October 4, 2015

Nadal, McEnroe, Hewitt Keep Focus On Tennis at JMTP Benefit

Nadal McEnroe at Randalls Island

By Vito Ellison

(August 26,2015) NEW YORK, NY -With drawing cards like 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal, 2001 US Open champion Lleyton Hewitt and the legendary John McEnroe himself, it’s no surprise that the Johnny Mac Tennis Project drew a near-capacity crowd to Randall’s Island on a balmy Wednesday evening for the fifth edition of his Johnny Mac Tennis Project (JMTP) exhibition. The event was held to raise funds used to provide financial assistance to qualified young tennis players.  Sportime Clubs, home of last night’s event and McEnroe’s eponymous tennis academy and the JMTP, have already provided over $2 million in scholarships and assistance in part paid for by this annual event.

Long considered an iconoclast in the sometimes hidebound world of tennis, McEnroe’s mellower side was on display at last night’s event.  He was effusive in thanking his guests, particularly Nadal, of whom he said “He’s done me a huge favor and I owe him one big time,” said McEnroe.  “He’s come here for nothing and it is very, very much appreciated.” In another exchange he added, “When you get to be stature of Rafael Nadal, you expect people to come up to you, even the older players, to pay respect to you. Rafael’s never been that type.”

While McEnroe’s was unguardedly positive about Nadal he adopted a different, more protective stance regarding Nick Kyrgios. With McEnroe’s desire to keep the event and crowd focused on the good work of the JMTP, Kyrgios, who to his credit honored his commitment to attend, was largely relegated to the background. With Kyrgios still under heavy fire in the court of public opinion for his comments in a match against Stan Wawrinka two weeks ago, McEnroe announced to the gathered press that the Aussie would not be playing singles against Nadal as initially scheduled. “Nick Kyrgios is going to be playing doubles with me, along with my brother [Patrick] and Jonas Bjorkman,” McEnroe started. “I made a decision based on some of the ongoing stuff. While I want to be supportive of Nick and think he’s a tremendous talent…It would be better served for him at this particular time to maybe take a step back.”

Top draw Rafael Nadal would instead square off against another former World No. 1 in Lleyton Hewitt for an eight-game pro set.  The match, though just an exo, was typical of the Spaniard’s two steps forward/two steps back season-to-date. Nadal flashed vintage moments including an well-placed ace that helped him dig out of a love-40 hole on serve and a screaming backhand down-the-line winner that brought a big smile to his face and a 4-1 lead on the scoreboard.  The sparkling moments were tempered though by frustrating periods of imprecision.  He gave the net tape a workout at points and seemed to guide more shots than usual long.  The inconsistency left Nadal, who opened up a 6-3 lead in the eight game pro set scrambling to keep the lid on Hewitt in an 8-7(5) win that was closer than the early going would have indicated.

The exhibition was held in advance of the year’s final major, the US Open which commences Monday.


Andy Roddick and James Blake to Face-off in Legends Event at Connecticut Open on Thursday Evening


For the second year, the Connecticut Open will bring together some legends for two  evenings of tennis. On Thursday, August 27, Blake will play Roddick, and on Friday, August 28, McEnroe will battle Courier. Both matches will be the second match of the evening session, following the WTA quarterfinal and semifinal match, respectively. The Legends match will be best of three sets, with a super tiebreak for the third set.


McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam singles and nine-time Grand Slam doubles Champion, will be returning to New Haven for the first time since 1992.
Blake, a two-time Connecticut Open Champion with 10 singles tournaments and seven doubles titles to his name, Roddick, a former World No. 1 player and US Open Champion, and Courier, a former World No. 1 and four-time Grand Slam Champion, entertained the crowds over two nights in 2014, and the event drew rave reviews from fans.


“Our 2014 Legends Event was a huge success for the Connecticut Open, and we are expecting the 2015 event to be even better this year with the addition of legendary John McEnroe,” said Worcester. “James Blake, Andy Roddick and Jim Courier will again showcase how mixing humor, fun and great tennis can create a dynamic evening that enhances the overall fan experience at the tournament.”


