Hall of Famers Monica Seles, Tracy Austin, and Gigi Fernandez, and Rhode Island native Jill Craybas to play exhibition match in Newport on July 13


NEWPORT, R.I., May 16, 2014 -  An exhibition match featuring tennis legends Monica Seles, Tracy Austin, Gigi Fernandez, and Rhode Island native and recently retired WTA Tour player Jill Craybas has been added to the schedule of events for the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships and Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend in July.

The women’s doubles exhibition match will take place on Sunday, July 13 at 11 am at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, preceding the finals of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. While the Hall of Fame hosts the men’s tournament annually, this exhibition match is the first time that a women’s tennis event has been played in Newport in many years.

“It is always a pleasure to welcome Hall of Famers back to Newport, and it is a particularly special treat to have Monica, Tracy, and Gigi on court. We’re glad for the opportunity to host Jill to play before her hometown crowd. The exhibition match is a great addition to our tournament and enshrinement events and we know the fans will have a great time seeing these four women back in action,” commented Mark Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Tickets for the exhibition match are on sale now to members of the International Tennis Hall of Fame on HallofFameTennisChampionships.com or via phone at 401-849-6053. The Member Pre-Sale for tickets will run May 16 – May 21, and tickets will go on sale to the general public on May 22 at 10 am. Information about becoming a member is available online or by phone as well. Tickets are $15 for South Stands and $25 for Courtside Seats, with discounts available for members.

Nine-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles was the world No. 1 player for 178 weeks. She won 53 singles titles and 6 singles titles. At the age of just 16 years and 6 months, Seles won her first Grand Slam title in 1990 at the French Open, defeating then world No. 1 Steffi Graf in the final. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009.

Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992, Tracy Austin was ranked world No. 1 in the early 1980s. In 1979, at the age of 16 years and 9 months, Austin defeated Martina Navratilova and and Chris Evert en route to winning the US Open. She remains the youngest ever US Open champion to this day. She captured the title again in 1981, and won a total of 30 singles titles over the course of her career. Austin remains highly active in tennis as a broadcaster for Tennis Channel and BBC.

Doubles specialist Gigi Fernandez won 17 Grand Slam tournament doubles titles, including five consecutive French Open titles and victories at all four majors. She won 14 titles with Natasha Zvereva, making them one of the most successful doubles pairings in tennis history. Fernandez won Olympic gold medals at both the 1992 and 1996 Games and 68 career titles in women’s doubles. Originally from Puerto Rico, Fernandez now resides in Connecticut.

One of Rhode Island’s most successful pro athletes, East Greenwich native Jill Craybas enjoyed a lenghty and successful career of 17 years on the WTA Tour between 1996 and 2013. Craybas achieved a career high ranking of No. 39 in singles and No. 41 doubles. In 2002, she won the title at the Japan Open, and over the course of her career she won five doubles titles. From the 2000 US Open to the 2011 US Open, Craybas competed in 45 consecutive Grand Slam main draws. Her best result at a Grand Slam tournament was at Wimbledon in 2005 when she reached the fourth round and defeated Marion Bartoli and Serena Williams. Craybas represented the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and she was a member of the United States Fed Cup team.

Craybas began playing tennis as a recreational sport at age 10. She went on to compete for Lincoln School in Providence for two years, before relocating to Florida. She earned an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she earned a B.A. in Communications. As a senior in 1996, she won the NCAA women’s singles tennis championship. She was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. Craybas officially retired from the pro tour last September at the US Open.

The exhibition match tops off a week of tennis festivities at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event and the only men’s pro tennis tournament in New England will be held from July 5-13. Players scheduled to compete include No. 1 American John Isner and Australian great Lleyton Hewitt. On Saturday, July 12, the highest honor in tennis will be presented to five great champions and leaders of the sport in the International Tennis Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony. The Class of 2014 enshrinees are former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, wheelchair tennis champion Chantal Vandierendonck, legendary coach Nick Bollettieri, tennis industry leader Jane Brown Grimes, and tennis broadcaster and historian John Barrett.

For additional information about the events and to order tickets, please visit www.HallofFameTennisChampionships.com or call 401-849-6053.


