2014/04/16

Brian Baker Out of Australian Open with Knee Injury

 

(December 28, 2013) American Brian Baker is out of the 2014 Australian Open still nursing a  knee injury which has kept him off the tour.

The No. 360 player on the ATP tour will be replaced in the draw by French veteran Michael Llodra.

The 28-year old from Nashville Tennessee back in 2012 made one of the greatest comebacks in tennis after not playing the game for six years. He worked his way back to the ATP World Tour on the Challenger Circuit and earned a wildcard into Roland Garros.

 

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Brian Baker and Ryan Harrison Among Men’s Wild Cards at US Open

 

FLUSHING, N.Y., August 13, 2013 – The USTA announced today that Brian Baker, playing in his first Grand Slam since the 2013 Australian Open, 2012 Olympian and former world No. 43 Ryan Harrison, 2010 NCAA singles champion Bradley Klahn and 2011 NCAA singles finalist Rhyne Williams have been awarded men’s singles main draw wild card entries into the 2013 US Open. Other American men receiving US Open main draw wild cards are Rajeev Ram and 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s champion Collin Altamirano. Australia’s James Duckworth and France’s Guillaume Rufin will also receive wild cards.

 

The 2013 US Open will be played August 26-September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Both the men’s and women’s singles champions this year will earn $2.6 million, the largest payout in tennis history, with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money – for a total $3.6 million potential payout – based on their performances in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.

 

Baker, 28, of Nashville, Tenn., is attempting to make yet another remarkable comeback from injury. After being sidelined since the 2013 Australian Open in January, when he suffered a significant knee injury during his second-round match against Sam Querrey, Baker returned to competitive play last week at the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif., and has advanced to the second round of this week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Baker, now ranked No. 185, ascended to No. 52 in the world in 2012 after injuries kept him sidelined for nearly six years.

 

Harrison, 21, of Shreveport, La., rose to No. 43 in the world in 2012, the year in which he also represented the U.S. in the London Olympics and in Davis Cup. On the Emirates Airline US Open Series this summer, Harrison, now ranked No. 102, reached the semifinals at the BB&T Atlanta Open and defeated former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

 

Klahn, 22, of Poway, Calif., earned a US Open wild card as the top American points earner at select USTA Pro Circuit events this summer. The 2010 NCAA singles champion while a sophomore at Stanford, Klahn won the USTA Pro Circuit $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif., last week, catapulting to a career high rank of No. 123. Last year, Klahn received a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, qualified and reached the second round, becoming the first men’s qualifying wild card to win a US Open main draw match.

 

Williams, 22, of Knoxville, Tenn., reached his first ATP semifinal in Houston this year and played in the main draws of the French Open and the Australian Open, winning a USTA playoff to gain entry into the latter. Now at a career-high rank of No. 114, He was a 2011 NCAA singles finalist while at Tennessee, and his grandfather, Michael DePalmer, Sr., was the Volunteers’ longtime coach who helped found the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.

 

Ram, 29, of Carmel, Ind., is the highest ranked American who did not receive direct entry into the US Open at the entry deadline.  Ram owns one singles title (Newport, 2009) and seven doubles titles on the ATP World Tour and has been ranked as high as No. 78 in singles. Ram qualified and reached the second round of the 2013 Australian Open.

 

Altamirano, 17, of Yuba City, Calif., earned his wild card by winning the USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship singles title, doing so in historic fashion. Altamirano became the first unseeded player to win the tournament in the 71 years it has called Kalamazoo, Mich., home.

 

Duckworth, 21, of Sydney, Australia, received a wild card through a reciprocal agreement with Tennis Australia, which will grant an American a wild card into the 2014 Australian Open, to be determined by a USTA playoff (Rhyne Williams was the 2013 winner). Currently at a career-high rank of No. 150, Duckworth reached the second round of the 2013 Australian Open and qualified for both the French Open and Wimbledon this year.

 

Rufin, 23, of Charnay, France, received his wild card through a reciprocal agreement with the French Tennis Federation, which awarded a wild card into the 2013 French Open to an American player designated by the USTA (Alex Kuznetsov won the USTA Pro-Circuit event-based system this year). Rufin, currently ranked No. 92, has played in all three Grand Slam main draws this year, reaching the second round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

 

In addition to the eight US Open men’s singles main draw wild cards, the USTA also announced eight men who have been awarded wild card entries into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, which will be held August 20-23 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  One additional US Open qualifying wild card will be awarded to the winner of the 2013 US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, taking place August 16-19 in New Haven, Conn.