Thursday, August 27 (Session 9)
James Blake vs. Andy Roddick
Friday, August 28 (Session 11)
John McEnroe vs. Jim Courier



$ 754,163.00
21-29 AUGUST 2015

Singles – Second Round

[2] P. Kvitova (CZE) d M. Keys (USA) 46 61 62
[3] [WC] C. Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] R. Vinci (ITA) 64 67(6) 76(7)
[5] K. Pliskova (CZE) d [Q] O. Savchuk (UKR) 64 61
[7] [WC] A. Radwanska (POL) d A. Cornet (FRA) 64 62

Doubles – Quarterfinals

[4] J. Goerges (GER) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d [WC] L. Davis (USA) / A. Riske (USA) 63 62
C. Chuang (TPE) / C. Liang (CHN) d E. Hrdinova (CZE) / N. Melichar (USA) 16 64 10-6

Championship – Quarterfinals

[1] J. Peralta (CHI) / M. Seeberger (USA) d A. Matias (USA) / D. Pume (UKR) 64 64
V. Mirzadeh (USA) / J. Witten (USA) d [Alt] K. Kessler (USA) / G. Kushnirovich (USA) 75 60
D. Cochrane (GBR) / P. Simmonds (USA) d J. Sheehy (USA) / P. Wynn (USA) 75 64
A. Fisher (AUS) / N. Healey (AUS) d [Alt] J. Haig (USA) / B. Tso (USA) 63 61

Championship – Quarterfinals

Y. Schnack (USA) / K. Zheltova (BLR) d R. Asatrian (USA) / K. Fahey (USA) 63 61
J. Cao (USA) / D. Spicer (USA) d B. Collens (USA) / M. Fuca (USA) 61 63
M. Jansen (USA) / E. Routliffe (CAN) d L. Dekmeijere (LAT) / K. Traxler (USA) 75 62
A. Anghelescu (USA) / C. Price (USA) d I. Bolotova (RUS) / D. Sescioreanu (ROU) 26 64 10-7

Championship – First Round

[1] D. Lao (USA) / J. Wang (USA) d V. Mirzadeh (USA) / A. Sargeant (GBR) 62 64
R. Doverspike (USA) / C. Price (USA) d S. Rider (USA) / M. Stillwagon (USA) 62 63
J. Cako (USA) / J. Kielbowicz (USA) d K. Christian (USA) / C. Wettengel (USA) 75 61
[Alt] K. Mcnabney (CAN) / M. Seeberger (USA) d T. Faulkner (USA) / S. Jardim (BRA) 60 46 10-6
A. Daescu (ROU) / A. Perianu (ROU) d L. Cook (USA) / A. Okuno (JPN) 63 64
H. Maslau (BLR) / S. Weymar (GER) d N. Kenner (USA) / K. Traxler (USA) 64 64
D. Boyer (USA) / J. Schiller (AUT) d T. Larson (USA) / A. Nelson (USA) 62 76(8)
G. Brodsky (USA) / B. Wilson (USA) d R. Asatrian (USA) / I. Shatashvili (USA) 60 62

STADIUM start 1:00 pm
WTA – [LL] L. Tsurenko (UKR) vs [5] K. Pliskova (CZE)
WTA – [4] [WC] L. Safarova (CZE) vs D. Cibulkova (SVK)
WTA – [7] [WC] A. Radwanska (POL) vs [2] P. Kvitova (CZE)

Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA – C. Garcia (FRA) vs [3] [WC] C. Wozniacki (DEN)
Men’s Legends – J. Blake (USA) vs A. Roddick (USA)

GRANDSTAND start 1:00 pm
WTA – [3] H. Chan (TPE) / C. Dellacqua (AUS) vs A. Groenefeld (GER) / J. Larsson (SWE)
WTA – A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) / A. Parra Santonja (ESP) vs [2] R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA)

