2014/08/01

Anne Keothavong to Retire From Tennis

 

Anne Keothavong photo © Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

Anne Keothavong photo © Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

(July 24, 2013) Former British No. 1 Anne Keothavong announced that she is retire from tennis. The 29-year-old reached a career high rank of 48 in the world in 2009. She is set to join BT Sport’s tennis coverage team later this year.

 

She captured a total of 20 International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles titles, eight ITF doubles titles and made seven WTA semi-final appearances.

 

“I have given my decision a lot of thought and I believe this is the right time to move on to the next stage of my career,” Keothavong said in a press release. “I have had some magical moments along the way and I would like to thank my family for their unwavering support and encouragement, the LTA for their fantastic backing, my coach Jeremy Bates and also Nigel Sears who have both been very influential in my tennis career and of course, the great tennis fans in Britain and all over the world.

 

“I think I am leaving tennis in excellent shape with both Laura Robson and Heather Watson leading the way for Britain in the women’s game. I am now focussing on my exciting new challenge with BT Sport where I hope I can provide insight and analysis for tennis fans.”

 

 

Britain’s Federation Cup Captain Judy Murray said: “It’s been a real pleasure for me to work with Anne as part of the Fed Cup team. You couldn’t ask for a better, more committed team member – a great professional who represented her country with huge pride and passion. She’s a fabulous role model for the young players and a lot of fun too. I’ll miss her fashion advice as well as her presence but I’m sure she has a very bright future ahead of her.”

 

Keothavong will join Lynsey Hipgrave, former British Number One Sam Smith and tennis legend Martina Navratilova to cover the 21 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tournaments for BT Sport including the five Premier WTA tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing and Istanbul.

 

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British Tennis is Completely Different From 10 Years Ago, Says Keothavong

 

 

By Barbara Galiza

(March 2, 2013) FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil –With the recent successes of Andy Murray, Laura Robson and Heather Watson, it’s safe to say tennis in Britain is in a great phase. Londoner Anne Keothavong, professional since 2001, says things have come a long way in terms of support for the players.

 

“When I was Laura and Heather’s age, I didn’t have what they have. I had to travel by myself. We didn’t have a national tennis center. Now, 18-year-old players, and juniors, have coaches and a team that accompanies them on tour. With the access you get, there’s no excuse for players today”, said Keothavong on the recent change. “They’re very well supported. Being British, we are in a very lucky position. They are definitely investing more. It’s completely different now than it was 10 years ago.”

 

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), responsible for tennis in the country, and private sponsors, such as AEGON, aid the players on tour. The profit made from Wimbledon is directed to the LTA and invested in the future generation. Last year, nearly 30 million pounds from that money was used on player development and encouraging people to take up the sport.

 

“Sport in general is in a good phase in Britain. In the Olympics, it was amazing to see the whole country coming together and supporting the athletes. Whenever I had the time, I would go and watch other events, outside the tennis”, said the Brit, who played doubles and singles on the London 2012 games. “Andy (Murray) is doing very well under the pressure. Hopefully what he’s done will inspire the new generation.”

 

After making the top 50 in 2009, Keothavong is currently ranked 183th in the world.

 

“My ranking right now is not where I’d like to be, I’ve had a lot of injuries”, said the 29 year-old after losing the first round in Florianópolis to the seventh seed Kristina Mladenovic, 6/3 6/4.

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro and was 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
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Watson, Robson, Keothavong and Konta Named to British Fed Cup Team

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(January 7, 2013) Heather Watson, Laura Robson, Anne Keothavong and Johanna Konta have been announced by the Lawn Tennis Association as Great Britain’s Fed Cup team for the  Europe/Africa Zone Group I tie that will take place from February 6-9 2013 at the Municipal Tennis Club in Eilat, Israel.

 

Elena Baltacha who is currently recovering from injury will also be traveling with the team. The team will be led by Judy Murray who was appointed as Fed Cup Captain back in December  of 2011.

 

Judy Murray said: “Last year’s Fed Cup was a great experience for all of us and we came close to securing a place in the World Group for the first time since 1995. Heather and Laura have pushed themselves up into the top 50 in the WTA rankings this year and they will have wonderfully experienced back-up in Anne and Bally who have 22 Fed Cups between them. Jo Konta makes her debut on the team after a terrific 2012 season which saw her break into the top 150. We have a great squad and we will be aiming to put ourselves in World Group contention once again.”

 

British No. 1 Heather Watson said, “Playing Fed Cup is always a highlight for me during the year. Most of the time we are out there playing for ourselves, but it’s a lot of fun and a great honour to compete as a team and represent our country against the best in the world.” Watson ended 2012 at a career-best No. 49 (currently No. 47) in the world winning her first career WTA singles title at the Japan Open, having already claimed Tour doubles titles at Stanford and Dallas in the USA during the summer.

 

Robson said, “’I am really excited to be part of the Fed Cup team again and I can’t wait to get back out there and hopefully win all of our matches.” Robson ended a career-best season in 2012 close to the Top 50, highlighted by a Silver Medal in mixed doubles at the Olympics, beating former Grand Slam champions Kim Clijsters and Li Na at the US Open and then becoming the first woman since 1990 to reach a WTA singles final, before Watson went one better, three weeks later.

