October 1, 2016

Ivan Lendl, Mardy Fish and Jill Craybas to Coach with USTA Player Development

Ivan Lendl ©TennisPanorama

Ivan Lendl ©TennisPanorama

From the USTA: (November 10, 2015) – The USTA today announced that eight-time Grand Slam singles champion Ivan Lendl, former world No. 7 Mardy Fish, and former American Olympian Jill Craybas will begin coaching with USTA Player Development as part of its strategy to involve former champions and top American players in the development of current American pros and juniors.

 

Lendl, Fish and Craybas will work with USTA Player Development on a part-time basis beginning this fall and winter. Lendl began working with a group of top 15- and 16-year old boys at a training camp held last week at Windsor in Vero Beach, Fla., and will continue working with the group through several USTA Pro Circuit and junior tournaments in November and December, and into next year. Fish will help lead several weeks of offseason training at the USTA Training Center – West in Carson, Calif., with a group of professional men. Craybas will begin working with a group of pro women during their offseason training at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.

 

The coaching partnerships are initial steps in USTA Player Development’s effort to be more deliberate in engaging past champions and former American professionals as coaches, advisors or mentors. In addition to Lendl, Fish and Craybas, USTA Player Development has also worked with or is planning to work with other former and current American pros, including Michael Russell, Brian Baker, Marianne Werdel and Ann Grossman-Wunderlich, among several others.

 

“We have done this on an informal basis – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier and Billie-Jean King, most notably, have been very generous with their time and willingness to work with our young pros – but we need to be more intentional about our outreach to former champions and top professionals,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “They have been in the second week of a Grand Slam or even hoisted the trophy on that final Sunday, and that is invaluable. We need to cultivate a culture that is characterized by a champion’s mindset, and when one of our young women or men spends time with a former champion, it creates a cultural connection that cannot be over-estimated.

 

“We are just in the beginning stages of our outreach, and there are American champions that we have not yet connected with, but so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

 

Lendl, 55, is a former world No. 1 who won three US Open, three French Open and two Australian Open titles from 1984-90, and his 94 ATP World Tour titles rank second all-time. From 2012 to early 2014, Lendl coached Andy Murray to his first two Grand Slam singles titles, at the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon. Fish, 33, climbed to No. 7 in the world in 2011 and won six ATP World Tour titles in his career. He retired following a second-round finish at the 2015 US Open. Midway through his career, Fish committed to a disciplined approach to his conditioning and nutrition, which resulted in his best achievements and career-high ranking. Craybas, 41, played on tour for 18 years and represented the U.S. in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She won one singles title and five doubles titles on tour and won the NCAA women’s singles championship while at Florida in 1996.

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Mardy Fish – In His Own Words

MFishNewsC821TennisPanoramaNews

U.S. OPEN

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mardy Fish

Press Conference

F. LOPEZ/M. Fish

2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are the emotions, Mardy? How are you feeling?
MARDY FISH: It’s tough to say because I don’t feel that great just from the match. So it takes a little bit away, you know, just — I don’t know.

I mean, it will probably sink in a little bit later when I start feeling a little bit better.

Q. You got to be proud of the way you fought over five sets considering how many matches you have played over the last few years?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, not many.

Yeah, I put myself in a couple of difficult positions and came away pretty well. That was the goal.

Q. Can you describe the emotions that you had when you went up 5-4 in the fourth set? Looked a little bit like disbelief that you might win that one.
MARDY FISH: Oh, not really. I was starting to sort of feel pretty tired and starting to get a couple of twinges in my legs at the end of the fourth set, so I figured that was my opportunity. You know, didn’t pick a great time to play the worst game I played all day.

You know, I haven’t been in that position in a long time, obviously. So things happen.

Q. Lopez said afterwards that when you guys met at the net he told you he felt you deserved to win; you outplayed him. What did that mean to you?
MARDY FISH: I felt the same. (Smiling.)

No, we have played a lot of matches. I have had some success against him. I was playing fine. Certainly put myself in an opportunity to win the match.

Q. You were playing so well for a while. Did the thought occur to you somewhere in the third set, Maybe I shouldn’t quit? I should keep going?
MARDY FISH: No, no.

Q. No second thoughts?
MARDY FISH: None.

Q. What message would you most want people to take from your career and the way you have handled the challenges before you?
MARDY FISH: I don’t know. I mean, I’ve got a lot of great memories. I have got a lot of great memories; I’ve got a lot of good wins out here. I have made a lot of really good friendships with almost everyone out here.

You know, I’ll miss that. I can’t answer that. I mean, I’m not sure. Someone else, other people, you guys, have to answer the career part.

And then the health stuff, I mean, I’m just trying to help any way I can and share my story. Like I say, if it helps other people, that’s great.

Q. What do you consider most important about your story and the health obstacles that you would want people to draw from?
MARDY FISH: Well, just that you can beat it. That you can put yourself back — it’s always going to be part of your life, and you can pull yourself right back in the fire and come through okay. I think I showed that here at this tournament.

Q. You said you felt a couple twinges in your legs in the fourth. Did you pull a hamstring later on? Did you ever think about you would just have to quit?
MARDY FISH: No, I wasn’t quitting. I was just cramping. I mean, both sides of both legs, if I moved anywhere close to three or four steps, two or three steps, it would go.

So, no, you would have had to carry me off the court. I was definitely not stopping at that point.

Q. You chose this as your last venue. What does this event mean to you? Was there more fight in you than you expected? Some people go through a farewell tour that’s kind of routine. There seemed to be quite tremendous amount of spunk and fight in you today.
MARDY FISH: Thank you. Well, I have worked hard to try to get back. Obviously I’m not in as good of shape as I used to be a few years ago.

