2014/04/21

College Tennis Comes to New York City for USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships

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(November 4, 2013) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The USTA and Intercollegiate Tennis Association today announced that defending women’s singles champion Robin Anderson of UCLA and top-ranked Mikelis Libietis of Tennessee are among the nation’s best college players set to compete in the annual USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships November 7-10 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

 

Anderson, a junior ranked No. 2 in the ITA’s preseason singles rankings, will defend her title in a familiar setting. A Matawan, N.J., native, Anderson reached the quarterfinals of the US Open Junior Championship in 2010 and once trained at the home of the US Open, at the USTA Training Center – East. North Carolina freshman Jamie Loeb, of Ossining, N.Y., a product of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy on Randalls Island, beat Anderson in this year’s Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championship and will lead a field of women’s challengers that also includes No. 1-ranked Sabrina Santamaria of USC, No. 3 Lauren Herring of Georgia, 2013 NCAA semifinalist Breaunna Addison of Texas and Duke’s Beatrice Capra, who reached the third round of the 2010 US Open, where she played Maria Sharapova.

 

The men’s field also includes 6-foot-7 and No. 3-ranked Peter Kobelt of Ohio State, No. 6 Marcos Giron of UCLA, whose No. 554 ATP World Tour ranking leads the field, No. 7 Nik Scholtz of Mississippi and No. 8 Ray Sarmiento, of USC.

 

In addition to Anderson and Loeb, a number of NIIC participants are also from the New York Tri-State area, including Virginia’s Julia Elbaba (Oyster Bay, N.Y.), a sophomore ranked No. 9 in women’s singles, her teammate, freshman Rachel Pierson (Princeton, N.J.) and Columbia freshman Tina Jiang (Bridgewater, N.J.).

 

The USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships features a 32-player singles field and 20-team doubles field for men and women, including: men’s and women’s champions from each of the 12 Division I USTA/ITA Regional Championships, the men’s and women’s USTA/ITA National Small College Super Bowl champion, the eight quarterfinalists of the ITA Men’s All-American Championships, the four semifinalists from the Riviera/ITA Women’s All-American Championships and the consolation winners from both, as well as at-large and wild card selections made by the ITA and USTA. Additionally, Columbia University, which is serving as the host school for the third consecutive year, receives a wild card entry into each draw. In total, 123 players from 46 schools will compete in New York in singles or doubles.

 

The USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships was inaugurated in 1978 for the men and 1984 for the women. Past champions and finalists include John Isner (Georgia), Bob and Mike Bryan (Stanford), James Blake (Harvard), Lisa Raymond (Florida), Steve Johnson (Southern California), Rhyne Williams (Tennessee), Irina Falconi (Georgia Tech), Maria Sanchez (Southern California) and Jarmere Jenkins (Virginia).

 

Fans can follow the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships and participate in a daily live chat at http://www.usta.com/College-Tennis/2013_national_indoors/.

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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:

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USTA Strikes Deal with ATP and WTA for US Open

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Press Release from the USTA – Flushing, N.Y., March 20, 2013 – The USTA today announced that in keeping with its mission to grow the sport of tennis, it has reached agreement with the ATP and WTA that ensures the vitality and competitiveness of the US Open as a world class, premier event for many years to come.

 

Presently, the USTA is in the midst of several strategic initiatives, all with a common goal of growing tennis at every level in the United States, from youth to seniors, and from those just starting out in the sport to professionals at the highest level of the game. For the US Open and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center the goal is twofold: to transform the National Tennis Center over the next several years into the most modern and fan- and player-friendly tennis center in the world and to continue to attract the world’s best tennis players. In line with this goal, the USTA has reached a five year agreement with the ATP and WTA on US Open prize money.

 

As part of this long-term vision, the USTA will provide $50 million in US Open prize money by 2017. Additionally, the USTA will increase base prize money for the 2013 US Open by an additional $4.1 million above the previously announced increase of four million dollars. The original announcement was made in December 2012. Base prize money for the 2013 US Open will now total more than $33.6 million, a more than $8.1 million increase over the $25.5 million available to players at the 2012 US Open.