 

Players receiving 2013 US Open qualifying wild cards are: 2013 USTA Boys’ 18s National Championship runner-up Jared Donaldson (16, Cumberland, R.I.); 2011 French Open boys’ champion Bjorn Fratangelo (20, Pittsburgh, Pa.), who has won three Futures titles in 2013; Christian Harrison (19, Shreveport, La.), who reached the 2012 US Open doubles quarterfinals with his older brother, Ryan Harrison; Jarmere Jenkins (22, College Park, Ga.), who came one win short of winning the NCAA triple crown this summer, leading Virginia to its first NCAA team title, winning the NCAA doubles title and reaching the NCAA singles final; former Wimbledon and French Open boys’ semifinalist Mitchell Krueger (19, Fort Worth, Texas), who won his first pro singles title in June; UCLA sophomore Dennis Novikov (19, San Jose, Calif.), the 2012 USTA Boys’ 18s national champion who defeated 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz in the first round of last year’s US Open; local teenager Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), who has been as high as No. 6 in the world junior rankings; and Tennys Sandgren (22, Gallatin, Tenn.), a former standout at Tennessee who has won five USTA Pro Circuit Futures singles titles in the last two years.

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James Blake Leads List of Wild Cards for Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI (August 8, 2013) — Seven of the eight men’s wild cards for the 2013 Western & Southern Open have been awarded to American players, with four US players being added to the main draw and three entered into qualifying.

 

James Blake, Brian BakerRyan Harrison and Jack Sock have been granted wild cards in to the main draw.

 

In qualifying, Australian Bernard Tomic joins a trio of Americans who each reached a career high ranking last month – Steve Johnson, Denis Kudla and Rhyne Williams - in the field.

 

“We’re happy to welcome a familiar face like James back to a tournament where he has had a tremendous amount of success in his career,” said Tournament Director Vince Cicero. “At the same time, it’s exciting to offer these younger players a chance to participate in a tournament of this caliber. We look forward to having all eight of these players in Cincinnati for the Western & Southern Open.”

 

Blake, the 2007 Western & Southern Open finalist, will be making his 12th apperance at the tournament, third among active players behind Tommy Haas (14) and Roger Federer (13). He also ranks sixth among active players for wins in Cincinnati with a 15-10 record.

 

Baker, from Nashville, returned to tennis in 2012 after a series of injuries kept him sidelined for nearly six seasons. He climbed to almost No. 50 in the rankings before suffering a knee injury at the Australian Open in January that has kept him out of action until this week’s Aptos Challenger.

 

Harrison, a 21-year-old who now calls Austin, Texas, home, reached the semifinals last month at the ATP event in Atlanta. He also claimed the title at the Savannah Challenger this season. It will be his third Western & Southern Open main draw appearance.

 

Sock, a 20-year-old from Lincoln, Neb., won the title at the Challenger event in Winnetka, Ill., last month. He reached his second career ATP quarterfinal in February at Memphis. In 2010, Sock won the US Open Juniors title.

 

The four wild card entrants to the qualifying field will compete in a two-round tournament over this coming weekend for one of seven spots in the main draw.

 

Tomic, 20, is the top-ranked player from Australia. He recently reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and early this season claimed his first career title with a win in Sydney.

 

Kudla, a 20-year-old who grew up in Virginia, reached the quarterfinals at Queen’s Club in London in June.

 

Johnson, 23, won back-to-back NCAA singles champions in 2011-12 while playing for the University of Southern California. He won the Nottingham Challenger in June.

 

Williams, 22, turned pro after his sophomore year at the University of Tennessee, and was the NCAA singles finalist in 2011. He reached his first career ATP semifinal at Houston in April.

 

In addition, the following players have been added to the main draw – Radek Stepanek , Thomaz Bellucci and Denis Istomin. These three were entered following the withdrawals of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (knee), Viktor Troicki (suspension) and Marin Cilic (personal).

 

The draws for both the main draw and qualifying will be made on Friday. Qualifying begins Saturday, which is also AdvancePierre Foods Kids Day, and tickets start as low as $5. WTA main draw play begins Monday. All matches will take place at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.