 

“I can’t believe this will be my 12th time representing my country,” said British No. 3 Anne Keothavong. “I feel really proud how we have grown as a team in the last couple of years and came so close to making World Group II last year. It’s an added motivation knowing how close we were to try and take the extra step in 2013.”

 

Johanna Konta, is making her Fed Cup debut: “I’m so excited it’s beyond words and a real thrill to be nominated alongside Heather, Laura, Anne and Bally.”

 

The Aegon GB Fed Cup Team will contest the Europe/Africa Zone Group I, alongside 15 other nations, all vying to take the top two spots and progress to the World Group II play offs in April.

The 16 tennis nations in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I include: Austria, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Great Britain, Hungary, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey.

 

The format will be four groups, each having four teams, all competing against each other (three matches) in Round-robin format. Play starts on Wednesday, 6 February and continues every day. The winners of each group will play off (Group A v Group C and Group B v Group D) to determine which two nations will advance to the World Group II Play-offs in April 20-21, 2013. All other nations will compete for positional Play-offs, including the final two relegation spots.

 

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Kick on for Queen and Country

For most years the success (or otherwise) of Britain’s tennis players rises to the top of people’s priority for the last week in June and the first week in July.

Then for the non-tennis following public, the hub-bub simply disappears and remains perhaps a footnote on the odd national news sports bulletin.

But this year something strange happened.

Perhaps due to the Jubilee, or the forthcoming Olympics, but the news of five people into the second round was a cause for a decent cream tea and perhaps a cheeky Pimms.

Even where players fell at the first hurdle, there were hard fought battles with higher raked opponents being pushed hard, step forward plucky fighters Jamie Baker and Laura Robson, giving former Slam champions Andy Roddick and Francesca Schiavone more than just a routine practice.

But Slam progression is just one match at a time, and the second round saw the numbers dwindle sharply.

Andy Murray needed to harness physical and mental strength to withstand the bombardment of 130 mph+ missiles from big serving Croat Ivo Karlovic, winning 7-5 6-7(7), 6-2 7-6(7).

In a match where it was unlikely he would gather much rhythm, and was at times surprised by Karlovic’s nimbleness at the net, Murray prevailed in a fourth set tiebreak which left many fans fingers gnawed to the bone.

Heather Watson has impressed everyone this year with the apparent ease of her first two victories, and faces a real test against the world number 3 Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round.

Yet there still could be a good chance for her, if her self-belief continues.

Maybe the key to her success this year has been a willingness to change her approach.

After her second round victory against USA’s Jamie Hampton, 6-1, 6-4, she acknowledged that making some changes was a way to move herself up a level.

Watson said:”I’ve been known as kind of a counter‑puncher, good at moving and reading the game well, and I wanted to get to the next step, improve my game.

“I’ve been working with my coach at being more aggressive, coming to the net.

“I can volley.  I love to volley.  Probably volleyed once today and missed it.

“I’ve been working on being more aggressive.  And especially on the grass, you have to be.”

James Ward had a real chance to push his way past Mardy Fish, and battled through a tough fifth set decider, before Fish’s experience got the better of him.

After his great run at Queens last year, and already having come through a five-setter to get to the second round, the crowd on Court 1 stood to give Ward an ovation at the end of the match.

Ward said “It was nice of Mardy, as well.  He said the standing ovation was for me, so go out and enjoy it.  It was nice.  I appreciate it.”

Elena Baltacha pushed the 2011 Champion Petra Kvitova more in the second set, but sadly lost 0-6. 4-6.

However, Baltacha remained fairly pragmatic.

“I just kind of wish the second set was the first set, and then who knows what could have happened.  She played absolutely unbelievable,” she said, “she’s a very classy player.”

And of course being awarded an ITF wildcard, Baltacha will return for the Olympics

After years of injuries and an illness that almost put paid to her career, she could be forgiven for allowing retirement to cross her mind.

“I think if I still really enjoy it, if I still believe I’m improving and I still love it, then I’ll carry on.  But I’m literally going on a week‑to‑week basis.  I don’t put any pressure on myself.”

Anne Keothavong had perhaps more chances against French Open finalist Sara Errani, but succumbed 4-6, 4-6.

She admitted that she had her chances, and simply didn’t take those opportunities.

Keothavong said: “I’m disappointed with my own performance because I know I can play better.  I didn’t challenge her today as much as I would have liked.

“To lose in that fashion, you know, it’s not particularly pleasing.”

Like Baltacha, she will be returning to SW19 for the Olympics, also having been awarded a wildcard.

In between, she is looking ahead to the US swing.

“Had I not been on the Olympic team I would have camped out there until the US Open.  But I think the gap’s just too long from now until the Olympics.”

As with Baltacha, the question of retirement was also put to her.

“I have been around for a while, but there are girls older than me who are still out there winning slams and doing really well.

“That keeps me motivated.  You know, as long as I’m still enjoying it and as long as I’m fit and healthy, there are worse ways to make a living.”