That probably wouldn’t have happened a few years ago. I probably would have been fine in the fifth set. I worked as hard as I could. My body is just about done.

So I gave it everything I had; that was all I had.

Q. Can you maybe give us some insight on why you thought it was important to come back?
MARDY FISH: For the three events or just this event?

Q. No, the three events, just to come back and have your good-bye.
MARDY FISH: Yeah, they are my favorite events. They’re some of the events where I have had my most success, best fan experience that I have throughout the years: Atlanta and Cincinnati especially, and here.

You know, I wanted this to be — this one specifically to be the last one. I probably would have chosen this one as my last one regardless if I didn’t have any issues with my health in the past couple of years just because this is the biggest one and the most fun and the one that you want to go out on.

But this one was extra special or extra special meaning for me because of how it happened in 2012.

Q. What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to? What are you going to do now?
MARDY FISH: I’m going to try to take an ice bath and try to feel better. (Laughter.)

Q. Not that immediate.
MARDY FISH: I’m going to, I don’t know. I’m going to play in my club championship at Bel Air. I haven’t played a lot of golf recently.

And then I have got some stuff in the works. (Smiling.)

Q. You had a real good career, and then you really turned it up around 2012 with a win over Andy, better ranking. But if someone says, Seems like that kicked off your anxiety, that you were sort of used to playing under the radar and now it’s a bit tougher, could you just talk about that process if you don’t mind?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, expectations changed and pressure was a lot higher and a lot more on myself and from others.

I mean, that’s how it all happened. That’s how it all came. Expectations changed. There was a lot more pressure on myself to play well at every event, and, you know, every week.

That was the position that I wanted to be in, you know, the top American, top 10 in the world, and, you know, sort of a marked man.

It was too much for me to handle.

Q. Do you think you put that pressure on yourself also as well as coming from others?
MARDY FISH: Sure. I mean, everyone puts some pressure on themselves to succeed, and I just — I was maybe a little bit different because I was working so hard and trying so hard to be as good as I could be and I was sacrificing a lot on and off the court. So that’s why I always was hard on myself.

Q. You seem somewhat sad. Is it because of the way it ended or the fact that it’s ended?
MARDY FISH: Definitely not the way it ended. Just I don’t feel great right now. (Smiling.)

Obviously with my history of anxiety disorder, I, you know, get a little nervous when I don’t feel well.

But, no, look, those are the situations you work so hard to be in. You know, just an awesome crowd, and it’s a really nice memory to have on my final match. Obviously not the last set, but my final match.

Q. You speak of expectations and the pressure creating some anxiety and some nervousness in you. Were you feeling that at all when you were serving for it at 5-4?
MARDY FISH: No, not specifically at that part. I certainly felt like that was, you know, my opportunity, big-time opportunity to really capitalize.

But, you know, once that had sort of came and gone, I knew I was sort of in trouble because of, you know, the way my legs felt. I tried as hard as I could to hydrate as best I could. I did everything I could.

My body gave out, and that’s why I’m stopping.

Q. Can you describe what you were saying to yourself when your legs were really starting to hurt and cramp up? If this wasn’t US Open and your last match, would you have quit, retired if it were somewhere else?
MARDY FISH: No, I mean, I would have tried. I haven’t cramped very much in my career at all. In the beginning of my career I never played long matches like that to cramp, and the end of my — sort of 2010 through 2012 I was so fit that I never needed to worry about it.

So it was kind of the perfect storm of, you know, doing everything I could, but, you know, a little bit — you know, not enough left in the tank.

That’s the way it goes.

Q. What were you saying to yourself when it was happening as it was happening?
MARDY FISH: I’m in trouble. (Smiling.) No, I wasn’t really thinking. Then it starts –you know, look, we were 3-All, 3-4 serving. I was somehow figuring out a way to hit winners and hold serve. I had two 15-40s because it’s hard to play a guy that’s, you know, sort of wounded and you can — I have been there. I understand that.

I haven’t actually been in my position very often at all. It’s very hard to play someone like that when you know that, you know, their body is sort of giving out.

So I actually had, you know, more chances than he had in the fifth before the eighth game. Way more chances.

I was sort of, you know, wondering if I could actually get through it, but obviously I knew I was in a bit of trouble.

Q. In the months and years ahead, what do you think will give you the most satisfaction about what you have accomplished both as a player and as a person, given what you have had to deal with?
MARDY FISH: That’s a good question. I mean, I put my head on my pillow every night — I’m very comfortable knowing how hard I have worked in the later stages of my career. Very comfortable with how this summer has gone. Just at peace personally.

You know, I’m bummed that obviously my career didn’t end the past few years, you know, the way I had imagined. But it is what it is, and you try to make the best of your situation obviously.

You know, it’s tough. I mean, it’s tough. It sort of, you know, starts kind of kicking in every once in a while in my head as I answer these questions that this is probably the last time I will do this.

Q. How does that make you feel?
MARDY FISH: It doesn’t make me feel sad or happy or anything. It’s just I have done a lot of these. (Smiling.)

You know, it’s an interesting lifestyle. It’s a different lifestyle to live as a tennis player and as a professional athlete.

You know, to be up here and answering questions from you guys is different than most. So I will probably never do it again. It’s different. (Smiling.)

Q. Besides playing golf, there are new opportunities for tennis players with maybe less pressure, like the International Premier Tennis League. Is that something you might be interested in doing one day?
MARDY FISH: Yes. I’m sure tennis will always be a part of my life. I’ll always be around it.

