2014/11/29

Charlie Pasarell Receives Hall of Fame Ring

 Left to right: Hall of Famers Mark Woodforde, Donald Dell, Butch Buchholz, Rosie Casals, Bud Collins, Roy Emerson, Brad Parks, Rod Laver, Hall of Fame President Stan Smith, Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser, Hall of Famer Charlie Pasarell, Hall of Fame CEO Mark Stenning, BNP Paribas Open Tournament Director Steve Simon, Charles Pasarell, Sr., and BNP Paribas CEO Ray Moore. Photo by Billie Weiss


Left to right: Hall of Famers Mark Woodforde, Donald Dell, Butch Buchholz, Rosie Casals, Bud Collins, Roy Emerson, Brad Parks, Rod Laver, Hall of Fame President Stan Smith, Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser, Hall of Famer Charlie Pasarell, Hall of Fame CEO Mark Stenning, BNP Paribas Open Tournament Director Steve Simon, Charles Pasarell, Sr., and BNP Paribas CEO Ray Moore. Photo by Billie Weiss

By Kevin Ware

(March 14, 2014) INDIAN WELLS – As tournament director and managing partner, Charlie Pasarell was instrumental in helping to build the Indian Wells tournament into the world-class event it has become. So it was more than fitting that he received his official International Tennis Hall of Fame ring last night on the Stadium 1 court, in front of an adoring crowd, before the start of the evening session.

Pasarell was inducted into the Hall of Fame last summer. But the International Tennis Hall of Fame has a wonderful tradition of presenting the ring at a home location that affords the best opportunity for the inductee to be surrounded by as many family and friends as possible.

The stadium ring ceremony was a public affair. The celebration dinner afterward, emceed by Pam Shriver, was much more intimate; attended by some Pasarell’s immediate family, as well as his extended family in the tennis community.

Also on hand were several other Hall of Fame members, many of whom spoke glowingly about their friend and fellow-inductee. Those in attendance included Hall of Fame President Stan Smith, Donald Dell, Bud Collins (pants as colorful as ever), Butch Buchholz, Brad Parks, Rosie Casals, Billie Jean King, Roy Emerson, and Mark Woodforde.

Pasarell, with his father and son looking on, was just as moved by this moment as he was at his official induction in Newport. After an encore viewing of his video tribute, and hearing the touching tributes of his friends, it was obvious to see how touched he was by this moment.

Looking out at the familiar faces, his voice at times struggling to control his emotion, Charlie offered a simple, “Thanks to all my friends who are here today. I’m touched by all the support.”

Kevin Ware is in Indian Wells covering the BNP Paribas Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

Photos from the private party held before the ceremony.

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Billie Jean King’s Mother Passes

(February 7, 2014) Betty Moffitt, the mother of tennis hall of famer Billie Jean King and former major league pitcher Randy Moffitt, passed away on Friday in Prescott, Arizona at the age of 91.

Due to her 91-year-old mother’s illness, Billie Jean King did not attend Friday’s opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in Russia.

King who is openly gay, was chosen by President Barack Obama was to help lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympic Games, has spoken against Russia’s anti-gay law.  Former U.S. hockey player Caitlin Cahow will take King’s place,

Kin’s father Bill Moffitt died in 2006, the very year the U.S. tennis center that hosts the U.S. Open in New York was renamed for King.

The family will have private services. Instead of flowers, the family would like donation made to Hospice Family Care, 100 E. Sheldon Street, Suite 100, Prescott, AZ 86301.

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Billie Jean King, Mary Carillo Represent Tennis at Women’s Sports Foundation Awards

Mary Carillio

Mary Carillo

By Andrew Jones

(October 16, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – Despite the absence of the Williams sisters, Sloane Stephens, and Jamie Hampton to name a few, tennis was still represented at the 34th annual “Women in Sports” Awards, presented by the Women’s Sports Foundation Wednesday evening down on Wall Street. Billie Jean King and Mary Carillo were in attendance, as well as ESPN Wimbledon and U.S. Open host Hannah Storm. King founded the Women’s Sports Foundation back in 1974.

A slew of great women’s athletes, including Olympic legends Michelle Kwan, Sarah Hughes, Missy Franklin, Aimee Mullins and Nastia Liukin, along with greats such as Nancy Lieberman and Annika Sorenstam attended the event, graced the event, which was hosted by the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Carillo, the ubiquitous commentator, announcer, and reporter for a myriad of sports outside of tennis, shared her thoughts about the lack of media attention the tournaments outside of the Grand Slams receive nowadays.