It is strange to use the words “putting Murray aside”, but the real question is can these players now kick on and achieve more success as we gear up first for the Olympics, and then the US Open.

Where once cynics would complain about our Brits “crashing out”, there does appear to be some optimism.

Is there a sense of optimism in 2012 and a stirring of national pride in our tennis players?

And more importantly, with the US Open still to come in the tennis calendar, is now the time for the top British players to use this sense of optimism to “kick on” for Queen and country, and perhaps reach their full potential?

Ros Satar is a British Journalist- an IT Journalist by day, a Sports journalist part-time and her match observations can be found at the Chalkdust Chronicles (chalkdustchronicles.blogspot.com). Follow her on twitter at @rfsatar.

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Murray Leads Five Brits into Second Round at Wimbledon

It was a momentous day for Britons at Wimbledon on Tuesday, as Andy Murray found himself in the rare position of having four other Brits alongside him for the second round.

A very business-like Murray perhaps silenced some of his detractors since the end of his clay campaign and early exits at both Queens Club and the exhibition event at The Boodles.

He dominated his match against Nikolay Davydenko, 6-1, 6-1, 6-4.

Murray said: “I played well.

“Once I got ahead of him, I wanted to make sure I didn’t let him back in.”

Although it has been a while since Davydenko has been in his ATP World Tour Final winning form of 2009, Murray was quick to acknowledge that this match-up might not be a walk in Wimbledon’s Aorangi Park.

“He’s very, very dangerous.

“He’s a very good returner as well.

“I needed to stay concentrated on my serve, and I did it well.”

There had been some speculation as to the success of his coaching relationship with eight-time Slam Champion Ivan Lendl, after his quarter-final exit from the French Open, and first round exits at Queen’s Club and The Boodles exhibition event.

Murray said: “I never saw him play when I was a kid.  I’ve only seen him play since I got older.

“He was obviously a great player, very ruthless, one of the best players that ever played.

“I’m glad to have him working with me.”

In the past Murray has been drawn on his view on the success of his compatriots, especially if they crash out in the first round.

But in this Olympic year, he is joined in the second round currently by James Ward, Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong and Heather Watson who booked her place in the Centre Court dusk on Monday night.

“Anytime the Brits do well in slams it’s good for British tennis.

“It’s been a good tournament so far, and hopefully it continues.”

For Baltacha, it was a gritty match, winning 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 with Karin Knapp getting the better of her in the first set.

A bad slip saw Knapp injure herself at the start of the second start, allowing Baltacha back in.

Baltacha said: “I played well and I fought, and I was very, very delighted to have won that and to come through that being a set down.

British Fed Cup Captain Judy Murray gave her the Olympic news at the end of the match, and emotions were flowing freely for the both of them.

“I was very, very emotional at the end, especially with Judy.  She told me that I got the wildcard for the Olympics.”

“I’m glad no one told me before, to be honest, because I would have been all over the place.

“But, yeah, it was just amazing news.  I think that’s why we both just started crying our eyes out.”

It looked initially like Laura Robson would be starting the British-second-round-roll taking the first set from an injury-troubled Francesca Schiavone who had to take an extended medical time out.

She took the 2010 French Open champion to three sets, losing 6-3, 4-6, 4-6.

Robson said: “I’m really disappointed actually.

“I thought I was in control of it, and then just made a few mistakes and let her get back into the match.

“She’s a Grand Slam champion.  She took advantage of that completely.”

James Ward came through a tough five-setter staying positive despite being a break down in the fifth set, beating Pablo Andujar 4-6, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Ward said: “I always knew if I kept to my own serve and I started serving a bit smarter and towards the end of the match, because he was returning really well off his backhand, so I mixed it up, bit more body and forehand, and then got a few more free points.

“I knew I had it in the tank, and I knew if I kept carried on going I’d get a few chances, and in the end it worked out.”

However, there was a little disappointment for Ward, as he missed the Olympic cut.

“Of course it’s disappointing.

“It would have been great to be playing the home Olympics in London.  It’s once in a lifetime really.

“And being from London and obviously now playing well at Wimbledon, it would have been great to play again here again in a few weeks’ time.

“But it’s not to be.  My ranking is not where it is.”

Along with Murray, Anne Keothavong won her match on straight sets, beating Laura Pous-Tio 6-3, 6-3.

She said: “The win today was good.  I think I made it a little difficult for myself out there.

“But I felt like I settled into the match well eventually, and I never really felt I was going to lose the match.”

Keothavong found out about her place in the British Olympic team just before starting play.

“Just to have that confirmation, it’s just something I’ve always dreamt about, you know, something I’ve worked hard towards, and I’m just so proud to say I can be representing Great Britain at the Olympics this year.”

Great Britain will have eight players in the Olympic Tennis tournament.

Wildcards went to Keothavong and Baltacha for the women’s singles, with Robson and Watson teaming up in the doubles.

Murray qualifies by right for the men’s singles, and will team up with older brother Jamie for the doubles, along with the regular tour pairing of Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins.

