thought there might be advantages to having a woman as a coach: “Well, to be honest, I don’t know because not every woman is the same.”


Ernests Gulbis, asked how he celebrated reaching the semi-finals at the French Open: “I smoked a cigar with my friends outside in Jurmala…Then everybody went to Kazanow and we had just one special room and we played Blackjack.


Grigor Dimitrov, asked if the shirt he was wearing was an England (football supporter) shirt: “You wish.”


Andy Murray, asked if he finds peace and quiet pushing a lawnmower: “Actually, I have never done it in my life… The lawn wouldn’t look great if I tried it.”


Former Nationally Top Ranked Junior and Collegiate Tennis Player and World Ranked Player who lived life in the closet as a Gay athlete and Coach Announces Book and Foundation

By Karen Pestaina

(August 29, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – Former top US Junior, collegiate player and ATP World Tour player Bobby Blair who lived in the closest as a gay athlete announced his upcoming book “Hiding Inside the Baseline,” in addition to hi LBGT foundation at the Roger Smith Hotel on Thursday morning.


In attendance to speak and support Blair were his former coach Nick Bollettieri, LZ Granderson of ESPN, co-author of his book – Barry Buss and friend and former tennis academy classmate Carling Bassett-Seguso and Luke Jensen.


Blair was an American professional tennis player in the 80s and ranked in the top five tennis players in the United States Nationally in the Boys 18 and under, was a member of the 1983 US Junior Davis Cup Team reaching the finals of The USTA Boys 18 and under National Clay Courts Championships in the summer of 1983 where he lost a three-set marathon match to future top 10 player in the world Aaron Krickstein.


Blair was one of the first top-ranked players who were developed at the  Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.  Blair was an All American at the University of Arkansas in 1986 and was ranked among the top 5 Division One singles players in the United States, a member of the 1986 US Junior Davis Cup College Team and participated in Russia as a member of the American team in the US Goodwill Games.


Blair founded the US Rookie Professional Tennis Team in 1988. In 1990, Blair was hired to serve as the head coach for Billie Jean King for the World Team Tennis Franchise Wellington Aces for the 1990 & 1991 season. In 1992, Blair was hired as head coach and general manager of the World Team Tennis Franchise Tampa Bay Action. In 1992 Blair started his own Tennis Academy with a World Tennis Magazine “collectors edition” feature story “Will Bobby Blair Be The Next Nick Bollettieri?”  Blair was hired in 1996 as a USTA National Coach.

Listen to the news conference below:


“I Tried My Best,” Said Venus Williams After Loss to Puchkova in Florianópolis

Venus Williams loss in Brazil

Venus Williams photo by Cristiano Andujar/Foto Arena

By Barbara Galiza

(March 1, 2013) Venus Williams looked apathetic in her semifinal loss to Olga Puchkova in Florianópolis, but made no excuses. The American, normally an ace machine, was hitting serves at around 62 mph and, during a few points, seemed close to collapse. The Russian won in 2 hours and 31 minutes, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 and made her first final since 2006.

“Olga played a good match, from start to the end. I did the best I could on the court today, she just played better. It was very close. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the final but hopefully I will return again next year”, said the former number one. “My next tournament is Miami so I’ll go home, rest a little, and get ready to play there.”

Puchkova, all smiles in her post-match news conference, shared a curious story about her and Venus. In the final, the Russian-born player, that trains in California, faces Monica Niculescu.

“When Venus was 18 or 19, and I was about seven, they were throwing this huge campaign for her in Florida and my dad took me there. So I have this picture with her, hugging me, and I still have the ball she autographed for me. It’s pretty amazing, I didn’t know I was ever going to play her. Actually, I wanted to find the picture and ask her to sign it. How crazy would that be?”

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro and is covering the WTA tennis tournament in  Florianópolis, Brazil as media in  for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her updates on @TennisNewsTPN.


Venus Williams March 1 2013 news conference Brazil Cup

Florianopolis, Brazil

February 24-March 2, 2013

Results – Friday, March 1, 2013
Singles – Semifinals
Olga Puchkova (RUS) d. (1) Venus Williams (USA) 46 64 75
Monica Niculescu (ROU) d. (7) Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 60 62

Doubles – Final
(1) Medina Garrigues/Shvedova (ESP/KAZ) d. Keothavong/Savinykh (GBR/RUS) 60 64

Order Of Play – Saturday, March 2, 2013
Centre Court (from 20.00hrs)
1. Singles Final: Olga Puchkova vs. Monica Niculescu


On the Red Carpet with Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten at the Legends Ball


Gustavo Kuerten photo by Jennifer Pottheiser

By Karen Pestaina

NEW YORK, NY (September 7, 2012) – Tennis Panorama News caught up with recent inductee to the International Tennis Hall of Fame Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten at the Legends Ball held during the US Open at Cipriani’s on East 42nd Street.

Kuerten spoke about what it means to him to be in the Hall of Fame and his involvement in his foundation.

