Venus and EleVen Aim to Shine in Charleston

CNote and Venus EleVen Exo

By Stephanie Neppl

(April 1, 2013) CHARELSTON, SC – Venus Williams is ready to return to the place which was instrumental in her qualifying mission for last year’s London Olympics. A year ago, Williams hadn’t played much due to her Sjögren’s syndrome and she was ranked No. 87 when she stepped on the Har-Tru courts in Charleston.


She made the quarters in 2012, losing to Sam Stosur in a three-set battle. From then she successfully improved her ranking, made the Olympic team and walked away with her fourth gold medal, her third doubles gold with little sister Serena.


Venus recalled the battle and says revisiting each of the tournaments which helped her achieve Olympic Gold last year reminds her of her triumphs.


“I fought very hard to get back to where I was – back to the top 20,” she said. “For me last year the triumph wasn’t winning the tournament or anything like that, it was just any accomplishment was a triumph.”


Venus admits that battling back from being ranked No. 134 in the world to No. 24 “was one of the toughest and amazing and most exhilarating things I’ve ever done in my life.”


Despite withdrawing from her second round match in Miami last month due to a back injury, Venus says she is happy to be back and ready to play.


“I really wanted to be here,” Venus said. “I love this tournament and I have really great memories from here last year.”


Also appearing on the courts in Charleston is Venus’ clothing line EleVen.

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Monday night in Charleston, Venus and her EleVen brand were featured in an exhibition match on Althea Gibson Club Court. She was joined on court by her Washington Kastles teammate Arina Rodionova, Tennis Channel’s Danielle Dotzenrod and Sports Illustrated contributing writer Courtney Nguyen, all dressed in the EleVen attire. Several local Charleston women also got the chance to play doubles in a World Team Tennis style exhibition, also dressed in EleVen.


Venus said the EleVen line is going well. “We’re good. We’re small. But we’re growing and I think that’s the best way is to grow strategically and it’s great because more than anything people really like the clothes and that’s more than half the battle.”


Venus was all smiles during the relaxed exhibition and gets one more day off before playing Monica Puig of Puerto Rico on Wednesday.


Stephanie Neppl is in Charleston covering the Family Circle Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She spends all her spare funds traveling to tennis tournaments and has played since her teen years. She has worked as Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland’s ATP and WTA tournaments. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.


Serena Williams Returns to the Family Circle Cup

 Serena Day 2 Press Conference
By Stephanie Neppl

(April 1, 2013) CHARLESTON, SC – Two-time champ and defending champion Serena Williams leads a stellar field for the 2013 Family Circle Cup in Charleston this week. Coming off a record sixth title in Miami, there’s no time for the world No. 1 to rest as she kick starts her clay season on the green clay.

Last year’s Charleston win kick started a stellar 12 months for Williams, which saw her win two slams, two Olympics gold medals and the year-end championships plus retain the number one ranking.

Williams said her semis and final last year here were amazing. She dropped just two games against Sam Stosur in the semis before winning the final 6-0,  6-1 against Lucie Safarova. “I really don’t know if I’ve played better, ever. Hopefully I can kind of rekindle some of that fire,” she said.

When discussing her Miami win, Williams said she was happy she was able to solve problems on her own when she was down, and commented that on-court coaching is not for her.

“I don’t do it so much,” she said. “For me I like to solve problems and I think in Miami I solved a lot of problems. I was down in several matches and I was able to solve and figure it out on my own.”

Although Williams doesn’t use the on-court coaching, she says she definitely notices when other players do. “I do think about it and I think like ‘OK, ha I’m in now’ so it makes me feel good,” she said.

Williams will launch her 2013 Family Circle Cup against Camila Giorgi of Italy during Tuesday’s day session.

2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki and 2010 winner Sam Stosur are the 2nd and 3rd seeds, with Sloane Stephens as the 4th seed.

Stephanie Neppl is in Charleston covering the Family Circle Cup for Tennis Panorama News. She spends all her spare funds traveling to tennis tournaments and has played since her teen years. She has worked as Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland’s ATP and WTA tournaments. Follow her live updates on Twitter at @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal Twitter @stephintheus and her blog  http://ihaveatennisaddiction.blogspot.com.