The Mixed Doubles line up is yet to be announced.

Ros Satar is a British Journalist- an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. She is the co-founder of Britwatch Sports (britwatchsports.com). Follow her on twitter at @rfsatar.

 

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Wilson Racquet Sports Fashion Show 2012 Collection

NEW YORK, New York – Prior to New York fashion week Wilson Racquet Sports  hosted its own fashion show in at Exit Art in New York City previewing Summer/Spring 2012 performance apparel for retailers and media.

 

Wilson players Philipp Kohlschreiber, Feliciano Lopez, Mandy Minella, Robert Lindstedt, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Horia Tecau and Anne Keothavong lended their support for the new line and attended the event.

 

Tennis Panorama News took a few short videos of the fashion show to give readers a sneak peek into the new line.

 

Catching Up with Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Wilson Racquet Sports Fashion Show

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British No. 2 Anne Keothavong Tops the World TeamTennis Roster Draft

WTT 2010 logo

NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 15, 2011) – Anne Keothavong, Great Britain’s second-ranked singles player, topped the 2011 WTT Roster Player Draft today when she was selected with the top overall pick by the Newport Beach Breakers.  Players from 15 countries were chosen in Tuesday’s Roster Draft as teams completed their lineups for the League’s 36th season, which runs July 4-24.

In a special Roster Exempt Player Draft held before the start of the Roster Draft, three top Americans were added to team rosters.  Lisa Raymond was selected by the Philadelphia Freedoms, 2009 Female MVP Vania King was protected by the Sacramento Capitals and the Boston Lobsters retained the rights for Coco Vandeweghe for the 2011 season.

The players added today join an all-star lineup of players selected in last month’s Marquee Draft including Serena Williams (Washington Kastles), Venus Williams (Washington Kastles), Kim Clijsters (New York Sportimes), John McEnroe (New York Sportimes), Martina Hingis (New York Sportimes), Lindsay Davenport (St. Louis Aces), Anna Kournikova (St. Louis Aces), Pete Sampras (Newport Beach Breakers), Sam Querrey (Washington Kastles), John Isner (Boston Lobsters), Mardy Fish (Sacramento Capitals), Mark Philippoussis (St. Louis Aces), Bob and Mike Bryan (Kansas City Explorers), James Blake (Boston Lobsters) and Melanie Oudin (Philadelphia Freedoms).

 

Americans led the way with a total of 19 players selected today including U.S. amateur Beatrice Capra who was Philadelphia’s first round pick.  Other Americans selected in the first round include Liezel Huber, world No. 5 in doubles, who will join Davenport on the Aces’ roster.  The duo paired together in 2010 to win a WTA doubles title at Stanford.  Carly Gullickson returns to the Springfield Lasers as does Jan-Michael Gambill for the Boston Lobsters.  Robert Kendrick returns to the New York Sportimes for his 5th WTT season. The 2010 WTT Champion Kansas City Explorers added American Alex Kuznetsov to their squad.

 

In other first round action, the Sacramento Capitals are bringing back 3-time WTT MVP Mark Knowles of the Bahamas for the full season.  The Washington Kastles used their first round to select Arina Rodionova of Russia.

 

Each of the nine teams in the WTT Pro League presented by GEICO will play a total of 14 matches during the three-week regular season, July 4-21.  The top two teams from both the Western and Eastern Conferences advance to the WTT Conference Championships on July 22 with the winners playing in the WTT Finals on July 24.  Teams in the Western Conference are the Kansas City Explorers, Newport Beach Breakers, Sacramento Capitals, St. Louis Aces and Springfield Lasers.  Teams in the Eastern Conference are the Boston Lobsters, New York Sportimes, Philadelphia Freedoms and Washington Kastles.

 

The WTT Pro League was co-founded by Billie Jean King in the early 1970s.  Each team has a coach, two male and two female players who play singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches.

 

For details on the complete draft results and the 2011 schedule, visit www.WTT.com.

Here’s a team-by-team recap of the 2011 WTT Roster Draft.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Newport Beach Breakers

The Newport Beach Breakers 2011 lineup is set and stacked with talent. Leading the Breakers this season is No.1 overall pick in the roster draft and No. 2 British female, Anne Keothavong.  Lester Cook will return to the Breakers for the second consecutive season, while California native Travis Rettenmaier will play his first season for Newport and his third in the League. The final player drafted by the Breakers is Marie-Eve Pelletier who was protected in the fourth round.  They join marquee player and tennis legend Pete Sampras who will play for the Breakers in Newport Beach on July 9.

Kansas City Explorers

The Kansas City Explorers already acquired the No. 1 doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan in last month’s Marquee Draft, and now they have a strong supporting cast of roster players when they try to defend the King Trophy this July. In the first round, the Explorers selected Alex Kuznetsov followed by the protection of Kveta Peschke and Ricardo Mello.  With their fourth pick, Kansas City selected American Madison Brengle, who made her WTT debut with the Delaware Smash in 2008.