Gustavo Kuerten talks to Tennis Panorama News



From the International Tennis Hall of Fame website:

One of Brazil’s most beloved and successful athletes, Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten, received the highest honor in the sport of tennis– induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Guga was the world’s No. 1 player for 43 non-consecutive weeks, and he is a three-time major tournament champion, having captured French Open titles in 1997, 2000, and 2001. Gustavo Kuerten’s induction was announced in a special presentation in São Paulo at the offices of Banco do Brasil, a long-time sponsor of the tennis champion.

With his beaming smile, engaging personality, and high energy game, the lively atmosphere that Guga brought to tennis stadiums around the world was nothing short of extraordinary.  Universally adored by both fans and peers, the Brazilian star is quick to state that the feeling is mutual, and that this support was integral to his success.  

Often referred to as “King of the Clay Courts”, although it was not a final, Guga often cites his fourth round French Open match in 2000 as one of the most memorable and treasured of his career. After saving three match points for the win, Guga first etched his iconic heart in the clay court, in an expression of love for his fans.

In 1997, Guga was ranked world No. 66 and had just eight ATP World Tour level wins to his name when he entered Roland Garros. While no one may have seen Guga coming that year, when he lifted the champion’s trophy and thanked the fans with his giant smile, it was clear that a star had arrived.  In the years that followed, Guga became one of the most dominant clay court players of his time. He captured the French Open title again in 2000 and 2001, and won a total of 20 singles titles and 8 doubles titles.

Guga started playing tennis when he was six years old, and his family was always very much part of his career. His father, a talented player himself, first taught Guga the game, before tragically passing away when Guga was just eight years old. Guga’s mother supported her son’s career emphatically. His older brother, Raphael, served as his business manager. His younger brother, Guilherme, who had cerebral palsy, was undoubtedly one of his biggest fans. Guga presented Guilherme every one of his tournament trophies, including the coveted Roland Garros trophies.

In 2000, for the first time in history, the No. 1 year-end position came down to the final match of season. Guga defeated superstar Andre Agassi in the match, breaking an eight-year reign of No. 1 finishes by Americans. It was the first time that a South American had ever been ranked world No. 1, a position Guga held for 43 weeks over his career. 

That same year, Guga embarked on another important venture, to which he is still dedicated today. Inspired by his late brother, Guilherme, he opened the Institute Guga Kuerten to help disabled people. The institute is dedicated to providing developmental opportunities, sports, and education, as well as to promoting social inclusion throughout the nation. The institute is located in Guga’s hometown of Florianopolis, Brazil, and since its inception, it has assisted more than 40,000 people in over 168 Brazilian cities. Guga was awarded the ATP World Tour’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2003, and in 2010, he was honored with the Philippe Chatrier Award by the International Tennis Federation. Currently, he works in order to win a new challenge: to support the social activities developed by Institute Guga Kuerten.

A national hero to Brazilians,  champion beloved by tennis fans worldwide, three-time winner at Roland Garros,  world No. 1, and now, a Tennis Hall of Famer, Guga Kuerten.

Grand Slam Record

French Open

Career Achievements


Sharapova Launches Sugarpova Candy at Henri Bendel in New York City

NEW YORK – Maria Sharapova – tennis player, designer and endorser of many products is now a candy entrepreneur. On Monday on Fifth Avenue the four-time major winner and current World No. 3 launched her own candy line called “Sugarpova.” It features 12 different types of treats for sweets consumers which range from gummies and licorice to tennis ball shaped gumballs.
Sharapova spoke about why she went into candy-making business in the first place. “I’ve always had a sweet-tooth, she explained. “My earliest memory was being a kid asking my parents after practice if I could have a lollipop, the tough-to-find European lollipops. If you have a great week of practice you can get it.” Sharapova told herself. “That’s kind of where it started.”
“I’m a big “foodie” with a big sweet-tooth,” she said. Sharapova said that she’s always looking for a treat that you can have after a good workout and trying to be healthy.
“So I wanted to own my own business for awhile and I’ve been part of many great collaborations and collections,” Sharapova added. “But I felt it was really time tostart things on my own a little bit – be involved make the final decisions. “it’s been 18 months sinceit all started. To see it at Henri Bendel’s is incredible.”
Sharapova’s favorite of her candy wares is named “quirky” – a licorice with marshmallow inside with a rainbow on the outside. The Russian is also reponsible for the concept and development of the products as well. “I went to the factory Spain and made sure that they, you know when things are getting mass produced it can lose it’s quality a little bit. From the beginning I wanted it to be a premium candy line from the packaging to the quality of the candies, that was very important to me.” For example Sharapova wanted the “tennis gum balls” to look exactly like tennis balls. “All those little things really matter,” Sharapova noted.
Sharapova is set to play the US Open  where she’ll be the third seed in the Women’s singles draw. The tournament begins next week.