COURT 1 start 1:00 pm
USONP Women’s Doubles – Y. Schnack (USA) / K. Zheltova (BLR) vs J. Cao (USA) / D. Spicer (USA)
USONP Men’s Doubles – D. Cochrane (GBR) / P. Simmonds (USA) vs A. Fisher (AUS) / N. Healey (AUS)
USONP Mixed Doubles – D. Boyer (USA) / J. Schiller (AUT) vs G. Brodsky (USA) / B. Wilson (USA)
USONP Mixed Doubles – [1] D. Lao (USA) / J. Wang (USA) vs R. Doverspike (USA) / C. Price (USA)

COURT 2 start 1:00 pm
USONP Women’s Doubles – M. Jansen (USA) / E. Routliffe (CAN) vs A. Anghelescu (USA) / C. Price (USA)
USONP Men’s Doubles – [1] J. Peralta (CHI) / M. Seeberger (USA) vs V. Mirzadeh (USA) / J. Witten (USA)
USONP Mixed Doubles – A. Daescu (ROU) / A. Perianu (ROU) vs H. Maslau (BLR) / S. Weymar (GER)
USONP Mixed Doubles – J. Cako (USA) / J. Kielbowicz (USA) vs [Alt] K. Mcnabney (CAN) / M. Seeberger (USA)


Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe Compete At 2015 Johnny Mac Tennis Project Benefit at SPORTIME Randall’s Island Wednesday, August 26

Rafael Nadal is ousted in the third round by fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in Miami.

Rafael Nadal

NEW YORK, July 8, 2015 – It will be a great night of tennis for a great cause when 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal joins Hall of Famer and fellow former World No. 1 John McEnroe, plus other tennis stars, legends and celebrities, on Wednesday, August 26, for a gala evening to benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. The benefit night will take place at SPORTIME Stadium on Randall’s Island.

In the main event of the evening, the Spanish superstar will compete against another top ATP professional or legend to be announced. The evening will also include pro-celebrity doubles action, featuring Johnny Mac and friends, promising junior players from the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, a lively auction and great hospitality, with all net proceeds to support the efforts of Johnny Mac Tennis Project, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

JMTP provides scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area, as well as introducing the sport to hundreds of new junior players each year in the neighborhoods surrounding Academy locations. JMTP benefit nights in previous years have featured Bjorn Borg (2011), Andre Agassi (2012), Jim Courier (2013) and Novak Djokovic (2014). JMTP and Sportime Clubs, home of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, have already provided over $2.0 million in scholarships and no cost programming to young players in NYC and its surrounding communities. SPORTIME Randall’s Island has been the flagship location of JMTA since 2010.

Rafa has meant so much to tennis and I’m excited that he’s agreed to be a part of this great cause,” said McEnroe. “He is a first-class individual and has proven to be one of the best players of all time. His participation is a perfect continuation of the tradition of this important annual event.”

Nadal, 29, is one of just 10 players to win the Career Grand Slam (nine French Open, two Wimbledon, two US Open, one Australian Open), among his 66 career singles titles. The Mallorca native first reached No. 1 in 2008, returning in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 while finishing in the top three nine times in the past 10 years. His 14 Slam titles tie him for second all-time with Pete Sampras, behind Roger Federer (17).

As ferocious a competitor as tennis has ever produced, steely in his resolve, unwavering in his convictions, McEnroe was a left-hander who played with singular verve and sparkle. A New Yorker with rare talent, his imagination knew no boundaries. McEnroe’s touch on the volley was golden, and his match playing instincts were remarkably sound. He claimed the US Open crown four times and was victorious at Wimbledon three times. He was an American Davis Cup stalwart, and many believe he may be the greatest doubles player of all time.

Tickets start at $75. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.JMTPBenefit.com/rafa.