Sacramento Capitals

After acquiring high-ranking American Mardy Fish in the Marquee Player Draft last month, the Sacramento Capitals’ first three picks of the Roster Exempt and Roster Player Drafts were protections. Vania King will be back in Sacramento this July, as will Mark Knowles, who will be playing his 10th season with the Capitals, and Dusan Vemic who’s back for the second year in a row. With their final pick Sacramento selected UCLA alum Yasmin Schnack to make her WTT debut.

Springfield Lasers

The Springfield Lasers have built another strong roster.  In the first round, the Lasers selected American Carly Gullickson, who will be playing her third WTT season this July and her second consecutive year for the Lasers. Springfield’s second and third round picks brought them American Lilia Osterloh, as well as WTT newcomer Paul Hanley who is Australia’s No. 1 doubles player and 2011 Australian Open Mixed Doubles finalist. With their fourth and final pick, the Lasers protected South African Rik de Voest who will be playing his fourth WTT season and second in Springfield.

St. Louis Aces

Last month, the St. Louis Aces drafted a solid trio of marquee players in 2010 WTT Female MVP Lindsay Davenport, Anna Kournikova and Mark Philippoussis. The Aces also added a triple threat in Liezel Huber, Jean-Julien Rojer and Roman Borvanov to round out their team.  With years of experience from their marquee players and WTT veteran Huber, rookies Rojer and Borvanov join what looks to be an extremely competitive Aces squad.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Boston Lobsters

After retaining two major marquee players in last month’s draft, the Boston Lobsters drafted today in similar fashion. Joining James Blake and John Isner again this year in Boston are roster exempt player Coco Vandeweghe and returning players Jan-Michael Gambill and Eric Butorac.  To complete their lineup, Boston selected Mashona Washington in round three who previously played for the Houston Wranglers (2007) and the Washington Kastles (2008),

New York Sportimes

The New York Sportimes top-notch marquee selections of current world No. 2 Kim Clijsters, and two former No. 1s John McEnroe and Martina Hingis, now has a complementary cast to make a run at advancing to the WTT Finals again this season. The Sportimes used their first and second round picks in the Roster Draft to protect Robert Kendrick and Jesse Witten.  With their round three selection, New York took Britain’s Katie O’Brien to complete their team for the 36th season of World TeamTennis.

Philadelphia Freedoms

This season, the Philadelphia Freedoms will have both youth and experience to lead their team. After selecting young American Melanie Oudin in last month’s Marquee Player Draft, the Freedoms used the Roster Player Draft to bring back WTT veteran Lisa Raymond, who will play her 10th season in the League.  Philadelphia’s round one pick was American amateur Beatrice Capra, who played a few matches for the New York Buzz in 2009.  Brendan Evans, who will make his WTT debut, was Philadelphia’s second round pick, and Australian Nathan Healey was added in round three for his fourth WTT stint.

Washington Kastles

The Washington Kastles built a solid foundation for their 2011 team when they retained the rights to both Serena and Venus Williams and added up-and-coming American Sam Querrey to their lineup in last month’s marquee draft. Add to the mix their roster draft selections of Arina Rodionova,  Leander Paes, Rennae Stubbs and their protection of the 2010 Rookie of the Year, Bobby Reynolds, and they have the makings of a major Eastern Conference threat, especially when playing at their new home, Kastles Stadium at the Wharf in Washington, D.C.

 

2011 WTT Roster Player Draft

Roster Exempt Draft Selections

1.  PHILADELPHIA: Lisa Raymond

2.  SACRAMENTO: Vania King (protection)

3.  BOSTON: Coco Vandeweghe (protection)

 

 

Roster Draft Selections

Round One

1.  NEWPORT BEACH: Anne Keothavong

2.  PHILADELPHIA: Beatrice Capra

3.  SACRAMENTO: Mark Knowles (protection)

4.  ST. LOUIS: Liezel Huber

5.  WASHINGTON: Arina Rodionova

6.  BOSTON: Jan-Michael Gambill (protection)

7.  SPRINGFIELD: Carly Gullickson

8.  NEW YORK: Robert Kendrick (protection)

9.  KANSAS CITY: Alex Kuznetsov

 

Round Two

1.  NEWPORT BEACH: Lester Cook

2.  PHILADELPHIA: Brendan Evans

3.  SACRAMENTO: Dusan Vemic (protection)

4.  ST. LOUIS: Jean-Julien Rojer

5.  WASHINGTON: Leander Paes

6.  BOSTON: Eric Butorac (protection)

7.  SPRINGFIELD: Lilia Osterloh

8.  NEW YORK: Jesse Witten (protection)

9.  KANSAS CITY: Kveta Peschke (protection)

 

Round Three

1.  NEWPORT BEACH: Travis Rettenmaier

2.  PHILADELPHIA: Nathan Healey

3.  # WASHINGTON: Rennae Stubbs

4.  ST. LOUIS: Roman Borvanov

5.  WASHINGTON: Bobby Reynolds (protection)

6.  BOSTON: Mashona Washington

7.  SPRINGFIELD: Paul Hanley

8.  NEW YORK: Katie O’Brien

9.  KANSAS CITY: Ricardo Mello (protection)

 

Round Four

1.  NEWPORT BEACH: Marie-Eve Pelletier (protection)

2.  PHILADELPHIA: PASS

3.  SACRAMENTO: Yasmin Schnack

4.  ST. LOUIS: PASS

5.  # SACRAMENTO: PASS

6.  BOSTON: PASS

7.  SPRINGFIELD: Rik de Voest (protection)

8.  NEW YORK: PASS

9.  KANSAS CITY: Madison Brengle

 

Draft Notes

Round 3:

# The Washington Kastles traded their fourth round draft pick and financial consideration for the Sacramento Capitals’ third round draft pick.