Yeah, so I’m not going to go too far. I’m going to try to help out with the USTA as much as I can, some of the younger Americans. I have a lot of experience over the last 15, 16 years. I have been playing tennis tournaments since I was six years old, so it’s a long 27 years of playing tournaments that matter, and now it’s over.

Q. I’m sure you spoke to James and Andy about how it feels to close it up and to close here. I’m wondering how you have experienced the last few days and also the last hour or two?
MARDY FISH: Like I said, I don’t feel great, so it’s not that part. That part is tough and different.

Those guys both announced here that they were stopping, so it’s a little different feeling. I have known for a little while.

I knew with Andy, knowing him personally, he didn’t know his — he didn’t know he was going to stop until relatively recent when he announced it.

And James may have known or may not have known. He didn’t tell us too much. I forgot the first part of your question.

Q. Has it matched your expectations kind of on what they told you or what you expected?
MARDY FISH: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah. I mean, I’m not looking for everyone to bow down when I leave the room and carry my racquets out today. I mean, that’s not what it’s — it’s uncomfortable and that’s not what I’m looking for.

I accomplished everything that I set out to this summer, and I’m happy about that.

Q. You talk about this being your last time you do this and that it’s an odd feeling. I’m sure that it is. I just read your first-person piece you wrote about your experiences. I was struck by the fact you said you didn’t want yourself to be defined by sports terms like winning and choking, and that this wasn’t a sports story so much as it was a life story.
MARDY FISH: Uh-huh.

Q. Being a life story, what aspects of that, you know, what verbs would you use for your life story? What part would you want us to think about your life as opposed to your tennis necessarily?
MARDY FISH: Yeah, I mean, just that I was — just that I was helpful to other people, that I was open and honest about a topic that is supposed to be masculine, or not supposed to be masculine.

We are trained as tennis players from a very young age to not show weakness. I was very good at that throughout my career. I would not complain very much if I didn’t feel well or, you know, fake it on the court if I didn’t feel well, and, you know, not show that side of it.

So I’m sort of out front with that part of my life because it helps me a lot when I talk about it. Makes me feel better when I talk about it. I want to help people that have gone through it and try to be a role model for people that are deep into some bad times, that they can get out of it, because I was there. They can conquer it.

(Applause.)

Transcript from ASAPSports

 

Note from the US Open Media Operations Guide as why Tennis Panorama News is allowed to post transcripts:

Transcripts of player interviews cannot be posted until one (1) hour after the interview has ended. Player transcripts can only be posted on the website of the publication that was accredited.
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Mardy Fish Ends Pro Career with a Five-Set Loss at the US Open

Mardy Fish

 

(September 2, 2015) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Former Top 10 player Mardy Fish ended his singles tennis career on Wednesday in the second round of the US Open, falling to 18th seed a fellow 33-year-old Feliciano Lopez 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. Fish had a chance to serve out the match in the fourth set in a match which lasted 3 hours, 11 minutes. Fish began suffering from leg cramps in the fifth set.

“I was starting to sort of feel pretty tired and starting to get a couple of twinges in my legs at the end of the fourth set, so I figured that was my opportunity,” Fish said. “You know, didn’t pick a great time to play the worst game I played all day.
“You know, I haven’t been in that position in a long time, obviously. So things happen.”

Fish came back to the tour this year admitting that he’s been suffering from anxiety disorder. He wrote about it in the Players’ Tribune.

“I was lucky that I won the fourth set,” said Lopez on court “And then in the fifth set, he was not feeling well. He was cramping and he was so tired. I think he really deserved the win today.”

“It’s been many years together. We played many times. He beat me a couple times,” Lopez said. “I have to say, he was the better player, normally, when we played. And he was a great player, had a good career. It was very sad what was happening the last two, three years with this illness, and it’s great to have him back at least for a few weeks.”

“I’ve got a lot of great memories,” said the former world No. 7. “I have got a lot of great memories; I’ve got a lot of good wins out here. I have made a lot of really good friendships with almost everyone out here.”

“And then the health stuff, I mean, I’m just trying to help any way I can and share my story. Like I say, if it helps other people, that’s great.”

“I wanted this (US Open) to be — this one specifically to be the last one. I probably would have chosen this one as my last one regardless if I didn’t have any issues with my health in the past couple of years just because this is the biggest one and the most fun and the one that you want to go out on.

“But this one was extra special or extra special meaning for me because of how it happened in 2012.”

“I’m bummed that obviously my career didn’t end the past few years, you know, the way I had imagined. But it is what it is, and you try to make the best of your situation obviously.

“You know, it’s tough. I mean, it’s tough. It sort of, you know, starts kind of kicking in every once in a while in my head as I answer these questions that this is probably the last time I will do this.”

As to the future: “I’m going to try to help out with the USTA as much as I can, some of the younger Americans. I have a lot of experience over the last 15, 16 years. I have been playing tennis tournaments since I was six years old, so it’s a long 27 years of playing tournaments that matter, and now it’s over.”

ASk about telling his “life story” he said: “I was helpful to other people, that I was open and honest about a topic that is supposed to be masculine, or not supposed to be masculine.

“We are trained as tennis players from a very young age to not show weakness. I was very good at that throughout my career. I would not complain very much if I didn’t feel well or, you know, fake it on the court if I didn’t feel well, and, you know, not show that side of it.

“So I’m sort of out front with that part of my life because it helps me a lot when I talk about it. Makes me feel better when I talk about it. I want to help people that have gone through it and try to be a role model for people that are deep into some bad times, that they can get out of it, because I was there. They can conquer it.”