 

The Western & Southern Open hosted 176,000 fans in 2012, recording a record 10 sellouts over the 16 total sessions spanning nine days. The event drew fans from all 50 states and 19 countries. Cincinnati is one of the last stops on the Emirates Airline US Open Series leading up to the US Open, and often critical points and bonus money are on the line adding drama to the week.

 

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Del Potro Leads Wednesday’s List of French Open Pullouts

Juan Martin Del Potro

(May 22, 2013) Argentine media and Reuters have reported that world No. 7 Juan Martin Del Potro has withdrawn from next week’s French Open, still suffering from a virus.

“I am sad to miss such an important tournament, one that you always dream of winning,” Del Potro was quoted on the Ultima Hora website (www.ultimahora.com).

Joining the Argentine on the sidelines will be Americans Mardy Fish and Brian Baker. No. 2. Andy Murray withdrew from the Paris event on Tuesday and will be replaced by a lucky loser.

Fish is still dealing with heart issues, while Baker is still recovering from knee surgery. Fish and Baker will be replaced by Joao Sousa of Portugal and Guido Pella of Argentina.

Withdrawals on the women’s side include – Chan Yung-jan, Alexandra Dulgheru and Lara Arruabarrena. Shahar Peer, Tatjana Maria and Nina Bratchikova will replace them.

The French Open begins this Sunday, May 26.

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Baker Retires with Injury Versus Querrey at Australian Open

 

bryan-baker

(January 16, 2013) Brian Baker was leading his fellow American No. 20 seed Sam Querrey 7-6, 1-1 when he was forced to retire due to knee injury. Baker stretched to get a wide forehand when his right knee collapsed.

ESPN2 reports that Baker has a torn lateral meniscus  in the right knee which will need surgery that will put him out of action and estimated four months.

“I didn’t see what happened,” Querrey explained.  “I hit a ball, and then he hit a ball long.  I was looking at the ballkids to grab balls for my serve, and then I looked back and he was on the ground.

“And then just asking him, he said he kind of just felt his knee almost buckle and kind of heard like a pop or a snap.  He didn’t know if it was bones or a tear, but he couldn’t straighten it, couldn’t walk.

“I feel awful for him.”

Baker’s comeback from multiple surgeries including Tommy John surgery on his elbow, began in 2012 after seven years off the tour.

“Pretty good quality first set, I thought, ” Querry said.  “We exchanged a couple breaks early, maybe a little sloppy those two games.  Then I had a break at 4‑All; he played an unbelievable point and hit a great pass.

“He was playing great.  I mean, those courts are fast.  You can kind of catch up to the return and hit through the court.  He was playing well, and, you know, I was hoping to come back and, you know, just such a bummer for him.”

The 27-year-old from Tennessee ranked 57 in the world who won his first match at the Australian Open on Monday, made the Round of 16 at Wimbledon last year.

Querrey moves into the third round where he will meet Stanislas Wawrinka.

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Uncle Sam at the Down Under Slam – Day 1 Edition

Venus Williams photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

Venus Williams photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

(January 14, 2013) Looking at how American tennis players fared on day one of the 2013 Australian Open.

American tennis players went  6-3 on the first day of the Australian Open with Venus Williams leading the way with a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Galina Voskoboeva.

“Obviously it’s nice to spend less time on the court, and not be in long sets,” Williams said after the match. She  had a first-serve percentage of 70 percent and converted on 6 of 11 break point chances.

“I don’t think my opponent quite got the hang of – you know, it’s hard to play the first match in a major, first thing of the year, and that can be a lot of pressure.” Williams said of her opponent “I did my best to just close it out.”

Sam Querrey, who is the highest ranking American man, due to the withdrawal of 13rh ranked John Isner, came back from a set down to defeat Daniel Munoz-De La Nava of Spain 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.

Querrey will take on another American in the second round, Brian Baker, who defeated American turned Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-7 (0), 3-6, 6-2.

Ryan Harrison came back from a set down to advance, defeating Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.  Bad news for Harrison – he’ll face top seed Novak Djokovic in the second round.

Spain’s Nicolas Almagro, the 1th0 men’s seed outlasted American qualifier Steve Johnson in a first round five-set marathon 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-2. Johnson was the first reigning NCAA champion to qualify for the Australian Open.

Tim Smyczek came into the tournament as lucky loser, and thanks to housemate John Isner’s withdrawal  due to a right knee injury, made it into the main draw. Smyczek was a winner on Monday with a 6-4, 7-6, 7-5 victory over Ivo Karlovic.