“It’s amazing to me, when I first started covering tennis 35 years ago, there were a lot of people in the press room that I knew,” Carillo said. “And the newspaper business has changed so much, that’s the fact. There are people who are paying their own way to blog and to tweet. More and more magazines are just taking AP stories, they are just taking wire services stories. A lot of people who cover tennis well, they beg to go to Wimbledon, and they have to pay their way over, where they have to rent a house for two weeks. It has been very, very difficult.”

Carillo also shared thoughts on how tennis’ sponsors and the focus on the four Slams have diminished the prestige of other great events around the world, as well as the confusion of the WTA’s Premier 5/Mandatory structure in comparison to the ATP’s simple Masters 1000 series.

“There’s all kinds of names,” she said. “It killed me when the Italian, the Canadian Open, the German Open, these were national championships, and all of a sudden, we got rid of that name. Don’t call it the Italian Open anymore, now it’s the so-so, the (BNL D’Italia). And you’re like, ‘Wait a minute!’ Sometimes we marginalize the events by adding names like Premier. And you’re thinking what does that mean? Does that strictly relate to the prize money offered. So I agree with you that it could be confusing.”

Despite Serena Williams‘ tremendous year, the Sportswoman of the Year award went to the teenage swimming sensation Franklin, who is also a big tennis fan and participated at the 2012 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day event.

Andrew Jones is a freelance sports, political, and music journalist. He is also the founder and publisher of The Whole Delivery (twd4u.com). Follow him on twitter @sluggahjells.

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Kourtin’ Karen’s Tennis News Week in Review

 

(January 7, 2013) NEW YORK, NY –  Kourtin’ Karen’s brief review of the previous week in the world of tennis, on and off-court.

0-15

British Player Hutchins Has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

15-15
Murray Dedicates win to Hutchins

 

15- 30

Walking wounded?

Maria Sharapova withdrew from Brisbane nursing a right collarbone injury

John Isner withdrew from Hopman Cup with a knee injury.

Andrea Petkovic underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in her right knee the result of an injury in her first Hopman Cup match.

 

30-30

Gangnam Style

40-30

Swear I don’t swear

Andy Murray commented that he did not promise not to swear:

 

“I was doing an interview over the phone. I got asked about swearing on the court. I said ‘obviously I don’t mean to do it. I don’t want to do it. Sometimes you get frustrated and you do and obviously I will try to stop.’

“I didn’t make any promises or guarantees that I was going to.

“Then it came out that I’ve said this year I will stop swearing. What I also said was that a lot of players swear on the court and a lot of people say a lot worse things than me – in other languages. It doesn’t get picked up the same.

“So where I would obviously love to stop doing it, I try not to. But I can’t guarantee it.”

40-40

I’m relly boring now

 

Advantage

iPhone

Serena and Venus Williams in an iPhone commercial
Ad -out

Beware of Pedicures

No.  1 Victoria Azarenka blamed “a bad pedicure experience” forced her to pull out before her semifinal match in Brisbane against Serena Williams. Thirty minutes before the match Azarenka said she had undergone a small procedure to correct an ingrown toenail of her right big toe.

 

Deuce

Walking with “Sunshine”

Caro-Rory-Tower8-640x426

Caroline Wozniacki and boyfriend golfer Rory McIlroy took to Sydney’s Skywalk

 

Advantage Time?

The ATP is cracking down on the time taken by players between points this year. Players including Andy Murray  say they agree with the concept but 25 seconds between points is not enough.

 

Deuce

On the market, back off the market?

Recently, ESPN’s Darren Rovell “confirmed” that 25 year-old Maria Sharapova is indeed dating 21-year-old Bulgarian player Grigor Dimitrov dubbed “Baby Fed” for his similar playing style to Roger Federer. At the end of last year tennis journalist Colette Lewis reported this on her twitter account. Sharapova had  split up with her fiancé to basketball player Sasha Vujacic back in the spring.