Top Three Seeds Advance at Family Circle Cup

By Rachel Vinson

CHARLESTON, SC – The top 3 seeds:  Caroline Wozniacki, Samantha Stosur, and Jelena Jankovic, cruised through their second round matches on Wednesday at the Family Circle Cup.  Two of the matches included bakery items, with Wozniacki delivering two bread sticks to Irina Falconi (6-1, 6-1) and Stosur delivering a bread stick to Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (6-1, 6-2).  Jankovic wasn’t  able to get in on the act, however she still decisively defeated Tamira Paszek 6-2, 6-3.

Last year, Caroline Wozniacki retired from the tournament due to an ankle injury she sustained during her semi-final match against Vera Zvonareva.  In her post-match news conference she was asked whether she thought of that incident while playing her first match today,   “You know, you think about it sometimes just a little bit, especially when you go up to these drop shots, and especially where I rolled it last year, then you know, that was a little bit in the back of my mind.”  However she definitely feels confident about her chances here, “I’m feeling like I’m playing good tennis, and you know, my confidence is good.  I know that the opponent has to play really well to beat me.  So I just go out there and enjoy myself and I will see how far I can go.”

In Stosur’s news conference she talked about how being the defending champion at a tournament  gives her a little extra boost of confidence, “I think it definitely maybe lifts your shoulder up a little bit, puts a smile on your face when the announcer says you’re the defending champion and he says your name.  It is a nice feeling to be back at a tournament where you’ve obviously had some success in the past.”  And when it comes to what she likes to do when she is in Charleston, which she has said is her favorite tournament, she likes to eat.  “…there’s never a shortage of good restaurants in this place, which is always good.”

Although not part of the bakery today Jankovic was still pleased with her performance, “I was sliding pretty well and I was moving the ball around pretty well.”   But she doesn’t want to look to far ahead into the tournament, “…I just want to go one match at a time.”  “I want to play my tennis and kind of get better hopefully with each match, and you know, we’ll see.”


With all the confidence oozing out of these ladies, there should definitely be good matches to come.

Rachel Vinson is the author of Onthegotennis.com and is covering Family Circle Cup  as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tweets from Charleston at @GVTennisNews and follow her on twitter at @Onthegotennis.

Previous articles:

Family Circle Cup: Sabine and Happy

Chatting with Wozniacki, Jankovic, Bartoli and Peer at the WTA All-Acess Hour at Family Circle Cup

Photos from WTA All-Access Hour at Family Circle Cup in Charleston



$ 721,000.00
APRIL 2 – APRIL 10, 2011

RESULTS – APRIL 06, 2011
Singles – Second Round

[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] I Falconi (USA) 61 61
[2] S Stosur (AUS) d P Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) 61 62
[3] J Jankovic (SRB) d T Paszek (AUT) 62 63
[WC] S Lisicki (GER) d [4] M Bartoli (FRA) 62 63
[7] N Petrova (RUS) d E Gallovits-Hall (ROU) 61 61
[Q] A Tatishvili (GEO) d [9] M Kirilenko (RUS) 57 75 63
[10] D Hantuchova (SVK) d E Rodina (RUS) 60 61
E Vesnina (RUS) d [14] B Mattek-Sands (USA) 64 76(6)
[15] B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d A Rodionova (AUS) 63 16 63

Doubles – First Round

[1] K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) d V Dushevina (RUS) / T Poutchek (BLR) 61 61
S Mirza (IND) / E Vesnina (RUS) d [2] L Huber (USA) / L Raymond (USA) 63 64
S Peng (CHN) / J Zheng (CHN) d [3] V King (USA) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 23
J Goerges (GER) / N Petrova (RUS) d A Kleybanova (RUS) / Z Yan (CHN) 26 64 10-3
D Hantuchova (SVK) / M Kirilenko (RUS) d A Hlavackova (CZE) / R Voracova (CZE) 67(8) 62 16-14
R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA) d M Kondratieva (RUS) / S Lefevre (FRA) 76(5) 67(5) 10-7
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) d [WC] S Rogers (USA) / P Schnyder (SUI) 64 67(8) 10-6