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Tuesday in “Hotlanta” Sees Mardy Fish Fall in First Round

By Herman Wood

(July 28, 2015) ATLANTA, Georgia – Hotlanta indeed!  Following the directions of ushers to take a seat on Tuesday in Atlanta potentially risked a trip to the burn unit!  It certainly was not comfortable, even in the shade once the sun moved a bit at the Atlanta Open.  Action heated up on the courts as well, with a number of young and experienced Americans in action.  Steve Johnson got by Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, dropping a second set tiebreak 7-3.  Austin Krajicek fell to Marco Baghdatis 6-4, 6-0, despite some creative engineering of his frame, reportedly playing with a broken frame for one point.  Qualifier Denis Kudla sent wild card Ryan Harrison home for singles in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5).  Harrison tweeted later, “Fought hard today.  Thank you @BBTatlantaopen for this opportunity to play.  I will get better from this and always be back.  #Bounceback”   Eighteen year old Jared Donaldson took down fellow qualifier Somdev Devvarman 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.  Donaldson is impressive if for nothing else the ability to seriously launch a ball out of the stadium.  Interstate 75 is a possibility!

Australia’s Sam Groth had all he could handle with 17 year old American Frances Tiafoe.  It was a draw until the tiebreaker began for the first set.  The veteran Groth got a service mini-break early and that took some steam out of Tiafoe.  He certainly fought, but Groth kept blasting away.  Fellow American and Georgia Tech team member Chris Eubanks rooted loudly for Tiafoe, encouraging him to keep fighting.  The crowd was fully behind him, exhorting him as well.  He got a bit discouraged after dropping the tie break 7-3 and gave up an early break.  Soon, the racquet was thrown and the crowd got a bit quiet.  The statistics reflected a very even match, but all Groth needed was one tiebreak and one break point converted.  He made it hold up for a 7-6(3), 6-4 win.  Tiafoe won’t find much comfort in the statistics, but he only had one break chance and couldn’t convert it and that was really the difference.

Singles wrapped up for the day with a more mature American, Mardy Fish, who will be calling it a career after the US Open, taking on last year’s finalist – Dudi Sela.  Sela won over the Atlanta crowd last year with fine play and gracious humor.  The crowd appreciated fine play all night, but tried to raise Fish, though there wasn’t as much to cheer for as they might have liked.  Fish managed to hold his first service game, but it was a struggle.   The struggle continued in his second service game, as he was broken by just generally loose play, spraying balls long.  The game was certainly there, especially when the shot required a quick reaction, whether forehand or backhand.  Fish flashed a 131 mph serve at one point, but Sela was more than ready, blunting the attack, blocking backhand after backhand back authoritatively.  Fish managed to get the break back to level the set at four with the help of two net cords, but was promptly undone again, not able to finish points he had most certainly earned.  Sela had to work, holding off a break point, but closed the set 6-4 in his favor.  Fish apparently had an issue with his socks at some point and took advantage of a medical time out by Sela.  Apparently, he gestured to Roddick, who simply removed his socks and sent them to Fish.  That’s a bit more sharing than I think most people want to do with their doubles partner!  After Sela had his wrist attended to, play resumed and stayed on serve.  The length of rallies and level of play improved for both men, until Sela earned a break for 5-4 with a wild Fish forehand.  During the changeover, Sela’s homeland flag of Israel came out on display in the stands and it seemed to inspire him.  He served the set out, winning 6-4, 6-4.  He was gracious afterward, signing and posing with fans.  “If Mardy had played his best, he’d have kicked my ass!”

“If I’m going to play like that, it’s going to be pretty tough,” Fish said in talking about the positives he’d taken from the match. “It’s just it’s nice to finish on my own terms. The sport, my job, was taken from me so abruptly that it took me a long time to get my life back.”

Fish is scheduled to play his last two tournaments of his career in Cincinnati and New York.

I was also able to chat with Chris Eubanks, a 6-7 sophomore from Georgia Tech (about a mile from Atlantic Station).  Eubanks graduated from Westlake High School, also here in Atlanta, and is the number 53rd ranked singles player in the NCAA.  Eubanks played with American Donald Young in the doubles draw, beating Mate Pavic and Michael Venus 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 in the super tiebreaker. Wednesday he’ll play Radek Stepanek in singles.  I asked how I would know if he were playing his best.  “I’ll be getting my first serve in and making my forehand.”  I responded that he had just described about ninety percent of American tennis players, whether on the tour or not.  That drew a laugh.  We also talked about on court demeanor and he shared how important it is that you have to be yourself on the court and express yourself in the way of your own choosing.  Eubanks was very gracious with his time, though he was clearly there to support Tiafoe.

In other singles results, German Benjamin Becker got by fellow German Michael Berrer, 7-5, retired.  In other doubles action, “Popsock”, Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock fell to Gilles Muller and Colin Fleming 6-4, 4-6,10-6.  Eric Butyric and Artem Sitak took out Matthew Ebden and Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 6-0.  Play continues on Wednesday with the evening matches focusing on doubles.  Fish and Roddick return to action, taking on Murray and Lu.  The Bryan Brothers have big serving Groth partnered up with fellow Australian Chris Guccione.

 

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood

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The Road to the US Open Begins This Weekend at the BB&T Atlanta Open

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 24, 2015)ATLANTA, Georgia – The road to the US Open starts in Atlanta with the BB&T Atlanta Open this weekend with qualifying.  The BB&T is a ATP World Tour 250 event, with a 28 player singles and 16 player doubles draw.  Total prize money this year is $585,870.00.  The venue is set in downtown Atlanta, amongst the sky scrapers and shopping of Atlantic Station.  Two time champion and former University of Georgia all-time leader in singles and doubles wins, John Isner returns in search of a historic three-peat.