John McEnroe, James Blake, Andy Roddick, and Jim Courier To Compete in Legends Event at Connecticut Open

John McEnroe
(Feb. 26, 2015) NEW HAVEN, Conn. – John McEnroe, James Blake, Andy Roddick, and Jim Courier, four of the best American tennis players of all time, will compete in the Legends Event at the 2015 Connecticut Open, to be held August 21-29, at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, it was announced today by Anne Worcester, tournament director.
For the second year, the tournament will bring together some of the game’s most well-known and talented legends for two entertaining evenings of tennis. On Thursday, August 27, Blake will play Roddick, and on Friday, August 28, McEnroe will battle Courier. Both matches will be the second match of the evening session, following the WTA quarterfinal and semifinal match, respectively. The Legends match will be best of three sets, with a super tiebreak for the third set.
McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam singles and nine-time Grand Slam doubles Champion, will be returning to New Haven for the first time since 1992. One of the most talented players in history, he accumulated more than 150 singles and doubles championships in his career, and in 1984, had one of the greatest seasons in the history of tennis winning two majors (Wimbledon, US Open), 13 of 15 singles tournaments, and compiled an 82-3 record for the year, which still stands as the best year-long winning percentage on the ATP World Tour. McEnroe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.
“I look forward to competing against Jim Courier in New Haven later this year.  Both Jim and I will be prepared to give our very best to make sure the fans get their money’s worth.  New Haven has a rich tennis history so it will be good to be a part of the Connecticut Open.”
Blake, a two-time Connecticut Open Champion with 10 singles tournaments and seven doubles titles to his name, Roddick, a former World No. 1 player and US Open Champion, and Courier, a former World No. 1 and four-time Grand Slam Champion, entertained the crowds over two nights in 2014, and the event drew rave reviews from fans.
“Our 2014 Legends Event was a huge success for the Connecticut Open, and we are expecting the 2015 event to be even better this year with the addition of legendary John McEnroe,” said Worcester. “James Blake, Andy Roddick and Jim Courier will again showcase how mixing humor, fun and great tennis can create a dynamic evening that enhances the overall fan experience at the tournament.”

James Blake on a Roll as the Champions Shootout Comes to Sacramento

(L-R Andy Roddick, James Blake and John Isner)

(L-R Andy Roddick, James Blake and John Isner)

By Kevin Ware

(February 26, 2014) World-class men’s tennis returns to Northern California tonight with the Champions Shootout: the next stop on the PowerShares Series 12-city tour.  Featuring a roster of tennis icons and legends, the PowerShares Series combines the best of competitive tennis and fan appreciation in a condensed format that’s fun for both the players and fans alike.

The last PowerShares visit to the Bay Area saw Jim Courier, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, and Todd Martin battling it out for supremacy (and rankings points) in San Jose. This time around, Sacramento is the battleground. And stalwarts Courier and McEnroe are joined by Pete Sampras and series newcomer, James Blake.

McEnroe currently leads the rankings, followed by Courier and PowerShares newcomer Andy Roddick. Blake, however, is quietly making a run for the top spot after picking up his first PowerShares title with a 7-6 (5) win over McEnroe in Salt Lake City.

It’s hard to believe that Blake only just retired from the pro ranks this past fall at the ripe old age of 28. Hard to believe, maybe, but understandable given the toll that injuries have taken on his body over the years.

After struggling in qualifying rounds through most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Blake made his official retirement announcement at the 2013 US Open, after a first-round loss to Ivo Karlovic.

With pro tennis seemingly behind him, Blake looked ready finally enjoy some quality time with his wife and young daughter. But the lure of competition proved too strong, so five months later he’s back on the courts: hitting blistering forehands as though he never left, and having a good time with his old friends.

Blake’s first outing in Denver ended in a finals loss to Andre Agassi. His second was another finals loss to his good buddy Roddick in Houston. The third time definitely proved to be the charm, however, with his win in Salt Lake City. At this rate, McEnroe had better watch his back in Sacramento!

The Champions Shootout begins at 3PM with a special “Play with the Pros” on-court hitting session with Sampras and Blake, followed by a second session featuring McEnroe and Courier at 4PM. Semifinal match play begins at 6PM, with the winners advancing to the finals immediately afterward.

Kevin Ware is in Sacramento covering the Powershares event, The Champions Shootout as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.