STADIUM start 11:00 am
[Q] A Tatishvili (GEO) vs [6] Y Wickmayer (BEL)

Not Before 1:00 PM
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [15] B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)
E Vesnina (RUS) vs [2] S Stosur (AUS)
[Q] S Mirza (IND) vs [WC] S Lisicki (GER)

Not Before 7:00 PM
[3] J Jankovic (SRB) vs C Scheepers (RSA)
[4] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / M Shaughnessy (USA) vs D Hantuchova (SVK) / M Kirilenko (RUS)

ALTHEA GIBSON start 11:00 am
[5] S Peer (ISR) vs [12] J Goerges (GER)

Not Before 12:30 PM
[7] N Petrova (RUS) vs [11] S Peng (CHN)
[10] D Hantuchova (SVK) vs C Mchale (USA)
[1] K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs J Goerges (GER) / N Petrova (RUS)


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Family Circle Cup: Sabine and Happy

Sabine Lisicki

By Rachel Vinson

Sabine Lisicki, one of the 6 Xperia Hot Shots, won her 1st round match today against Renata Voaracova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday at the Family Circle Cup.  Although Liscicki is very popular here in Charleston, her popularity has been overshadowed by a dog, Happy, her Yorkshire terrier that she takes with her on the tour.


Happy is being taken care of at the the tournament’s doggy daycare which is sponsored by Mighty Dog, a dog food for small dogs.  The daycare came about because Mighty Dog was working with Family Circle Cup on other projects, and realized that there was a need for a facility to take care of the player’s dogs.  The daycare opens at the start of play each day and is staffed with students training to be veterinarian technicians.


I had a chance to visit Happy while his mother was battling it out on Stadium Court and like his mother, he was not pleased with the windy weather.

Because Happy had been the only dog in the daycare on Monday, he was joined on Tuesday by another yorkie friend, Sir. Rutlegde who belongs to a Family Circle Cup volunteer.

Happy is now so popular that Lisicki was asked a few questions about him in her post-match news conference:

Q: I understand you have a very small little dog?

Sabine Lisicki: Yes


Q: There’s a place around here that keeps your dog during he day?

Sabine Lisicki: Yes


Q: It’s a very favorite I hear.  And does it make you feel more settled to be on court when you know that your puppy is near or your dog is near?

Sabine Lisicki:  Oh, definitely and also the ladies are taking good care of him.  So it’s great to have my dog with me.  And I love Happy.  His name is Happy.  And he definitely is a happy dog.  You know, it’s great to have my parents and my dog here.  So the entire family is here.


Hopefully the weather will be more favorable for both during the rest of the week.  Sabine plays Marion Bartoli next.


To learn more about the Xeperia Hot Shots click here. (http://www.sonyericsson.com/xperiahotshots/)

New Experience with Sharapova and the Hot Shots

To learn more about Mighty Dog Nation click here. (http://www.mightydognation.com)

Rachel Vinson is the author of Onthegotennis.com and is covering Family Circle Cup  as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tweets from Charleston at @GVTennisNews and follow her on twitter at @Onthegotennis.

$ 721,000.00
APRIL 2 – APRIL 10, 2011

Singles – Second Round

[5] S Peer (ISR) d S Arvidsson (SWE) 61 63
[6] Y Wickmayer (BEL) d J Zheng (CHN) 64 60
C Mchale (USA) d [8] A Kleybanova (RUS) 61 60
[11] S Peng (CHN) d A Morita (JPN) 62 61
[12] J Goerges (GER) d [Q] E Birnerova (CZE) 16 75 20 Retired
C Scheepers (RSA) d J Craybas (USA) 63 62
[Q] S Mirza (IND) d V King (USA) 67(6) 64 62
First Round
[9] M Kirilenko (RUS) d V Lepchenko (USA) 64 60
[10] D Hantuchova (SVK) d A Kudryavtseva (RUS) 61 76(3)
[15] B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d A Hlavackova (CZE) 62 26 76(6)
[Q] A Tatishvili (GEO) d J Dokic (AUS) 75 26 64
T Paszek (AUT) d M Oudin (USA) 61 75
E Gallovits-Hall (ROU) d [WC] J Hampton (USA) 76(1) 75
[WC] S Lisicki (GER) d R Voracova (CZE) 36 64 62
P Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) d S Zhang (CHN) 61 64