Arguably the best doubles team of all time, Bob and Mike Bryan make their debut in the BB&T.  They got their first tour win in an Atlanta event in 1998.  Defending doubles champ and singles semifinalist Jack Sock, along with doubles partner Vasek Pospisil, are looking to take another step in their development.  The doubles draw could be very interesting if a showdown between the Bryan brothers and “Popsock” materializes.  It was only a year ago that Pospisil/Sock denied the Bryans the Wimbledon 2014 title.

Marco Baghdatis is already turning heads in the ATL.  As he dropped off his racquets for stringing by the Prince Team at the Serious Tennis tent with Deana Buzzy Mitchell, he was reportedly, “very sweet and winked at me!”  That kind of behavior is sure to make him a fan favorite with at least half of the crowd.  Americans Steve Johnson, Tim Symzek, and Donald Young are also looking to make a statement.   In what could be a big story line, two time champion Mardy Fish is returning to the tour in this tournament.  He has struggled with health issues almost since the last tournament win in Atlanta.  He’ll also be teaming up with another former Atlanta champion, Andy Roddick.  Roddick will not play in the singles main draw, but is playing an exhibition match against another young American, 17 year old Frances Tiafoe on Monday night.  Tiafoe created a stir in the qualifying last year and has been granted a wild card into the main draw.  Other crowd favorites returning include Dudi Sela, last year’s finalist, 2013 finalist Kevin Anderson, and 2012 finalist Giles Muller.  The draw will also include 4 players from a 32 draw qualifying tournament to be played this weekend.

2015 French Open Boys’ champion Tommy Paul and this year’s Wild Card Challenge winner Trent Bryde have accepted two wild card spots into that BB&T Atlanta Open qualifying tournament.  Paul is the No. 5-ranked American junior. Bryde had to make his way through 5 matches in the Wild Card Challenge.  Georgia Tech also is providing a wild card to sophomore Christopher Eubanks.  Eubanks was named all Atlantic Coast Conference as a freshman last spring and finished ranked number 47 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

Ticket sales have been on a record pace according to Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez.  Atlanta has always been a tennis town, with the largest local doubles league in the United States.  There will be several special events that are part of the tournament scene, including the above mentioned exhibition with Roddick, a kids weekend with special ticket promotions during the qualifying tournament, a Commodores concert, College Night, another concert featuring LoCash, Ladies Day, USTA member appreciation day, and a Family Zone presented by Prince at Atlantic Station where kids can play tennis.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood

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Mardy Fish Returns to Tennis, Falls in Three-set Battle to Ryan Harrison in First Round of BNP Paribas Open

(March 12, 2015) Former world No. 7 Mardy Fish returned to the court under a protected ranking, for the first time in over 18 months on Thursday in Indian Wells, California. Fish was off the tour due to heart problems which have bothered him since 2012.

The 33-year-old Fish put up a good fight for 2 hours and 36 minutes and even had two match points in falling to fellow American, 22-year-old Ryan Harrison, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open. The pair of match points came at 15-40 in the 10th game of the third set.

“I worked really hard in the past three-and-a-half months to get in physical shape, to go from golf to tennis shape,” Fish said.

“It was nice to play Ryan, sort of a good friend. Someone you’re familiar with. So that part was nice to not have to play someone you don’t really know.

“It’s hard. It’s never easy. It still stings a little bit,” Fish said of the loss.

“I would have liked to play a little better, “he noted. “I would have like to have won – it is what it is.”

“Being on the court for so long. It felt great to be out there. Those are situations you work hard to put yourself into.”

“It’s such a great event,” he said. “I’ve got great memories from 2008 here.

“It felt fantastic to be out there.”

Asked about how he’s had to control his ailment he said: “I learn from every situation, every episode, every sort of scenario that I put myself in in the last couple of years, and I learn from this today.

“I didn’t really have many expectations, as far as how long I could play tournament-wise. How many tournaments I could play – Indian Wells and Miami was kind of in the background.

“This is a new different challenge for me.”

Fish said that he has to come on to the court and “be sort of even keel.”

“Something that I have to work on with my sports Psychologist – what sort of frame of mind do you need out there, (be)cause this is unchartered territory for me in the past couple of years.”

“Golf was such a savior for me because I able to jump into something that I really liked to do, that I was good at, and I could see myself getting better and I really enjoy playing in the tournaments, improving, things like that.” Golf was a coping mechanism for him – “to take my mind off the tennis, what other guys were doing.”

To prepare for his comeback, the American said that he played five or six days a week for the past 20 weeks – “it felt pretty close to tennis.”

Doesn’t have interest in going to the “minor leagues and working my way back up.”

Fish said that he has 3 tournaments where he can use a protected ranking. “It will run out at the US Open. Will have some decisions to make.”

The win for Harrison moves him into the second round where he’ll face No. 5 in the world Kei Nishikori.

 

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Mardy Fish Loses in Atlanta

Mardy Fish

By Herman Wood

(July 24, 2013) ATLANTA, GA – The courts stayed mostly dry at the BB&T open on Wednesday, except for a few drops from Michael Russell during his win over Mardy Fish.

In the final singles match of the evening, Michael Russell and Mardy Fish picked up from their match that had been twice interrupted by rain last night.  Fish had won the first set 6-4, but had given up a break in the second and started the night down 2-4 with Russell serving.  Fish seemed to start slowly with some loose errors in his service game and was broken when Russell unleashed a big forehand on set point.