John McEnroe Expands Role at ESPN to that of Radio Show Host

John McEnroe

(February 17, 2014) ESPN tennis analyst and Hall of Famer John McEnroe will expand his role beyond tennis to include year-round, non-tennis appearances on television and radio.  The 17-time Major winner (seven in singles, nine in doubles, one in mixed doubles) has worked the US Open for ESPN since 2009 and Wimbledon since 2012.


In addition to his work on tennis, McEnroe will serve as an analyst on SportsCenter discussing major topics of all sorts and handling sit-down interviews with top sports stars.  He also will make regular appearances on ESPN2’s Olbermann and on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, also seen weekday mornings on ESPN2.  In addition, he also will also be heard on ESPN Radio New York (98.7 FM).


“Before John was a superstar in tennis, he was a sports fan…with sharp opinions and wit, as we’ve seen on our tennis productions,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production.  “His no-holds barred insights and personality will enliven whatever program or platform he is on,”


John McEnroe said, “I am excited about my expanded role with ESPN.  It should be interesting and fun, as a life-long sports fan, to be able to voice my opinions on a variety of sports programs and forums, alongside some of the most talented people in the industry. The broad platform offered by ESPN makes it the perfect place for me to bring my point of view to all sports, not just tennis. ”


McEnroe won 77 singles titles in his career, highlighted by four US Open titles and three at Wimbledon.  He also won 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles.  Although a loss, his five-set duel with Bjorn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Final – highlighted by McEnroe surviving an 18-16 fourth set tiebreak – is one of the most memorable events in tennis history.  An avid Davis Cup participant, he led the U.S. to five championships and later served as the team’s captain.  He also won the NCAA singles and team titles while attending Stanford.  In 2010, John founded the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in his hometown of New York City, where he is now working daily to develop the next great group of American tennis players.


Tennis Legends Gather At ‘No. 1 Celebration’ To Commemorate 40 Years Of Emirates ATP Rankings


From the ATP World Tour – AUGUST 24, 2013 -NEW YORK — ATP World Tour No. 1s past and present gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings at the ‘No. 1 Celebration’, Friday night at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Ilie Nastase, who became the first ATP World No. 1 on 23 August 1973, was present to be honoured on the night, along with successors John Newcombe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Marcelo Rios, Carlos Moya, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Gustavo Kuerten, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

The legends each took part in an on-stage Q&A with Justin Gimelstob and Guy Forget, sharing their experiences of reaching the summit of world tennis, before posing for a group photo with the ATP World Tour No. 1 trophy. Each year-end No. 1 received an engraved replica of the trophy.

No. 1 Celebration  Nadal, Federer

“It’s definitely an ultimate goal for any athlete, not just tennis players,” said current World No. 1 Djokovic. “Growing up, in early childhood, you are inspired to show that love and appreciation and passion towards the sport, and of course there is this big drive – waking up every morning, working so hard, developing skills to be No. 1 in the world. Not many players have achieved that and to sit with fellow champions, it’s an incredible feeling… I’m really honoured to be here.”

Watch Highlights Of No. 1 Celebration

Federer, who held the No. 1 ranking for a record 302 weeks, spoke about sharing the stage with the players who inspired him. “It was very important for me to have someone to look up to. Stefan was one of them, so it’s nice to see you here tonight and all the others players… We’ve put such huge effort in the game, and that’s a platform we can enjoy today. So it’s unbelievable. Thanks for being an inspiration Stefan, all of you here today.”

On a lighter note, a self-deprecating Roddick said, “It is an honour to be the worst player in the room.” Fellow American Courier added, “It’s a great honour to be here among friends. I dreamed of being in this arena, and to be part of this group is mind-blowing.”

Year-End No. 1s  McEnroe, Djokovic

The evening, part of the broader ATP Heritage programme, also included a tribute to former ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett, who passed away in May following a battle with Motor Neurone Disease. Drewett founded the ATP Heritage programme earlier this year.

“Brad cherished the history of the ATP and men’s professional tennis in general,” said Mark Young, CEO ATP Americas. “Tonight’s celebration is a reflection of that. It was his vision to see all the No. 1 players gathered together as we honoured their achievements.”