 

Also, beginning in 2015 the US Open will conclude on the second Sunday of the two-week event with the men’s singles championship. To allow for a day of rest for the finalists, the men’s singles semifinals will be played on Friday. The women’s singles championship will be played on Saturday.

 

“The USTA has a long-term vision in place to ensure that tennis continues to thrive in the United States. This vision encompasses every level of the sport, from energizing existing fans, to attracting new players, to ensuring the US Open remains one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events,” said David Haggerty, USTA Chairman, CEO and President. “With this unprecedented commitment to long-term prize money and recognition of the value that players bring to the sport, we will gain stability for the sport so that we can focus our energy on growing the game and ensuring tennis’ vitality in the U.S. for years to come.”

 

“We welcome the commitment the USTA has made concerning player prize money at the US Open through 2017,” said Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “These increases are the largest in the history of the sport, representing a significant step forward in truly recognizing the input the players have in the success of the US Open. We also welcome the decision from the USTA to adopt a schedule with the men’s semifinals completed by Friday and the final on Sunday, from 2015 onwards.”

 

“The ATP and its players, led by ATP Player Council President Roger Federer, have been encouraged by the recent co-operative approach taken by the USTA in listening to player concerns on these matters, and are pleased to have reached this long term understanding through 2017. We appreciate the productive manner in which the USTA, as well as Tennis Australia relating to the Australian Open, have engaged with the ATP and its players over the past 12 months. We remain committed to ongoing discussions with other Grand Slam tournaments in this regard.”

 

“We applaud the USTA’s long-term commitment to increased and fair compensation for our athletes,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman & CEO. “For 40 years the USTA has been a leader for equality and for women’s tennis, and today’s announcement is a testament to their continued, bold vision for the sport. On behalf of all the WTA and its players, I thank the USTA for its strong record of progressive leadership and support.”

 

“This excellent outcome for the sport of tennis wouldn’t have been possible without the open-mindedness and fairness of USTA President Dave Haggerty and the USTA staff,” said Roger Federer, 17-time Grand Slam champion and President of the ATP Player Council. “They approached our concerns with a true spirit of partnership, and as President of the ATP Player Council I am personally grateful for their support. Everyone I have spoken with is excited about the increases in prize money, as well as the agreement to change the schedule for 2015 and beyond. The US Open is very special, and we all look forward to great competition at Flushing Meadows later this year, and in the years yet to come.”

 

The USTA will announce the exact round-by-round distribution of the total prize money increase for the 2013 US Open this summer. Further year-by-year prize money increases are expected to be announced annually prior to that year’s US Open. This year’s US Open is scheduled for August 26 through September 9, with the US Open Qualifying Tournament beginning on August 20.

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Victoria Azarenka: “I got a bigger ball”

Red Bull chronicled Azarenka’s weekend in NYC, which included taking on Tim “Timbo” Gonzalez, the #1 wall ball player in the world and the US national champion, in a match on NYC’s popular hand ball courts. Before beginning play, Gonzalez and Azarenka whipped out their respective balls to compare sizes. Azarenka noted that her ball was bigger than the bouncy, rubber version used in American-style handball.

While the Belarus-born Azarenka played with her trusted racket, Gonzalez relied on his bare hands in a competitive back-and-forth match. In the end, “Timbo” slipped by Azarenka – with her already looking forward to a re-match down the road. New York has been a hotbed for bare-hand wall ball since the 1930s. Thousands of one-wall courts, both indoor and outdoor, have been built throughout the city.

After her on-court adventures, Azarenka slipped into more fashionable attire for a fun photo shoot, which included dancing and jumping on the bed inside The Standard Hotel.

Since winning the Australian Open last month, the 23-year old Azarenka has also won the Qatar Total Open, beating Serena Williams in three sets. Azarenka is currently playing in the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. She is the defending 2-time champ of the Australian Open.