The third set opened with Fish getting an easy break, as Russell seemed intent on returning Fish’s favor.  Fish consolidated, holding to 2-0 with a big serve and a stretching forehand blast winner.  Fish continued to hold, despite getting down 0-30 on his serve, with the help of an ace.  Russell finally broke back in a nervy game featuring big audible effort from both players to get to 3-3.  The effort was clear by both men, with Fish changing shirts at least twice and Russell apparently needing to.  After each change of ends when Fish got ready to serve, he or a ball boy did some light housekeeping, drying the court with their shoes or a towel where Russell apparently had left behind some perspiration.  Both men kept digging holes on their serve and had to reach down to hold.  The chair seemed to show needed restraint with no time warning to either player, even when one or the other took a moment after an extended point.  Finally, with Fish serving to get to a tiebreaker at 5-6, Russell held the lead or ad multiple times, and Fish showed his willingness to fight hard.  A final ad point and a big service return closed the door on Fish’s Atlanta return: 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.  Fish reportedly stated that this is the best match Michael Russell has ever played.  Russell will advance to play Santiago Giraldo later in the second round.

Matt Ebden got through due to some health issues of Ivo Karlovic.  Ebden won the first set, as Karlovic showed signs of distress.  A trainer was called and Karlovic retired prior to the second set.  Ebden said via Twitter “Got through today but unfortunately Ivo had to retire, hope he gets better fast & continues his great form.”  Ebden will face Kevin Anderson tomorrow.  No official word on Karlovic’s condition was available.

Christian Harrison

Christian Harrison

Ivan Dodig took three sets to get by Ricardas Berankis, 1-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3 in a second round match.  In first round action, Christian Harrison won his first ATP main draw match of his career against Alejandro Falla, 6-1, 7-6 (7), 6-2.  He’ll be rewarded with a second round match against top seeded John Isner on Thursday.

Veteran Lleyton Hewitt took on American qualifier Rhyne Williams.  Hewitt’s experience showed, as he seemed to find the right combination or shot to get by Williams 7-6 (6), 6-4, despite 18 aces for Williams.  In the tiebreaker, Williams did not challenge a ball on the baseline that the crowd seemed to think was out.  An out call would have given him the first set.  He followed up with a double fault and Hewitt worked the set point to coax a Williams error.  The match stayed on serve again until late in the second set when Hewitt shut the door with a break at 4-5.  As in yesterday’s Jack Sock match, the chair took the opportunity to get involved late, issuing a time warning to Williams late in the second set.  Williams seemed to brush it off.

In another match featuring a veteran, James Blake took three tight sets to advance past Tim Smyczek 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (4).  Blake selectively worked points to get to the tiebreaker and earn the set.  Smyczek earned a break in the second set and served it out as Blake seemed to concede the last point of the set.  Strategically, both men worked the other’s backhand, though Blake seemed to manage to run around to his forehand more often to do damage.  At 2-2 in the 3rd, with Blake serving, Smyczek made a challenge that looked a little embarrassing- the ball smothered the line.  Serving at 4-5, down 0-30, Smyczek dug out of the hole, closing with an ace and an 83 mph service winner.  After a Blake hold, Smyczek forgot to show Blake that new balls were in play and Blake had to ask.  The new balls made a difference – every point was a service winner or ace to get to 6-6 and a tiebreaker.  In the breaker, Blake got an early mini-break and made it hold up, drawing a groundstroke error from Smyczek at 4-6.

In doubles action, Rajeev Ram and Ken Skupski got by Domini Inglot and Frank Moser 6-4,6-4.  Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt needed a match tiebreak to beat Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky.  The final match of the evening had James Blake and Jack Sock taking on Brazilians Marcelo Demoliner and Andre Sa.  There was quite a bit of conversation among the players on court and it sounded testy.  Blake and Sock prevailed, needing a match tiebreak: 5-7, 7-6 (4), 10-6.

Thursday promises to be a big day at the BB&T Atlanta Open.  Really big – John Isner, at 6’9″ and Kevin Anderson, at 6’8″ will both be in action.  Isner has local connections, leading the University of Georgia Bulldogs to the NCAA national title in 2007.  Expect barking.

 

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 25 JULY, 2013

STADIUM start 4:00 pm
R Harrison (USA) vs [4] I Sijsling (NED)
J Blake (USA) vs [8] E Donskoy (RUS)
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] J Isner (USA) vs [WC] C Harrison (USA)
J Blake (USA) / J Sock (USA) vs [3] C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR)

AJC GRANDSTAND start 4:00 pm

[5] Y Lu (TPE) vs D Istomin (UZB)
M Russell (USA) vs S Giraldo (COL)
[Q] M Ebden (AUS) vs [2] K Anderson (RSA)
D Kudla (USA) / M Russell (USA) vs R Berankis (LTU) / S Giraldo (COL)

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm

[1] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) vs [PR] J Erlich (ISR) / A Ram (ISR)
R Ram (USA) / K Skupski (GBR) vs C Guccione (AUS) / L Hewitt (AUS)
[4] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) / I Sijsling (NED) vs [WC] K King (USA) / J Spir (COL) – After Suitable Rest

 

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Kourtin’ Karen’s Tennis News Week in Review

delpoNadalStillerdoubles

(March 11, 2013) NEW YORK, NY –  Kourtin’ Karen takes brief look at the week that was week in the offbeat world of tennis.

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BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York City

March 4 was World Tennis Day. BNP Paribas sponsored two showdowns –  in Hong Kong and the other in New York City.