The ATP Heritage programme, with the support of its founding partner Rolex, will continue to serve as a platform to celebrate the rich history of the ATP and the remarkable achievements of the world’s greatest players throughout history.


McEnroe, Courier, and Rafter Discuss Anti-Doping Efforts in Tennis

By Amy Fetherolf‏

(November 6, 2012) Since the release of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s report on how Lance Armstrong gamed the system to avoid testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, many have questioned whether something similar could happen in tennis.


Indeed, one of the doctors implicated in the Armstrong case for orchestrating a doping regime for the entire United States Postal Service cycling team also treated tennis players, including Sara Errani and Dinara Safina.


When asked about doping in tennis at a PowerShares Series event in Philadelphia, John McEnroe expressed confidence in the International Tennis Federation’s anti-doping program.


“I think you can take any sport, but I think it’s as rigorously tested as any sport other than the Olympics that I’m aware of,” McEnroe said. “Maybe more so than any other sport, whether it’s football, basketball. I’ll bet you there’s way more testing and way more stringent testing in tennis than in any of those team sports.”


Jim Courier also backed the ITF’s anti-doping program.


“We use WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), and we’re on the Olympic Code, which is a pretty stringent code. Players do out-of-competition testing that’s unannounced. They have to give their whereabouts for one hour of the day, every day of the year. If they’re not where they say they are, that counts as a positive test against them. We have the rules in place. We have, I think, the best drug testing system around that I’m aware of.”


“No idea [if it’s a problem in tennis]. I hope to think there’s not,” Patrick Rafter said. “I think there’s always a case here and there, but I don’t think it’s a big problem like cycling was. I hope there’s not an issue, but there’s always the potential.”


Though Courier put his support behind the ITF’s testing program, he acknowledged that there was opportunity for players to take advantage of the system.


“I think that given the great rewards that are out there in tennis, and given human nature, people will cut corners where you give them leeway to do so. I think you have to put your head in the sand to think that people wouldn’t try and cut corners given what’s on the line if you do well in our sport. Look at Wall Street. People cut corners there because there are great monetary rewards. Anywhere you go in the world, this is human nature. We’re not immune to that. I don’t think we have a problem, but we’re not immune to that.”


“Everyone wants to see a situation where there’s a level playing field,” McEnroe said. “So it continues to be something that would be an issue for all sports, I would think.”

Amy Fetherolf‏  was in Philadelphia covering the PowerShares event for Tennis Panorama. She is the founder of the tennis news site Drop Shot Dispatch and a co-founder of the new tennis site The Changeover.  Follow her on twitter at @AmyFetherolf.


Rafter Rallies Past McEnroe To Win NASDAQ Indexes Cup in Madison Square Garden

(November 5, 2012) NEW YORK, NY– Two-time US Open Champion, Australia’s Patrick Rafter won his second PowerShares Series title in four days by defeating hometown boy John McEnroe, 8-3 in the championship match of the NASDAQ Indexes Cup Monday night at Madison Square Garden. Rafter won last Friday’s event I Philadelphia. Rafter, down 1-3 in the final, won the next seven games to take the match.


“It’s just a thrill for me to be back out here competing in front of the fans again,” said Rafter. “I had never played in this building, so what an added thrill, and a dream come true for me. I can’t thank the fans enough for coming out tonight to watch us play, in light of what this part of the country has been through lately. I hope we were able to provide some good entertainment.”

Rafter who promised before the match that he would serve and volley on every chance he could, used his aggressiveness to take down Pete Sampras 6-3 in the first semifinal of the night. Sampras was sporting knee-high socks due to a calf strain.


In the second semifinal, New York’s own John McEnroe, zoomed out to a 4-0 lead over Andre Agassi. Agassi eventually gained back the two service breaks to draw even on serve at 4-5, but McEnroe broke him to seal the match 6-4.


For Rafter, this was his first time playing in Madison Square Garden. “I’m excited,” he said before the matches began. He said that had attended the Knicks game on Sunday and it made him very nervous. He said that he’d hope to play well and that he did.