 

Advantage

Australain Open Wildcards

Men Women
Wu Di (CHN) Asia Pacific Wildcard Play-off Yuxuan Zhang (CHN) Asia Pacific WildcardPlay-off
Benjamin Mitchell AO Play-off winner Bojana Bobusic AO Play-off winner
Rhyne Williams US Open Reciprocal Madison Keyes US Open Reciprocal
Josselin Ouanna French Open Reciprocal Caroline Garcia French Open Reciprocal
Luke Saville Discretionary Olivia Rogowska Discretionary

 

Deuce

Court Coverage

During a a match versus Dustin Brown in Doha, top seed David Ferrer made a hole in the court. Play had to be stopped to fix the court.

 

Advantage

Tennis Queen becomes bowling queen

Billie Jean King now the celebrity owner o of the New York City WTT KingPins, joining Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul and former NFL stars Jerome Bettis and Terrell Owens as celebrity owners in the Professional Bowlers Association’s inaugural PBA League.

 

Game, Set, Match and Champions

Serena Williams captures her 47th WTA title by defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1 to win the Brisbane International in Brisbane, Australia.

Andy Murray defeated Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(0), 6-4 to win the Brisbane International for his 25th ATP World Tour title.

Richard Gasquet rallied from a set and a break down to beat Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 to win the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.

Li Na beat Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 to win the inaugural Shenzhen Longgang Gemdale Open in Shenzhen, China.

Janko Tipsarevic over surprise finalist Roberto Bautista-Agut 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 to win the Aircel Chennai Open in Chennai, India, his 4th career title.

Agnieszka Radwanska over Yanina Wickmayer 6-4, 6-4 to win the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand

Spain upsets Serbia 2-1 to win the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia.

 

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Anna Kournikova and NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris Celebrity Coaches for WTT Smash Hits

Pittsburgh, Pa. (October 15, 2012) — NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris and two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Anna Kournikova are lending their support to Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO, the annual charity event co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King.

 

Harris and Kournikova will kick off the October 16 event in Pittsburgh by serving as celebrity coaches in the opening pro-celebrity set featuring Elton John teaming with Martina Navratilova to take on Andre Agassi and his wife Stefanie Graf. Kournikova is a co-captain of Team Elton and will be the coach for John and Navratilova. Harris, who is co-captain for Team Billie Jean, will be the coach for Agassi and Graf in the opening set. Action begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.

 

During a pre-match reception, Harris will also help auction off a Super Bowl package that includes tickets to the big game along with an autographed commemorative football celebrating the 40th anniversary of the “Immaculate Reception”.

 

After the pro-celebrity set, some of tennis’ biggest names will form two teams and play five sets of World TeamTennis (WTT) – one set each of men’s and women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles – on teams captained by King and John.

 

Playing for Team Billie Jean are Hall of Famers Graf and Agassi, along with former world No. 1 in doubles Mark Knowles; world No. 30 Christina McHale and the 2012 US Open junior girls singles champion Samantha Crawford.

Team Elton includes former US Open champion Andy Roddick; Martina Navratilova, a 59-time Grand Slam champion in singles, doubles and mixed doubles; No. 1 ranked junior Taylor Townsend, and former top 15 player, WTT veteran Jan-Michael Gambill.

 

This year’s event marks the 20th anniversary of Smash Hits, which has raised more than $10.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities since 1993. Mylan WTT Smash Hits will benefit EJAF and the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force, and will also include a pre-match VIP Reception and Auction hosted by Allegheny Sports Medicine.

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.

 

Official event sponsors include Mylan, GEICO, Highmark, Allegheny Sports Medicine, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mercedes-Benz of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, Horizon Properties, Wells Fargo, Buck Consultants, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cravath, Skadden, Alston+Bird LLP, Kelley Drye, Wiley Rein LLP, Frommer Lawrence & Haug LLP, Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti LLP, Rakoczy Molino Mazzochi Siwik LLP, Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, The Norton Agency, GA Communication Group, Generic Pharmaceutical Association, Re/Max, Heeter Direct, Mansions on Fifth, 94.5 3WS, KDKA, and Pittsburgh Magazine.

 

For more information on WTT Smash Hits, visit www.wttsmashhits.com.

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Say “No” to Best of Three

By Dave Seminara

Why is it that tennis writers and former players always seem to be agitating for changes that would result in less tennis being played in the pro ranks? For years, we’ve been hearing that the Davis Cup shouldn’t be an annual event, and that tennis’s offseason should be longer. Now during the first week of this year’s U.S. Open, the buzz was all about reducing the men’s matches from best of 5 to best of 3 in majors.