Veteran Michael Russell fell to No. 5 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

Touted as “one to watch” seventeen year-old Madison Keys won her first match in Melbourne on Monday with a 6-4, 7-6 (0) victory against Casey Dellacqua of Australia.

Sorana Cirstea had no problems beating American Coco Vandeweghe  6-4 6-2 in first round action.

Americans scheduled for Tuesday play in Melbourne include No. 3 Serena Williams, 29 seed Sloane Stephens, Vania King, Jamie Hampton, Melanie Oudin, Vavara Lepchencko, Lauren Davis, Rajeev Ram, and Rhyne Williams.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Baker Sails through

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The last time Brian Baker won a match at the US Open it was 2005. Since then Baker has been on the road back to tennis, battling injuries, surgeries until his comeback a few months ago.

The man from Nashville, won his second career match at the US Open seven years since the first moving past Czech Jan Hajek 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday.

“I think just being older and, you know, knowing how easy the game was taken away from me, said Baker. It’s very easy to appreciate it a lot.  I don’t take anything for granted.

 

“I remember several years watching it on TV wishing I was here, so just to be here is an awesome feeling.  And then at the same time, the competitive side kicks over and I want to do really well.

“I had some nerves,” said Baker.  “I don’t think it was probably the prettiest match ever.  A win is a win.  I felt like when I needed to I played well.  I’m not sure exactly the break point stats, but I know I didn’t get broken and was probably pretty high percentage on my conversion rate.”

Baker began the year with a ranking of 458th in the world and now he’s at 70.

“It’s always exciting to play the Open, said Baker, “but that was another sense of just pride knowing I had done it on my own.  I hope to be able to play several more US Opens, but I don’t take any of them for granted.

“My mind is in the present right now, and I still have a long way to go this next couple of weeks.”

Next up for Baker is Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia. Tipsarevic needed to rally from two sets down to get past Frenchman  Guillaume Rufin of France 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

http://youtu.be/wNHjfo4etXY

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Brian Baker, Steve Johnson, Jack Sock Issued Wild Cards for Farmers Classic

LOS ANGELES – Budding American stars Brian Baker, Steve Johnson and Jack Sock have been issued wild cards for the 86th-annual Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, July 23-29, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA. Baker and Sock will be making their Farmers Classic debuts.

 

Baker, Johnson and Sock will join two-time Farmers Classic champion and Southern California native Sam Querrey, James Blake, France’s Nicolas Mahut, Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, the tournament’s reigning doubles champion, and 2012 Wimbledon doubles champion Jonathan Marray among the leading players in the iconic event.

 

The Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition. Los Angeles County’s only top-tier pro tennis event, and an ATP World Tour stop on the Emirates Airline US Open Series, awards total prize money of $600,000.

 

Daily tickets for the Farmers Classic – the longest-running annual pro sporting event in Los Angeles – are available at www.FarmersClassic.com, Ticketmaster, or by calling (310) 825-2101. Proceeds from the Farmers Classic, held in conjunction with UCLA, benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. In 2011, the tournament and associated special events raised more than $200,000 for the SCTA, the Grammy Foundation and other charities.

 

Orange, Calif. native Johnson, 22, began his pro career this summer after graduating from USC and ending his college career as the most decorated player in NCAA men’s tennis history. He won his last 72 competitive matches, the NCAA Division I Individual Championship as a junior and senior, and became the first NCAA individual champion to win four consecutive NCAA team titles. Johnson is making his third consecutive appearance in the Farmers Classic’s main draw.

 

Baker, 27, has been a late-bloomer who has sky-rocketed up the rankings while enjoying a career year on the ATP World Tour. He reached his first ATP final in Nice as a qualifier and achieved the round of 16 at Wimbledon as a qualifier.

 

Sock, a 19-year-old Nebraskan, turned professional in 2011 after winning 18 USTA National titles as a junior and teamed with Melanie Oudin to win last year’s U.S. Open mixed doubles title at 18. He advanced to his first ATP World Tour quarterfinal this week in Atlanta.

 

Farmers Classic season tickets, mini-plans, group tickets and VIP experiences are also available at www.FarmersClassic.com or by calling (310) 824-1010, ext. 251. The Farmers Classic’s group entertainment program includes ticket discounts for groups of 10 or more, fundraising opportunities for organizations and reserved loge seating for select sessions in the intimate LA Tennis Center. Groups of 40 are eligible to participate in VIP experiences, which include the pre-match coin toss, High Five Kids Tunnel and Penn VIP On-Court Experience.