Jill Craybas To Hang Up Racquet After the US Open


 By Vito Ellison and Josh Meiseles Special to Tennis Panorama News

(August 30, 2013) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – For nearly 18 years, Jill Craybas represented the United States on the WTA Tour. Her famous work ethic, charisma and longevity made her an instant fan favorite. At the age of 39, the Rhode Island-native revealed she will be hanging up her racquet following the US Open.


Craybas peaked at a career-high singles ranking of 39, in 2006, and will be best remembered for reaching the Round of 16 at the 2005 Wimbledon Championships after stunning Serena Williams 6-3, 7-6 in the third round.


A NCAA singles champion and graduate of the University of Florida, Craybas’ lone WTA title came at the Japan Open, in Tokyo, in 2002. She also reached the final of the 2008 Pattaya Open, in Thailand, where she fell to Agnieszka Radwanska in a third set tiebreak.


At 5’3”, Craybas was a far more accomplished doubles player during her career. With Marlene Weingartner, she reached the French Open quarterfinals in 2004 and claimed five titles from 2003 to 2012 with five different partners. Her most recent crown came in Bad Gastein, Austria, in 2012, alongside Julia Goerges.


She comes into her final US Open focusing on only doubles, teaming with compatriot Coco Vandeweghe. The American pair are set to face the Romanian duo of Alexandra Cadantu and Simona Halep in the first round.


Craybas recently sat down with Josh Meiseles and Vito Ellison  at Taste of Tennis to discuss her career, most memorable moments and future plans.


TPN: What has been your favorite place to play?

JC: Definitely in the US Open. I grew up only two hours from here so I know a lot of people here and a lot of people come to watch me play. The city has great energy and a great atmosphere so it’s nice to be back.


TPN: We see a lot of players retiring at 28, 29 years old. What’s the secret to your longevity? How do you keep yourself playing at such a high level?

JC: I’ve done a good job of making sure my fitness level is always there when competing

against the younger players , but I do have to say this is my last tournament. I probably

just decided a month ago. I’m really sad and excited.


TPN: How did you decide to hang it up?

JC: It’s a really tough decision to make because it’s been part of your life for so long. But I feel like lately my priorities have been starting to change, I’ve been starting to want other things in my life. I really struggled this past year with my tennis and how I was doing. I started pursuing some other things and started getting interested in other things, but it’s never an easy decision. You never know when you want to stop, but you kind of come to terms with it sooner or later.”


TPN: What has kept you motivated all these years?

JC: I’ve always loved the competition. I’ve always loved playing. I’ve always loved the

game. Loved going out and hitting. Loved going out and competing. Every day I feel like

you’re learning something new. With your losses you learn something, with your wins

you learn something. It’s always kept me really, really motivated. Learning new things and always trying to get better and better. And you hear that from the top players too. They’re always trying to get better and better. Ones that are number one in the world are always trying to get that extra edge.


TPN: A lot of memories, obviously. Are there a few that really stand out?

JC: Definitely when I beat Serena at Wimbledon. Not only was it one of the biggest stages, it was the third round of Wimbledon and was one of the biggest wins of my career. I remember points of that match that even when I lost the point the energy of the crowd was amazing. There were moments when I felt that this is what I play for. The feeling, the energy you get from the crowd, the competition, the amazing points that you have and that was one that really stuck out for me.


TPN: You’re in the (singles) main draw?

JC: I’m not playing singles, I’m hoping to play doubles here with Coco Vandeweghe. She is a really great person I can finish with.


TPN: Do you have any post-career projects you are working on?

JC: I’m taking a photography class online. Doing a little bit of commentating here and there. I’m not sure if it’s something I want to pursue but it’s something I’ve been interested in.


Taste of Tennis Brings Tennis Stars and Culinary Celebrities Together for Pre-US Open Soirée


Serena Williams photo by Josh Meiseles

Serena Williams photo by Josh Meiseles

By  Vito Ellison  and Josh Meiseles Special to Tennis Panorama News

(August 22, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – There are few tennis events that reveal players’ personalities and exhibit their creativity outside the court quite like the Taste of Tennis. An annual pre-US Open event in midtown Manhattan, the Taste of Tennis serves as an amalgam of tennis, fashion and a premier culinary showcase from some of New York’s finest restaurants.