Doubles – First Round

[4] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / M Shaughnessy (USA) d N Grandin (RSA) / V Uhlirova (CZE) 46 75 10-0

STADIUM start 10:00 am
[7] N Petrova (RUS) vs E Gallovits-Hall (ROU)

Not Before 11:30 AM
[1] C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [Q] I Falconi (USA)
P Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) vs [2] S Stosur (AUS)
[3] J Jankovic (SRB) vs T Paszek (AUT)

Not Before 7:00 PM
[WC] S Rogers (USA) / P Schnyder (SUI) vs A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Rodionova (AUS)
[WC] S Lisicki (GER) vs [4] M Bartoli (FRA)

ALTHEA GIBSON start 10:30 am
[10] D Hantuchova (SVK) vs E Rodina (RUS)
[9] M Kirilenko (RUS) vs [Q] A Tatishvili (GEO)

Not Before 2:00 PM
[14] B Mattek-Sands (USA) vs E Vesnina (RUS)
D Hantuchova (SVK) / M Kirilenko (RUS) vs A Hlavackova (CZE) / R Voracova (CZE)
S Mirza (IND) / E Vesnina (RUS) vs [2] L Huber (USA) / L Raymond (USA)

COURT 3 start 11:00 am
[1] K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs V Dushevina (RUS) / T Poutchek (BLR)

Not Before 1:00 PM
A Rodionova (AUS) vs [15] B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)
M Kondratieva (RUS) / S Lefevre (FRA) vs R Kops-Jones (USA) / A Spears (USA)

COURT 4 start :

Not Before 1:00 PM
A Kleybanova (RUS) / Z Yan (CHN) vs J Goerges (GER) / N Petrova (RUS)
S Peng (CHN) / J Zheng (CHN) vs [3] V King (USA) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) – After suitable rest

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Chatting with Wozniacki, Jankovic, Bartoli and Peer at the WTA All-Acess Hour at Family Circle Cup

By Rachel Vinson

On Monday at the Family Circle Cup the WTA held it’s All-Access hour where the media had the opportunity to talk to the top eight seeds at the tournament in a round table format.  It is unique to the WTA and really allows for the players’ personalities to shine because it is prior to the beginning of their matches, and the atmosphere is extremely relaxed.  I was impressed with the poise of all the women, but was even more impressed with how approachable and bubbly they were as they answered several on and off-court questions.  During the hour, I was able to speak with four of the top seeds:  Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Marion Bartoli, and Shahar Peer.

The player who received the most attention was No. 1 seed and World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. I asked her about her recent trip to New York City to attempt to visit US President Barack  Obama, and her fashion choices on the court since pairing with Stella McCartney in 2009:

Tennis Panorama News: You had tweeted after your match in Miami that you left and went to New York and there were some rumors that you wanted to meet the president.  Can you talk about that a little bit?


Caroline Wozniacki: I wanted to stay in Miami actually in the beginning, wanted to relax a few days on the beach and by the pool but my friend called me and asked if I wanted to come to NY and show me a little bit around and also meet the president, and I was like, I’m not sure because it was the night I lost and it was late, and I felt it probably wasn’t going to happen.  Then I am lying by the pool and it is like 11:30 the next day and I’m thinking why not, why not go.  So I called my friend and said that I wanted to come and I go there and it ends up that it is too late to go to the dinner because all the security and everything, but definitely next time.


Tennis Panorama News: Do you follow politics closely?

Caroline Wozniacki: Not too much to be honest.  (Laughter)


Tennis Panorama News: A fashion question:  You’ve been with Stella [McCartney] since 2009. What is your favorite dress that you’ve worn?

Caroline Woznaicki: I think the US Open dress last year was really nice with the bright yellow and the dark, dark grey.