The win moves Rafter into a tie for third in the 2012 PowerShares Series rankings with Jim Courier.

Monday Night Scores
Semifinal 1: Rafter def. Sampras, 6-3
Semifinal 2: McEnroe def. Agassi, 6-4
Final: Rafter def. McEnroe, 8-3

1.            McEnroe              1200
2.            Sampras               1100
3.            Courier                 800
Rafter                   800
5.            Lendl                     400
6.            Chang                   200
7.            Agassi                   100
Martin                    100

More to follow


McEnroe, Courier and Rafter Weigh in on Big Four Debate

By Amy Fetherolf‏

(November 5, 2012) PHILADELPHIA – Ever since 2003 when Roger Federer burst onto the tennis scene and began an era of domination, which now extends to the so-called “Big Four” of Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic, the tennis world has questioned how long it can go on.

As the 2012 tennis season wraps up, with just the World Tour Finals left, that question remains unanswered. Each of the Big Four captured one Slam title apiece this year.

“At some stage, things will change. It’s not a question of if, it’s when,” John McEnroe said at a Philadelphia stop on the PowerShares Series Tour. “But it’s hard to say when exactly that will be. Obviously Nadal’s health is an issue, and Roger’s not getting any younger. I suspect that you’ll see these guys hopefully around for a couple more years.”

Jim Courier expressed admiration for the way the Big Four have sustained their success, winning an astonishing 30 of the last 31 Majors.

“I think what the top four have done has been unprecedented as far as the level of consistency they’ve shown, and the level of dominance they’ve shown over the field,” Courier said.

“I just don’t know how they can keep it up. Honestly, the physical taxation that the game takes from them, the mental toll it takes, all the sponsorship requirements, all the pressure that’s on them to perform every week. I’m in awe of their consistency.”

The second tier of players stands separated from the top four by a Grand Canyon-like gulf. The three strongest contenders, Juan Martin del Potro (the only non-Big Four man to win a Slam since 2005), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Tomas Berdych, struggle to earn wins over the Big Four. In 2012 against Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, and Murray, Tsonga was 0-7, del Potro was 2-8, and Berdych was 2-7.

“You’ve got guys like del Potro, Tsonga, Berdych, Ferrer,” Patrick Rafter said. “Roger’s not playing like he was five years ago, that’s just a simple fact. He’s still putting himself in contention to win Grand Slams, but he’s not going to be as dominant as he was. And Nadal is having problems as well. You can see Djokovic and Murray certainly hanging around, but Nadal’s a big question mark, and Roger’s slowing down, but I think he’ll still be around in the mix. There’s definitely room for the new guys coming up.”

But Courier was reluctant to write off a few more years of Big Four domination.

“We haven’t seen any cracks in that façade, really,” Courier said. “It’s been again a year where the Big Four won all the Majors, and this year it’s been a true split. So I think it’s even more interesting from that standpoint. Who’s going to wrestle control the way Novak did in 2011? This year was more up for grabs, and Murray certainly has become a bigger part of the competition.”

McEnroe feels that del Potro is the most promising non-Big Four contender to win a Major in 2013.

“If I had to pick one guy that would win a Major if he remains healthy, it would probably be del Potro,” McEnroe said. “He’s won one, so it wouldn’t be a total shock. He’s put himself back in the position to do that. There’s a handful of guys who could do it, and someone’s going to do it, but he’d be the one guy I’d have to pick over anyone else.”

Courier agreed with McEnroe’s sentiment on the Argentinian.

“I love del Potro’s game,” Courier said. “I think he’s one of the few guys who really has the weaponry to stand up against those top four guys on a consistent basis. He needs some good fortune with his health, that’s been a problem for him. If he can stay healthy, I think he certainly has the tools to be in that conversation.”

Amy Fetherolf‏  was in Philadelphia covering the PowerShares event for Tennis Panorama. She is the founder of the tennis news site Drop Shot Dispatch and a co-founder of the new tennis site The Changeover.  Follow her on twitter at @AmyFetherolf.