 

In addition to visiting the tournament’s official website, www.FarmersClassic.com, fans can tap into social media channels to stay updated with the latest news and information surrounding the Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, by becoming a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FarmersClassic), a follower on Twitter (@FarmersClassic), and in joining the LA Text Club by texting “LA” to 25973 (message and data rates may apply).

 

LOS ANGELES – With successful players like Stan Smith and Vic Seixas on its list of champions, the Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes Benz, has built a tradition of celebrating the American military and its veterans. The 86th edition of the popular event continues the tradition with Military Appreciation Celebration Sunday on July 29 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.

 

On July 29, active-duty military and military veterans will be honored in a special ceremony between the singles and doubles finals, and all military children 10-and-under can receive a free one-year junior SCTA membership at the Southern California Tennis Association booth. The first 50 children of military/veterans bringing the special military-appreciation flyer (available by visiting the ‘Special Events’ heading at www.FarmersClassic.com) to the SCTA booth on July 29 will receive a free T-shirt. Gates open at 11:30 a.m., with the singles final scheduled for 1 p.m.

 

The Farmers Classic takes pride in recognizing its veterans and their families by providing free tickets for all day and evening sessions throughout tournament week – July 23-29 - to active and reserve military, veterans and their families with proper military ID (limit six tickets per family per session). Additionally, the SCTA will be sending care packages to service members who are deployed in Afghanistan as part of the Adopt-a-Unit effort.

 

“This is an event that we take a great deal of pride in conducting,” Farmers Classic Tournament Director Bob Kramer said. “All of us in the tennis community owe a great deal to our military and our veterans and we see Military Appreciation Celebration Sunday as a way to give back some of what we owe these fine people.”

 

The Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition. Los Angeles County’s only top-tier pro tennis event, and an ATP World Tour stop on the Emirates Airline US Open Series, awards total prize money of $700,000.

 

Proceeds from the Farmers Classic, held in conjunction with UCLA, benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. In 2011, the tournament and associated special events raised more than $200,000 for the SCTA, the Grammy Foundation and other charities.

 

Veterans like Smith and Seixas, who served their country a generation apart, filled the precursor to the Farmers Classic, the Pacific Southwest Championships, memories and victories.

 

Drafted into the Army at the height of the Vietnam War in 1970, Smith brought his rocket serve-and-volley game into a different military venue. He spent his two-year duty (1970-72) visiting Army hospitals and bases and going on recruitment tours. Smith won the Pacific Southwest event for the first time in 1972, part of a memorable year in which he beat Ilie Nastase in a memorable, five-set match to capture Wimbledon. Smith would go on to win a doubles crown with Bob Lutz in 1976 and another LA singles title in 1977.

 

The likes of Shirley Temple, Doris Day, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn saw Seixas win singles titles in 1952, 1954 and 1957, the year in which Seixas won the U.S. Nationals – what is now known as the U.S. Open.

 

“My memories of that tournament were that I used to say it was the only tournament where the players watched the spectators, because all the movie people came out to watch,” said Seixas, who spent three-and-a-half years in the Pacific Theater during World War II, serving as an Army test pilot over New Guinea and Japan.

 

Two-time Farmers Classic champion and Southern California native Sam Querrey, fellow American James Blake, France’s Nicolas Mahut and Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, the tournament’s reigning doubles champion, are among the highlighted players entered in this month’s draw.

 

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Atlanta, a tennis town?

By Audraine Jackson

ATLANTA, Georgia – Deep south USA is usually thought of as (American) football country where high school, professional and especially college football is king! But tennis?

 

Few may immediately think of this country club game as a main staple of Georgia sports, until now.   The BB&T Open in Atlanta is in its third year and drawing some notable names from the tennis world. All four Americans scheduled to play singles at the London Olympics will play in the main draw including local talent Donald Young and John Isner along with Brian Baker and Ryan Harrison. Other notables include Marty Fish and Andy Roddick.

 

Two time Atlanta series winner Fish is looking forward to defending his title and enjoys playing in front of this fan base. “We get great support in Atlanta. Atlanta is actually one of the more fun weeks, fun cities that we go to all year. They are extremely knowledge in the game of tennis. I think there are more USTA members per capita in Atlanta than in the entire country.… It’s more natural, very easy for us to play there in front of fans like that. I certainly enjoy playing there.”