Listen to the short interview she did with Tennis Panorama.

Maria Sharapova at Sugarpova Launch


Nicole Gibbs on Proposed NCAA changes “I think it would be a huge problem for college tennis”

Nicole Gibbs photo courtesy of the WTA and Getty Images

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – Reigning NCAA singles and doubles champion, Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs advanced to the finals of qualifying at the New Haven Open on Saturday with a 6-3, 6–3 win over Lourdes Dominguez Lino.

Gibbs is upset about the NCAA’s recent proposals for Division I college tennis which include 10-point tiebreaks to be played in place of a third set, doubles matches shortened to a six game set, no warm ups with opponents before singles matches, breaks between doubles matches being reduced from 10 minutes to five minutes and changeover breaks being shrunk from 90 seconds to 60 seconds.

“I’m incredibly disappointed to hear that that’s even it is a proposal to be honest,” Gibbs told Tennis Panorama News and the Hartford Courant,  “and I’m kind of praying along with the rest of my fellow college tennis players that that  doesn’t come to pass.

“I think we have a lot of support going up against that proposal and I know, I’ve signed the petition and a lot of other players have signed a petition online to you know end the proposed changes…and  you know everyone from players to coaches are really involved and very serious about making sure those things don’t happen because I think it would be a huge problem for college tennis.”

Gibbs first learned about the proposed changes from a tweet from Junior and College tennis journalist Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.

This is all with the intent to shorten the matches, allegedly increase viewership which I really don’t see happening given that tennis is a very niche sport,” Gibbs added.

“ The people that come to our matches are people who are going to be there regardless of what the format is. Perhaps we could get a few more fans based on a shorter match link but I think more importantly we’re going to lose a huge fan base, a huge support base for college tennis because it won’t be legitimate grounds for development anymore.

Asked if more college players will turn pro if the proposals take place, Gibbs said: “Absolutely! I mean If I had been looking to four-years of 10-point tiebreaks in the third set, I don’t think I would have gone to college in the first place.”

“There are a lot of players really on the bubble about whether to go college to use those years to develop or to go straight on the tour because there’s an argument that college isn’t a good enough development program as is. And this is especially frustrating for players like me and specifically Mallory Burdette my teammate who have been out here on the tour all summer trying to prove to people that you know, this is a legitimate grounds for development and encouraging people to get their education so they have you know, something to fall back on after their tennis careers. We think that’s really important and that what’s we’re representing and I think the NCAA proposal would be a huge set back to that.”

Gibbs, broken when serving for the match admitted to be nervous in closing the match. “I definitely got a little tight at the end there, started thinking about the broader scope of what it means to beat a top-100 player,” Gibbs said. “She played tough points and made me earn it, so credit to her on that front, but I was very tight.

Gibbs goes for a spot in the main draw on Sunday when she takes on Garbiñe Muguruza.

Karen Pestaina is covering the New Haven Open this weekend for Tennis Panorama News. follow her updates on @TennisNewsTPN.

Nicole Gibbs talks about NCAA proposed changes at  New Haven Open – 08182012

At the 3:50 mark to the 6:30 mark, Gibbs discusses the NCAA.


Podcast – Meet the Pliskovas of the Philadephia Freedoms

RANDALL’S ISLAND, New York, NY – In World Team Tennis on Friday night the the NY Sportimes defeated the Philadelphia Freedoms 22-16. Among the players on the Freedoms’ roster are twins out of the Czech Republic – right-handed Karolina and left-handed Kristyna Pliskova.

The 20-year-old Pliskovas are  currently ranked 107 (Karolina) and 125 (Kristyna) and  are playing their first season of World TeamTennis.

The sisters paired up in women’s doubles to stop  Ashley Harkleroad and Martina Hingis of the Sportimes 5-2, while Kristyna lost to Martina Hingis in singles 5-3 and Karolina paired with Jordan Kerr to fall 5-3 in the mixed doubles.

The sisters took time out to talk about their respective goals and their favorite cities.

Pliskova twins and WTT July 13, 2012


Serena Williams Says No to Blue Clay and Talks Olympic Mixed Doubles at Product Launch

NEW YORK, NY (April 27, 2012) – Serena Williams continued her busy week in New York City at the Walgreens store in Times Square by launching Sleep Sheets® – a product which sells itself as a natural sleep aid.  It’s part of a new venture with basketball players LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Chris Paul and recording artist Pitbull.

Here is a podcast of Tennis Panorama’s interview with the 13-time major champion. She discussed the new product she’s launching, her reaction to Madrid’s blue clay courts and the battle amongst American male players vying for her to pair with them for the mixed doubles competition at the London the Olympic Games.

Serena Williams interview Podcast with Tennis Panorama at Walgreens in Times Square 4-27-12

As part of the promotion for the product, instant-win golden tickets will be randomly inserted into Sleep Sheets® packages. Find one of the tickets and someone will win an once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet Serena Williams. For more information