 

2011 WTT TEAM ROSTERS:

Boston Lobsters: James Blake, John Isner, Coco Vandeweghe, Jan-Michael Gambill, Eric Butorac and Mashona Washington.  Coach: Bud Schultz

Kansas City Explorers: Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Alex Kuznetsov, Kveta Peschke, Ricardo Mello and Madison Brengle.  Coach: Brent Haygarth

New York Sportimes: John McEnroe, Kim Clijsters, Martina Hingis, Robert Kendrick, Jesse Witten and Katie O’Brien.   Coach: TBD

Newport Beach Breakers: Pete Sampras, Anne Keothavong, Lester Cook, Travis Rettenmeier and Marie-Eve Pelletier.  Coach:  Trevor Kronemann

Philadelphia Freedoms: Melanie Oudin, Lisa Raymond, Beatrice Capra, Brendan Evans and Nathan Healey.  Coach: Pascal Collard

Sacramento Capitals: Mardy Fish, Vania King, Mark Knowles, Dusan Vemic, Yasmin Schnack.  Coach: Wayne Bryan

Springfield Lasers: Carly Gullickson, Lilia Osterloh, Paul Hanley and Rik de Voest.  Coach:  John-Laffnie de Jager

St. Louis Aces: Lindsay Davenport, Anna Kournikova, Mark Philippoussis, Liezel Huber, Jean-Julien Rojer and Roman Borvanov.  Coach Rick Leach

Washington Kastles: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Sam Querrey, Arina Rodionova, Leander Paes, Bobby Reynolds and Rennae Stubbs. Coach: Murphy Jensen

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Lisicki, Falconi and Vandeweghe Talk Dow Corning Tennis Classic

Coco Vandeweghe interviewed by ESPN's Brad Golder             (Photo by Bob Spears)

MIDLAND, Mich., February 7, 2011 – The longest-running women’s tournament on the USTA Pro Circuit returns to the tennis scene on Tuesday with a field of fast-rising stars seeking their share of $100,000 in prize money.

Of the 40 women’s events on the American circuit, only the Dow Corning Tennis Classic awards its singles champion a check for $15,200 and 140 ranking points on the WTA Tour.

Now hosting the event for a 23rd time, the 2009 ‘Best Tennis Town’ of Midland is welcoming three former Top 25 players, 11 Americans and 18 players under the age of 22 this week.

Two-time singles finalist Lucie Hradecka, 2009 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Sabine Lisicki and up-and-coming Americans Irina Falconi and CoCo Vandeweghe kicked off the 2011 event by meeting with media at the Midland Community Tennis Center on Monday. They were joined by Tom Gullikson, the USTA’s lead national coach for women’s tennis.

Hradecka’s fast-and-flat playing style suits her well on the quick indoor courts of Midland. After winning the 2009 Dow Corning Tennis Classic singles title, the Czech captured the tournament’s doubles title with Laura Granville in 2010 and fell in last year’s singles final to Elena Baltacha.

With titanic serves and two-handed groundstrokes, Hradecka has already won 16 ITF singles, 29 ITF doubles and nine WTA doubles titles. Though she’s earned her fair share of trophies elsewhere, the 25-year-old Hradecka holds a special place in her heart for Midland.

“I love this tournament,” said Hradecka. “I love the people here and I stay here with a great family. Everybody here is so friendly and the tournament does its best for the players.”

If there’s one player in Midland who may be able to match Hradecka’s power, it’s Lisicki. She owns the women’s world record for the fastest serve at just over 130 miles-per-hour.

But after reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals and breaking into the Top 25 in 2009, Lisicki suffered a string of injuries. She twisted her left ankle 11 months ago in Indian Wells, Calif., leaving her in crutches for six weeks and off the tour for more than four months.

“I basically lost all the muscles in my left leg,” said the 21-year-old Lisicki. “To have the whole body working the way you want it to work is quite a big deal. It takes time. It’s not about who can play the best tennis anymore because you have to be fit, you have to be strong and you have to be fast.”

Like many of her peers in Midland this week, Lisicki’s next stop on the tennis tour is tentatively the WTA event in Memphis, where qualifying play begins on Friday. That overlaps with the Dow Corning Tennis Classic quarterfinals, making a tennis player’s life anything but easy to predict.

“A year ago, I did not have problems making my schedule because when you’re in the Top 30, you’re getting in everywhere and you can pick and choose,” said Lisicki, now ranked No. 186.