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Isner and Haas Reach Delray Beach Semifinals

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RESULTS – FRIDAY, 1 MARCH, 2013

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] J Isner (USA) d [6] K Anderson (RSA) 62 76(1)
[2] T Haas (GER) d I Dodig (CRO) 76(6) 26 61
E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [LL] R Berankis (LTU) 64 63
[Q] E Gulbis (LAT) d [Q] D Munoz-De La Nava (ESP) 61 64

Doubles – Quarter-finals
[1] M Mirnyi (BLR) / H Tecau (ROU) d X Malisse (BEL) / F Moser (GER) 60 64
[4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / R Klaasen (RSA) d [PR] J Levinsky (CZE) / Y Lu (TPE) 75 61
[WC] J Blake (USA) / J Sock (USA) d [Alt] R Berankis (LTU) / E Donskoy (RUS) 62 61
D Brown (GER) / C Kas (GER) d A Begemann (GER) / M Emmrich (GER) 64 36 10-5

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 2 MARCH, 2013

STADIUM start 1:00 pm
[1] M Mirnyi (BLR) / H Tecau (ROU) vs [4] J Brunstrom (SWE) / R Klaasen (RSA)

Not Before 3:00 PM
[Q] E Gulbis (LAT) vs [2] T Haas (GER)

Starting at 6:30 PM
[WC] J Blake (USA) / J Sock (USA) vs D Brown (GER) / C Kas (GER)

Not Before 8:30 PM
[1] J Isner (USA) vs E Roger-Vasselin (FRA)

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“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

WTA BRASIL TENNIS CUP
Florianopolis, Brazil

February 24-March 2, 2013
$235,000/International
Hard/Outdoors

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

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Tennis News Net Notes for October 10, 2012

Tennis News Net Notes for October 10, 2012

Tennis News Net Notes for October 10, 2012

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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

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Serena Williams, Azarenka, Del Potro Celebrate Next Year’s BNP Paribas Showdown

New York, NY – On Wednesday the sixth annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden was announced. The event which is scheduled for Monday, March 4, 2013 will feature World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, facing off against Serena Williams. Following the ladies will be Juan Martin del Potro, versus Rafael Nadal.

Friday early evening Azarenka, Williams and Del Potro met a select group of media at a small party to celebrate the Showdown.

Tennis Panorama News asked Del Potro about playing in the “World’s most famous arena.”

“I’m very proud to be part of this big, big show with big players, Rafa also playing, said the 2009 US Open winner. “It’s nice, I will enjoy it.”

Azarenka also spoke to Tennis Panorama on playing for the first time in Madison Square Garden: “I’m really excited to be part of this event and playing against Serena I think will be a great show. I always have been watching it on TV, so it’s definitely a great honor to be a part of and to play in Madison Square Garden, you know it’s extra special. I’ve never been here so, I’m really, really excited as well.

Rafael Nadal out of the US Open with a knee injury, was unable to attend.

Azarenka is the top women’s seed at the US Open which begins on August 27, with Williams at No. 4. Del Potro comes in to the tournament as the No. 7 seed.

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

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On the Green Carpet – Bryan Brothers, Serena Williams attend Taste of Tennis

NEW YORK, NY (August 23, 2012) – On Thursday at the W Hotel on 49th and Lexington, tennis players and chef walked the “green” carpet to participate in the 13th annual Taste of Tennis, sponsored by BNP Paribas. The evening raised funds to benefit the New York Junior Tennis League.

The Bryan Brothers and “Just Desserts” host and “Top Chef” judge host Gail Simmons played hosts for the event.

First Mike Bryan, then Bob Bryan spoke to Tennis Panorama about their careers, Bob’s baby Micaela and cooking at the event.

Mike Bryan Bob Bryan on TOT Green Carpet

 

Janko Tipsarevic spoke to Tennis Panorama about how these type of events help to promote the players and the sport of tennis.

Janko Tipsarevic at Taste of Tennis

All photos provided  and used with permission by Taste of Tennis and Getty Images

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

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