The 14th annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis was held Thursday evening with proceeds benefitting the James Beard Foundation, an organization that helps develop the culinary arts. Serena Williams hosted a star-studded event, featuring former ATP Top-10 talents James Blake and Janko Tipsarevic, as well as WTA stars Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams.



ESPN analyst and former World No. 4 Brad Gilbert made an appearance, along with doubles legend Mark Woodforde. Two-time Winter Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan also took part in the festivities.

“I had two or three different sushis, the little slider was good. Very good food,” the always animated Gilbert exclaimed. “This event I think I’ve gone every single year for 15 years and the lady behind it Judy Lerner is good people right there.”

Among the chefs that participated, Top Chef Masters champion Marcus Samuelsson joined fellow alums Harold Dieterle, Dale Talde, Jesse Schenker and Jonathan Waxman. World-renowned chef David Burke was also on hand.


There was plenty of tennis discussion on the red carpet, with Tipsarevic discussing the grind of the ATP Tour and the current state of his game. “You really need to be focused every single day of your life, because you have other younger and better guys who are working to take your spot. I kind of lost my focus a bit and you can see the results. But I’m feeling good now, I’m playing good, it’s not the end of the world and I hope I’ll be back in the Top-10.”


Blake also commented on whether the J-Block will be out in full force at the US Open. “I think they’ll be here. They might not be as big as they used to be, because my friends had to go out and actually get real jobs, so some of them can’t make it out to the day matches. If there’s a night match, there’ll be plenty of J-Blockers.”

The evening also included some breaking news as 39-year-old Jill Craybas, who reached a career-high singles ranking of 39 in 2006, revealed that she will be retiring from professional tennis following the US Open.

“It’s a really tough decision to make because it’s been part of your life for so long,” Craybas said. “But I feel like lately my priorities have been starting to change, I’ve been starting to want other things in my life. I really struggled this past year with my tennis and how I was doing. I started pursuing some other things and started getting interested in other things, but it’s never an easy decision. You never know when you want to stop, but you kind of come to terms with it sooner or later.”

The BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis benefited the James Beard Foundation. The event was produced by AYS Sports Marketing.



Craybas, Davis, Stephens and Rezai are Among the US Open Women’s Wildcards


Americans Jill Craybas, USTA Girls’ 18s Champion Lauren Davis, Jamie Hampton, Alison Riske, and teenager Sloane Stephens, along with Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and France’s Aravane Rezai have been granted main draw wildcards into the 2011 US Open Tennis Championships:   The 2011 US Open will be played August 29 – September 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

One more main draw wildcard will be awarded to the winner of the 2011 US Open Wild Card Playoff held by USTA Player Development at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, one of the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers, in College Park, Md., this week.


The US Open qualifying wild cards are: 2011 Wimbledon girls’ singles champion Ashleigh Barty (15, Ipswich, Australia); 2008 Orange Bowl champion Julia Boserup (19, Newport Beach, Calif.); 2010 US Open girls’ singles champion Daria Gavrilova (17, Moscow, Russia); two-time USTA Girls’ 18s finalist Nicole Gibbs (18, Santa Monica, Calif.), a rising sophomore at Stanford; 2010 Easter Bowl champion Krista Hardebeck (16, Santa Ana, Calif.); Madison Keys (16, Boca Raton, Fla.), who won her first professional title on the USTA Pro Circuit in June, 2010; Jessica Pegula (17, Boca Raton, Fla.),  and Taylor Townsend (15, Stockbridge. Ga.), who reached the semifinals at last week’s USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships.


Cincinnati Tournament Awards Main Draw Wildcards to McHale, Stephens; Qualies Wildcards to Oudin, Robson

Nine wildcards have been announced for the Western & Southern Open. Main draw wild cards have been awarded to Americans Christina McHale and Sloane Stephens as well as Japan’s Ayumi Morita.


Wildcards named for the qualifying tournament are Americans Madison Brengle, Jill Craybas, Alexa Glatch, Varavara Lepchenko and Melanie Oudin along with Great Britain’s Laura Robson.


“We’re excited to have the opportunity to invite these players to our already deep field,” said Tournament Director Vince Cicero. “To add players of this caliber to both the main draw and qualifying field reinforces the idea that there will great, competitive tennis every day during the tournament.”


The Western & Southern Open will be held August 13-21, 2011 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, 20 miles north of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. For more information http://www.cincytennis.com/