 

For the first time in the Atlanta series it will be held in an urban setting with a highly commercial background attracting more inner city patrons that previous suburban events. “As an avid sports enthusiast, I am thrilled that the BB&T Atlanta Open will be held at Atlantic Station,” said Mayor Kasim Reed.  “This unique setting will provide spectators the opportunity to enjoy world-class tennis in an urban environment with dramatic views of the Midtown and Downtown skyline.  This tournament will help solidify USTA’s designation of Atlanta as one of America’s best tennis towns.”
The Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association (ALTA), a non-profit organization devoted to recreational tennis, is a United States Tennis Association (USTA) affiliate and boasts between 70-80,000 members in the metropolitan area. When it registered in 1934 with the United States Lawn Tennis Association it was designed to promote tennis tournaments and junior tennis development.  “We are the tennis town,” said ALTA president Diane Barker. “ALTA is the largest community based tennis organization in the US. There is nothing close to the passion of the ALTA tennis player. I talk to people from around the country and from Europe and they all know about ALTA. We were the model that USTA used when they developed league play.”

 

Organizers moved the tournament from the suburbs with the goal of offering more than just a tennis experience with a commercial atmosphere of restaurants and shopping including the addition of several tournament vendors. Tickets sales are reportedly up 30% this year with the venue change.

 

“That is very important” said Barker. “It makes it an entire experience. There’s more than just the city atmosphere. The players will be amazed at what is available to them being in such a thriving metropolitan area. It’s like a self contained village within the city.”

 

Barker believes Atlanta is not as known globally as a tennis town due to limited media coverage, but she is hoping this series will change that. “Smaller tournaments period receive less coverage in the media. CNN is right down the street. I think it is tennis. Don’t know why tennis has the connotation that it is not a team sport. It’s amazing. More media coverage is the best way to get this out and change this image. If you are not from the southeast how would you know? I think Atlanta can be a forerunner in a lot of things. We are from New York, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles. We have everything here. We are not a small sleepy southern city. We are a melting pot, the best of everywhere and the weather to prove it. ALTA makes the game for the average person and the whole family can do this sport. A father, son, grandparents and parents can all play. It’s a sport you can play until your 80’ s and in Atlanta, year round!”

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Audraine Jackson is covering the BB&T Atlanta Open for Tennis Panorama News July 14-22, 2012. Audraine is a sports blogger, digital journalist and tennis addict. Follow her live updates on @tennisnewsTPN and personal twitter account @atlstoryteller.

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Baker Continues Dream run from Qualies to the Round of 16

WIMBLEDON – The clock has not yet struck midnight for American Brian Baker who has made a surprising comeback to the tour, after being away from years due to surgeries. Baker who had qualify to play Wimbledon has made it through the qualifying tournament to the round of 16 with a 6‑4, 4‑6, 6‑1, 6‑3 victory over Benoit Paire on Saturday at Wimbledon

“It’s been unreal,” Baker said of his current run from playing Challengers to making his charge to the round of 16 at Wimbledon.  “When I’m on the court I know I definitely have nerves.  Closing out the match you definitely know what’s on the table, what you can accomplish.

“I mean, I missed a few shots at the end that I probably wouldn’t miss if it was the quarters of a challenger and not trying to get to the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

“It is crazy kind of what’s going on.  But I’m still trying to stay focused on the task at hand and not get too wrapped around.

“Because once you do that, I think it’s tough to be able to play your best tennis once you’re happy that you’ve been there.  So I’m trying to every match go in there hungry and try to win the next one instead of, I’m in the Round of 16 of Wimbledon; this is awesome.

“I think it’s great when you can play on any of the biggest courts at each of the Grand Slams,” said Baker.  “I’ve played at Louis Armstrong at the Open; I’ve played now Chatrier at the French; haven’t played the Australian yet.

“I think it’s awesome anytime you can go out and play on one of those courts just because not that many people in the world get to do that.

If I ever get a chance to play on it, it would be great.  I don’t know when I was watching the tennis at that time.  I guess I was probably in the middle of recovering from one or another surgery.  I don’t know if I was thinking, I’m going to be playing right there.

“Ever since a child, I’ve always dreamed it would be great to play on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Baker will go up against 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday.

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