 

Ben Rothenberg made a best-of-3 pitch in the New York Times’ U.S. Open Preview issue, ESPN tennis analyst’s Darren Cahill and Patrick McEnroe said that the idea was getting some traction and merited further discussion and Billie Jean King wrote a piece for The Huffington Post arguing the same point.

 

I’m a tennis fanatic and I live for dramatic five setters. While Cahill and others have said that the Olympics best of three until the final format proved that best of three could be as compelling as the best of five majors, I had the opposite experience. For me, the Olympics felt no different than a Masters 1000 series tournament like Toronto, Cincinnati and the rest.

 

King maintains that the men should play less in order to avoid injuries like the one that’s kept Rafael Nadal out of action this summer. But there are scores of current and former players that continued to win into their 30’s under the best of 5 format- Jimmy Connors, Ken Rosewall, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi- and some athletes from every sport will sustain injuries no matter how many sets they play.

 

Rothenberg’s primary justification for paring back the length of men’s matches is the notion that the player who is leading at the end of 3 sets nearly always wins the match. He cited a statistic indicating that the player leading after the first three sets won 90% of matches in the last five years, but this year’s Open certainly bucked that trend.

 

There was a total of 23 five setters, with 10 players coming from 2 sets to love down to win in the first four days, tied for the second most in the Open era, and only 4 behind the all time record set at the 2002 Australian Open. Of the 23 five setters, the player who was winning at the end of the 3rd set won on only six occasions.

 

If the final had been straight sets win for Andy Murray, just imagine all the drama we would have missed out on. The match was full of plot twists, and despite the fact that it lasted almost five hours, the crowd didn’t want it to end. After Murray won the first two sets, the crowd seemed to shift allegiance to Djokovic-because they wanted more tennis- and then shifted back to Murray in the 5th.

 

One could argue that this year’s draw has been the exception, not the rule, but consider how different tennis history would be if the men had been playing best of three in the majors during the Open era. Roger Federer wouldn’t have a career slam, because at Roland Garros in 2009, his one win there, he would have lost to Tommy Haas in the Round of 16. And he wouldn’t have regained the #1 ranking, breaking Pete Sampras’s record for weeks in the top spot, because he was down two sets to love in the 3rd round of Wimbledon this year against Julien Benneteau.

 

Then again, he would have won the 2009 U.S. Open over Juan Martin Del Potro and could have fared better in other majors, like the 1999 Wimbledon, the 2011 U.S. Open, and the 2002 and 2005 Australian Opens.

 

In a best of three set world, Rafael Nadal would have lost to Robin Haase in the 2nd round at Wimbledon in 2010, rather than winning the title; Novak Djokovic wouldn’t have won this year’s Australian Open or the 2011 U.S. Open; and McEnroe would have a career slam, having beaten Lendl in the final of the ’84 French, rather than blowing a two set to love lead, but he wouldn’t have won Wimbledon or the U.S. Open in 1980.

 

Neither Michael Chang nor Boris Becker would have won majors at 17, and Becker wouldn’t have won Wimbledon or the U.S. Open in 1989. The point here is twofold: first, it isn’t that uncommon for players who are trailing at the end of three sets to win the match and then go on to win the tournament, and second, the better player is more likely to prevail in best of five set encounters. For obvious reasons, fans want to see Rafael Nada late in the final, not Robin Haase; Roger Federer not Julien Benneateau. If the men’s game switched to best of 3 sets now, it would also make it difficult to compare records from one era to another.

 

But the most important reason for keeping the best of five format is that five set matches test a player’s mental and physical strength in a way that three setters don’t. All of the most dramatic men’s matches I’ve seen in my lifetime- Federer-Nadal in the final of Wimbledon in 2008, Federer- Roddick at Wimbledon in 2009, Borg-McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1980, Lendl-McEnroe at the ’84 French, Connors-Krickstein at the ’91 U.S. Open, Isner- Mahut at Wimbledon in 2010, and McEnroe-Becker at the Davis Cup in ’87- were five setters.

 

Yes, five setters are tough on the body, but at most majors, the players have a day off in between most of their matches. And, let’s face it; watching guys overcome cramps and other injuries to win is high theater. Who could forget watching Pete Sampras gut out a win over Alex Corretja at the U.S. Open in ’96 after throwing up in the plants at the back of the court?

 

Tennis writers often suggest making dramatic changes to the sport, but I love tennis too much to advocate any changes that would result in less tennis. As far as I’m concerned, the sport is just fine the way it is.

 

 

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