She also received some more “interesting” questions from the media:


Question: You hear certain stories about your love life and do you have a boyfriend or not, so the question that comes up is, do you have any funny stories you want to share with us about your friends trying to set you up with other famous athletes or celebrities?

Caroline Wozniacki: Ummmm.  I feel I’m put on the spot here. (Laughter)  I probably have a few funny stories but I’m not sure if I want that to come out in the media.  But, sometimes I’ve been laughing a little bit because at one point according to the media who is trying to set me up with different guys, I had 6 boyfriends in 5 weeks.  So, I thought that was very impressive.   I have no idea how that happened.  Every week I got messages from my friends, saying, “Oh great you I hear you have a new boyfriend” and the were sending me the magazines where ever I was, and I was laughing b/c there was absolutely no truth to the stories, but you can’t really do anything.  And then they also made a list of guys they thought I should be dating. So that was interesting.

Shahar Peer was part of the upbeat atmosphere as well:


Tennis Panorama: What are some things you like to do outside of tennis?

Shahar Peer: It depends when I am home or not home.  If I’m home I try to be with my friends and my family as much as possible and you know and hang out and do whatever I have to do, and when I am traveling if I have time I go for shopping or sometime I just relax and if there is anything to do like sightseeing or meet people.  It changes.


WTA:  Last question guys.

Question: How are you?


Shahar Peer: That was the last question. (Laughter)


In their interviews, both Marion Bartoli and Jelena Jankovic discussed their renewed desire to be on the court:

Question: When you have a coaching change do you look at it as a period of adjustment or as something fresh and new?

Jelena Jankovic: Coaching change is fresh and new but obviously it is still a new relationship so we are still adjusting to each other, getting to know each other, because it’s different.  He is a new person a new coach and it’s something new to me.  But it is going pretty well right now.  Working hard and giving my best on the practice court and it gives me motivation because when someone new comes on board you really feel like it is a new beginning, get yourself going again, and I feel motivated, and the most important thing is that I am healthy.  I can go on the court and really do my job and enjoy myself, and you know I’ve been 1 in the world and there were times I had lack of motivation I didn’t really feel like working hard, and I kind of fell flat and now I feel like I am back again, and I feel like I can come back and do really well again.  I was injured for the whole last 6 months of last year, I had an ankle problem I couldn’t really play, but now I am just excited and eager to be on the court and really play the game and have fun with it.

Tennis Panorama News: How hard was it to come back from your calf injury?

Marion Bartoli: It the worst moment ever.  I’ve had to deal with some tough moments of course but this one was extremely tough.


Tennis Panorama: Do you feel like you are back where you want to be?

Marion Bartoli: I honestly didn’t expect to be back that soon and that great because even the results went beyond my expectation to be able to do the final at Indian Wells.  [In Miami] I lost in 3 sets in 3 hours to Vera Zvonareva who is number 3 in the world and still have a chance to win this match, and I was feeling tired from Indian Wells so I felt  like if I would have had some normal days of recovery I would have been able to win this match. So really, I came back stronger and in a way it makes me stronger mentally b/c now when I am on the court I even battle harder b/c I am just so happy to be there.

I really enjoyed sitting across from these women to get a sense of what they were like off the court, but on Tuesday the tournament begins for them and the only thing that matters is what is left on the court.  And as fun as it was chatting with them, I am ready for some tennis.  Let the games begin.

Rachel Vinson is the author of Onthegotennis.com and is covering Family Circle Cup  as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tweets from Charleston at @GVTennisNews and follow her on twitter at @Onthegotennis.

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Photos from WTA All-Access Hour at Family Circle Cup in Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC – Rachel Vinson of  Onthegotennis is  at the Family Circle Cup tournament in Charleston this week reporting for Tennis Panorama News. Here is a gallery of Monday’s photos taken by her which include Caroline Wozniacki, Samantha Stosur, Jelena Jankovic, Shahar Peer, Marion Bartoli, Yanina Wickmayer in addition to photos from around the grounds and practice courts. Follow her twitter coverage on @GVTennisNews and her twitter account @Onthegotennis.


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