Highlight of the Madison Square Garden event – Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro were in the middle of the second set of the showdown whe Nadal pulled out Ben Stiller to play with him. Del Potro brought out 9-yeear-old left Rebecca Suarez who proved to be the best player on the court for the “doubles” match

 

BNP Paribas Showdown Debuts in Hong Kong with Wozniacki, Radwanska, McEnroe and Lendl

 

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Jelena Jankovic’s Fila Heritage Carwash tennis dress at Indian Wells

Jelena JankovicJ Jankovic skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30-15

BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party

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On the Green Carpet – Photos from the 2013 BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party

Many of those in the tennis media are not really fans of these type of events and exhibitions, but it draws people who are not normally fans of the game. I’m for whatever draws people to watch tennis.

All of the majors should have a “red carpet” event like this. It’s all in good fun and fans and journalists alike can play “Fashion Police.”

 

 

30-30

No American Men in the Top 20?

With John Isner’s loss to Lleyton Hewitt in his first match at the BNP Paribas Open, depending on how Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish do, there would be no US men in the top 20 of the rankings – this has never happened since the rankings began in 1973.

 

30-40

TMZ Alert

TMZ as well as other media outlets were reporting that there was an arrest warrant out for Jennifer Capriati in conjunction with an alleged assault on her ex-boyfriend Ivan Brannan. Capriati’s publicist denied reports that a warrant had been issued for her arrest.

“What happened has been over-exaggerated. When the full story comes out Jennifer will be vindicated of these charges,” said the spokesperson in a written statement.

 

Deuce

Redfoo sightings

Victoria Azarenka and Redfoo

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Let’s face it,  pop singer Redfoo is here to stay.  Not only is he a big tennis fan, he supports a USTA Pro Circuit event – the Party Rock Open and is now the significant other of No. 2 Victoria Azarenka.

 

Advantage exhibitions

Pete Sampras adn Novak Djokovic

Tennis was back in Los Angeles with the LA Tennis Challenge featuring, Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras, Mardy Fish, James Blake, Bob and Mike Bryan.

Djokovic, Sampras, Fish and the Bryan Brothers Among Those to Particpate in LA Tennis Challenge

 

 

Deuce look-a-likes

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Separated at birth, the hair anyway – Redfoo and Thing 1 and Thing 2 of Dr. Seuss fame.

 

Advantage Karaoke

 1-DSC_0957-001V. Azarenka

In the post-match news conference at the BNP Paribas Showdown, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka announced that they revealed that they will be shooting a karaoke video to Rihanna’s “Stay.”

Deuce

The Rumor Mill

"Austin Powers" and Caroline Wozniacki

“Austin Powers” and Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki put to bed rumors that she and her boyfriend golfer Rory McIlroy had split.

A British tabloid speculated that the reason the golfer had pulled out of the Honda Classic was due to relationship problems with Wozniacki. Meanwhile, why did Wozniacki attend the BNP Paribas Open Players party with Austin Powers. (See above photo)

 

Advantage news

Tennis will introduce biological passports this year and increase the number of blood tests.

Nadal Returns to Hardcourt with Indian Wells Win; Still Unhappy with 25-Second Rule

 

Mardy Fish

Game, Set and Match – Welcome back Mardy Fish

Mardy Fish has returned to the tour from a heart ailment, his first event since the US Open.

 

Photo galleries from the past week

Photos by Curt Janka, Jennifer Knapp, Maria Noble and Karen Pestaina.

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Kourtin’ Karen’s Sony Ericsson Open Week 1

 

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Welcome to Miami

Tennis Panorama News was in Miami this week covering the Sony Ericsson Open. Craig Hickman of Craig Hickman on Tennis and JD Blom were on site covering all the on-court and off-court action.

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Breaking News at WTA All Access

Due to Craig Hickman’s and JD Blom’s skills with the Flemish language they broke the “Clijsters won’t play in Asia” story on twitter first and with a complete translation later in the day.  Heads up to Chris Chase for recognizing this in Yahoo’s tennis blog Busted Racquet. It was interesting to see media outlets report the story without verification or source attribution.

Of  War and Radiation: Kim Clijsters Speaks

 

30-15

Soccer/Football Jinx

Photo courtesy of Onthegotennis.com

Has anyone noticed that most of those players who participated in the charity soccer match for Japan earlier in the week have already lost in Miami?  The list so far includes Andy Murray, Fernando Verdasco, Marcos Baghdatis, Stanislas Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori.

30-30

Look out for Falling Seeds

On Saturday alone 10 seeds including Andy Roddick lost in Miami – 6 men  and 4 women.

40-30

Serena Sighting

From Serena Williams‘ twitter account, Williams and Caroline Wozniacki took in a Miami Heat game earlier in the week.

 

Deuce

Losing Streak

Andy Murray (Photo of Onthegotennis.com)

Andy Murray is officially in a slump. He was a second round victim to Alex Bogomolov Jr. This marks his fourth consecutive loss beginning with the final of the Australian Open. Despite the loss, Murray will climb to No. 4 in the world due to Robin Soderling’s third round exit at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Advantage

Doubles Point of the Week!

 

 

Deuce

Swimming with the Fish(es)


Mardy Fish has a sense of humor to volunteer to participate in two photo-ops this week – swimming with the dolphins..

Mardy Fish and Dolphins Cheerleaders (Getty Images)

and posing with the  Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. Good news for Fish – not official yet but a Fish win in the next round, paired with Andy Roddick’s early loss will make Fish the top ranked US male.

 

Advantage

Dance of the Week

Video and photo courtesy of Forty Deuce

Ana Ivanovic has paired up with Andrea Petkovic in doubles this week at the Sony Ericsson Open.  Needless to say Petkovic has shown her how to do the victory dance.

Deuce

Photo-Op of the Week

NBA All-Stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat perfomed the coin toss at Saturday evening’s Rafael Nadal-Kei Nishikori match at the Sony Ericsson Open.