“It’s tough when you’re ranked between 100 and 200 because you don’t know where you’re going to get in. I’m in the main draw here and the qualies in Memphis so if I get far here, I cannot play there. That makes it tough for us to book our flights, which makes it more expensive. It’s like a big circle.”

Standing six inches shorter than Lisicki, the 5’4” Falconi may not appear to be the ideal indoor-court player. But with a steady mix of speed, slice and spin, she is quickly making a name for herself in women’s tennis.

As a varsity tennis player at Georgia Tech, Falconi finished the 2010 collegiate season ranked No. 1 in the nation before joining the WTA Tour last July.

“The biggest difference is that out here, you’re trying to get each other’s lunch money,” said Falconi. “In college, you knew the next day that there was another match or another practice, and your scholarship was still going to be there.”

In just seven months as a pro, Falconi has qualified at the US Open and the Australian Open and risen to No. 156 in the world. With no ranking points to defend through Wimbledon, the only direction she’ll be going anytime soon is up.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised, for sure,” said Falconi. “At the end of the year, I had to get my ranking up to guarantee a spot in Australia. It was really exciting for my coach and I to go through the steps of planning a trip like that. Being able to qualify in Australia was unbelievable. I like to think that it’s just going up from here.”

Vandeweghe is the latest athletic apple to fall from her family tree. She is following in the footsteps of her mother Tauna, a two-time Olympian, and her uncle Kiki, a former NBA All Star and the current General Manager of the Denver Nuggets.

But while few know what it’s like to live up to that kind of pressure, the 103rd-ranked Vandeweghe is happy to have company in a class of promising young American players. She is joined in Midland by three other Americans just outside the Top 100: No. 108 Christina McHale, No. 115 Alison Riske and No. 133 Jamie Hampton.

“American tennis is always going to be in the tennis world,” said Vandeweghe. “For me to be a part of the next group of Americans in the top tier is a great honor.”

Gullikson, who coaches Vandeweghe, is excited to be in town for what he believes will be an entertaining event. While the snow falls outside the tennis center, Gullikson foresees fast-paced ball-bashing inside.

“On quick courts like these, you’re going to see some big serving, some finishing at the net and girls playing defense,” said Gullikson, “because if the ball is sitting up, there girls can all rock it pretty good. I think you’re going to see an exciting brand of all-court, all-around tennis.”

Main draw play begins on Tuesday with four doubles and five singles matches, highlighted by Hradecka taking on Hampton in the feature match at 7 p.m. on Stadium Court. Following that contest, three ex-college players will take center stage when Elizabeth Lumpkin (UCLA) and Story Tweedie-Yates (Stanford) face Oregon alum Courtney Nagle and Sarah Borwell of Great Britain.

The day session is highlighted by the Midland singles debuts of Lisicki, Falconi and McHale. No. 1 seed Varvara Lepchenko will also be in action.

Dow High teammates Daniella Patton and Kelli Close are back in the doubles draw for the second straight year. They open their 2011 campaign against Gabriela Dabrowski and Whitney Jones on Stadium Court at about 4 p.m.

Before the main draw commences, the qualifying competition with conclude on Tuesday at 10 a.m. as four women try to win their way into the Dow Corning Tennis Classic. Among those in contention are 1998 Midland champion Alexandra Stevenson and U.S. Fed Cup veterans Mashona Washington, Ahsha Rolle and Alexa Glatch.

Admission to the Dow Corning Tennis Classic is free until the 7 p.m. feature session. General admission tickets to see Hradecka vs. Hampton and Lumpkin/Tweedie-Yates vs. Nagle/Borwell cost $12 for adults and $8 for children.

By Joshua Rey

Dow Corning Tennis Classic

Midland Community Tennis Center

Midland, Mich.

Purse: $100,000

Surface: Hard-Indoor

Monday, February 7 – RESULTS


Qualifying Singles – Second round

Alexandra Mueller (United States) def. [1] Beatrice Capra (United States) 7-6(3), 6-3

[6] Mashona Washington (United States) def. [WC] Diana Ospina (United States) 0-6, 6-3, 6-4

[2] Ahsha Rolle (United States) def. Story Tweedie-Yates (United States) 6-2, 6-1

[7] Lena Litvak (United States) def. Anna Livadaru (Germany) 4-6, 6-0, 6-2

[3] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) def. Whitney Jones (United States) 6-0, 6-0

[5] Alexandra Stevenson (United States) def. Robin Anderson (United States) 6-3, 6-2

[4] Alexa Glatch (United States) def. Katie Ruckert (United States) 7-6(3), 6-0

[8] Amanda Fink (United States) def. Jan Abaza (United States) 6-2, 6-2

Tuesday, February 8 – SCHEDULE

Stadium Court – starting at 10 a.m.

Qualifying – Alexandra Mueller (United States) vs. [6] Mashona Washington (United States)

[1] Varvara Lepchenko (United States) vs. Anna Tatishvili (Georgia)

[WC] Shelby Rogers (United States) vs. Sabine Lisicki (Germany)

Stadium Court – not before 4 p.m.

[WC] Kelli Close (United States) and Daniella Patton (Dominican Republic) vs. Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) and Whitney Jones (United States)

Stadium Court – starting at 7 p.m.

Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) vs. Jamie Hampton (United States)

Elizabeth Lumpkin and Story Tweedie-Yates (United States) vs. [2] Sarah Borwell (Great Britain) and Courtney Nagle (United States)

Court 5 – starting at 10 a.m.

Qualifying – [2] Ahsha Rolle (United States) vs. [7] Lena Litvak (United States)

Irina Falconi (United States) vs. Katie O’Brien (Great Britain)

Christina McHale (United States) vs. Anastasia Pivovarova (Russia)

Court 3 – starting at 10 a.m.

Qualifying – [4] Alexa Glatch (United States) vs. [8] Amanda Fink (United States)

Qualifying – [3] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) vs. [5] Alexandra Stevenson (United States)

Christina Fusano and Sanaz Marand (United States) vs. [3] Ksenia Pervak (Russia) and Ipek Senoglu (Turkey)

Brittany Augustine and Alexandra Mueller (United States) vs. Irina Falconi and Alison Riske (United States)

ABOUT THE USTA PRO CIRCUIT:

With more than 90 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 32 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering more than $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Among those who have played at the Dow Corning Tennis Classic are seven-time Grand Slam winner Justine Henin, former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova, reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and 2011 Australian Open runner-up Na Li.

USTA Pro Circuit Press Release

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Dow Corning Tennis Classic – Sunday Results

Dow Corning Tennis Classic
Midland Community Tennis Center
Midland, Mich.
Purse: $100,000
Surface: Hard-Indoor

Sunday, February 6 – RESULTS

Qualifying Singles – First round
[1] Beatrice Capra (United States) def. Sanaz Marand (United States) 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(8)
Alexandra Mueller (United States) def. Dominika Dieskova (Slovakia) 6-1, 6-1
[WC] Diana Ospina (United States) def. Federica Grazioso (Italy) 6-2, 6-4
[6] Mashona Washington (United States) def. Ester Goldfeld (United States) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
[2] Ahsha Rolle (United States) def. Nicole Robinson (United States) 6-1, 6-3
Story Tweedie-Yates (United States) def. Nika Kukharchuk (Russia) 6-3, 5-7, 6-1
Anna Livadaru (Germany) def. Brittany Lashway (United States) 6-2, 6-0
[7] Lena Litvak (United States) def. Brooke Austin (United States) 6-1, 6-2
[3] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) def. Lauren Herring (United States) 6-1, 6-2
Whitney Jones (United States) def. [WC] Ekaterina Zhukoven (Russia) 6-2, 6-0
Robin Anderson (United States) def. Elizabeth Lumpkin (United States) 6-4, 6-0
[5] Alexandra Stevenson (United States) def. Caitlin Whoriskey (United States) 7-6(0), 6-0
[4] Alexa Glatch (United States) def. Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) 6-4, 6-4
Katie Ruckert (United States) def. Kyle McPhillips (United States) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Jan Abaza (United States) def. [WC] Daniella Patton (Dominican Republic) 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-1
[8] Amanda Fink (United States) def. Anastasia Kharchenko (Ukraine) 6-2, 6-0

Monday, February 7 – SCHEDULE

Court 5 – starting at 10 a.m.
[4] Alexa Glatch (United States) vs. Katie Ruckert (United States)
Robin Anderson (United States) vs. [5] Alexandra Stevenson (United States)
[2] Ahsha Rolle (United States) vs. Story Tweedie-Yates (United States)

Court 3 – starting at 10 a.m.
Jan Abaza (United States) vs. [8] Amanda Fink (United States)
[1] Beatrice Capra (United States) vs. Alexandra Mueller (United States)
Anna Livadaru (Germany) vs. [7] Lena Litvak (United States)

Court 1 – starting at 10 a.m.
[3] Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) vs. Whitney Jones (United States)

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Dow Corning Tennis Classic to Feature a Wealth of Promising Women’s Tennis Talent

The 2011 Dow Corning Tennis Classic begins today with qualifying play running February 6-7 and main draw matches being held February 8-13. This year marks the 23rd installment of the event in Midland, Mich. It is the oldest of the 40 women’s tournaments on the USTA Pro Circuit, and the only one that boasts $100,000 in prize money.

The Dow Corning Tennis Classic will feature a field of the WTA’s brightest up-and-coming players. Rising Americans Christina McHale, Alison Riske, Coco Vandeweghe, Irina Falconi and Jamie Hampton highlight the entry list. They are joined by three members of the Canadian Fed Cup team competing in Serbia this weekend: Aleksandra Wozniak, Rebecca Marino and Stephanie Dubois. Wozniak is one of three former Top-25 players in the draw, along with Sorana Cirstea and Sabine Lisicki. Anne Keothavong, Heather Watson and Katie O’Brien will be seeking a second straight Dow Corning title for Great Britain.

At the moment, 17 of the 28 players entered in the main draw are 21 years old or younger, with four qualifiers yet to be determined.

For more information on the tournament: http://www.dowcorningtennisclassic.com


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