Deuce

Do you wanna ride in my Mercedes boy?

Photo courtesy of Onthegotennis.com

Kudos to Onthegotennis.com who caught Roger Federer driving to the Sony Ericsson Open in a Mercedes.  Mercedes is one of Federer’s sponsors.

Advantage

Parties and Events of the Week

Tennis Family Unites To Raise Funds for Japan Disaster Relief




Sony Ericsson Open Players Party – Welcome to the Oscars

New Experience with Sharapova and the Hot Shots

GR8 Friends For Japan Fundraiser with Novak Djokovic

Slideshow: GR8 Friends For Japan Fundraiser


Game, Set, Match, Videos and Photo Galleries!


JD Blom and Craig Hickman were all over the Sony Ericsson Open  from the matches to the “Party Patrol” events this past week. Here are links to videos and photo galleries. Also check out the live tweeting of the red carpet events they covered thorughout the week– here

Articles with Videos:

Videos – GR8 Friends For Japan Fundraiser with Novak Djokovic

Video – Roger Federer Practice Session at the Sony Ericsson Open

Video – Andy Roddick Practice Session at the Sony Ericsson Open


 

Photo Galleries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gracias, Bogota by Junior Williams

 

Gracias, Bogota

 

By Junior Williams
I had a lot on my mind as my flight from Miami touched down at Bogota,Colombia’s El Dorado Airport Wednesday afternoon. Most prominent was whether or not I would regret my maiden voyage to South America.
A number of my tennis fan friends chose to skip the Davis Cup World Group Play-off between the United States and Colombia, citing U.S. State Department travel warnings and Bogota’s reputation for crime which goes back to the drug wars of the late 20th century.

When a driver from my hotel picked me up and engaged me in conversation -being nice enough not to ridicule my lack of fluency in Spanish – it was definitely a sign of things to come: Bogota is one of the friendliest cities I have ever visited.

I decided to spend my six days and five nights in the La Candelaria section of central Bogota, full of 300-year old colonial buildings,university students and narrow streets. My room at the Hotel Ambala was only $42 a night in U.S. currency, and the staff at the hotel made me feel very much at home.
The trade-off: A very small room with a bathroom you have to squeeze into,and the pulsating beat of bars and nightclubs into the wee hours of the morning. A far cry from the upscale JW Marriott in northern Bogota where the U.S. Davis Cup team is staying, but I’ll take the charm of La Candelaria any day of the week. 

 

 


National Capital building at Plaza de Bolivar

 

 


 

My American friend and I have been walking all over Bogota, from the Plaza de Bolivar – home of the national capital building – to the Plaza de Toros la Santamaria, the bullring hosting the Davis Cup. In this city that’s more than 8,600 feet above sea level, I can understand why many cited altitude as a big challenge for the U.S. team. We did lots of huffing and puffing in the hilly parts of Bogota.

 

 


Transmilenio/Museo de Oro station

 

 


When we weren’t walking, we took the Trans Milenio — a rapid transit bus system masquerading as a subway. It’s a good way to see other parts of the city, with mountain tops looking down over the metropolis.

Bogota is also the home of cheap and tasty eats, where you can get breakfasts and lunches for as little as $2 to $5 US (1800 Colombian Pesos= $1United States). Empanadas, tamales in banana leaves, and sizzling meats are just the tip of the iceberg. Dinners are also inexpensive, but don’t wait too late to go out for a meal. Very few restaurants are open past8pm.
Carrera 7 was a pleasant surprise on Friday night . No cars allowed. It was like a street fair for several blocks.

As far as safety is concerned, there is a heavy police presence in Bogota.It’s not unusual to see officers with muzzled dogs patrolling the streets.

The homeless are very savvy. Expect one of them to come to you and ask for change right after you purchase something on the street.

 

 


View of Bogota from Monserrate peak

 

 


While dining in a restaurant, I met a retiree who left Chicago to live in Bogota. I asked him for the must-see spots in the city. He mentioned Monserrate, a mountain top where a white church overlooks the Colombian capital.

I took his advice, and the views were breathtaking.
 

 


Monserrate Sanctuary

 

 

Since we were dining, he also gave me some “tips” on tipping, which is not customary in Bogota (though some eating establishments have service charges). He said if you want to give a tip, give it directly to the waiter or waitress. If you leave it on the table, anyone can take the money.
He also said Colombians are some of the nicest and most generous people you’ll ever meet. “If you ask for one thing, they’ll give you two or three.”
He went on to say that Bogota’s reputation as the most dangerous capital city in the world is unjustified.

I couldn’t agree more. Even when I was walking down crowded streets wearing clothes that screamed out I am an American, I’d get smiles,welcoming gestures and strike up friendly conversations with Bogotanos. 

 

 

I didn’t get a chance to see all of the hot spots here, such as the Museo del Oro which I hear is wonderful, but I’ll have plenty of fond memories of Colombia, and not just because of the tennis.
Gracias, Bogota! 

Junior Williams is a long-time journalist and tennis fan. At a moment’s notice he can give you a list of all the Davis Cup match-ups that would give the US home ties. He was in Bogota reporting for Global Village Tennis News covering the US vs Colombia Davis Cup tie.

Davis Cup: Fish Keeps U.S. in World Group By Junior Williams

Bogota Bonus: Some Observations on Davis Cup by Junior Williams

Switch to Fish Completes a Winning Dish by Junior Williams

“Uncle Sam is in Trouble” – USA and Colombia at 1-1 on Day One of the Davis Cup World Group Play-offs by Junior Williams

 

 

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