2014/10/02

Mats Wilander to Host Second Foundation Tennis Pro-Am to Benefit Epidermolysis Bullosa

Wilander Playing Tennis

(August 18, 2014) Mats Wilander and debra of America return to the West Side Tennis Club on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 for the 2nd Annual Mats Wilander Foundation Tennis Pro-Am. Play with former No. 1 player, Mats Wilander, Cameron Lickle of Wilander on Wheels, and other current and former tennis pros. Past pros have participated have included: John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Jonas Björkman, Thomas Blake, Thomas Johansson, Mikael Pernfors and Karel Nováček.

The Tennis Pro-Am is open to guests of all ages and playing levels. All proceeds benefit debra of America’s fight against Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) – The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of.™

DATE: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
TIME: 8AM – 4PM
VENUE: The West Side Tennis Club, 1 Tennis Place, Forest Hills, Queens, NY
BENEFITING: debra of America and the “Butterfly Children” with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)
BUY TICKETS AND LEARN MORE AT: www.debra.org/Tennis

YOUR TICKET INCLUDES:
– Playing with Mats Wilander, Former #1 Tennis Player in the World, 7 Grand Slam Singles Titles, & International Tennis Hall of Fame Member
– Hitting with Former & Current Tennis Pros on 3 Court Surfaces – Including Grass!
– Instructional Clinics, Competition Drills & Round-Robins
– Team Competition for Prizes (NEW!)
– Pro Meet-and-Greet
– Viewing a Professional Exhibition Match
– Continental Breakfast
– Barbecue Lunch with Beer, Wine & Cocktails

EXCLUSIVE ACE CHALLENGE – NEW!
Fundraise $500 or more using our Personal Fundraising Pages and get the exclusive opportunity to ace Mats Wilander at the Pro-Am. When you register for the event, you will automatically be set up with a Personal Fundraising Page to send to your friends and supporters. It’s that easy! If you raise $500 or more, you will win 2 serves to try to ace Mats Wilander. If you succeed, you will win a 15-minute private singles match with the 7-time Grand Slam Singles winner! (Email events@debra.org or call 212-868-1573 for more details.)

WHAT IS EB?

Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a rare connective tissue disorder with many genetic and symptomatic variations. Yet, all of the variations share a common symptom of extremely fragile skin that blisters and tears with even the slightest friction or trauma and that is why children with EB are often called “Butterfly Children.” Because the disease also affects internal organs and bodily systems, the list of complications and symptoms from EB can be long and may require multiple interventions from a range of medical specialists. EB affects both genders and all racial and ethnic backgrounds equally. As of today, there is no cure or treatment.

ABOUT EPIDERMOLYSIS BULLOSA (EB)

Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a rare genetic disorder in which children do not produce a vital protein to allow their skin to adhere to itself. Because their skin is so fragile, they are often known as ‘Butterfly Children.’ EB affects 1 out of every 20,000 live births in the United States and afflicts both genders and all racial and ethnic backgrounds equally. The most well-known and prominent manifestation of EB is blistering or tearing of the skin from any friction. That means taking off a shirt or a hug from a loved one is incredibly painful and causes the skin to peel away. Imagine your child suffering from a disease where more than 70% of their body is covered in open sores and blisters. There is no treatment or cure. Daily wound care, pain management and protective bandaging are the only options available. Learn more at debra.org

 

ABOUT THE MW FOUNDATION

SAVE IT. SEND IT. SHARE IT. are the ideals that the MW Foundation stands for, not only while on a tennis court but for everyday life. Mats Wilander started the Foundation in association with Wilander on Wheels, when his 15 year old son, Erik, was born with a mild form of Epidermolysis Bullosa. Mats has been instrumental in helping debra of America raise awareness for Epidermolysis Bullosa and funds for research and the supportive services and programs.

 

ABOUT DEBRA OF AMERICA

The Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of America (debra of America) was founded in 1980 and is the only national nonprofit dedicated to funding research for treatments and a cure, while providing supportive services and programs for those who suffer from the rare and painful genetic disorder, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) – The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of.™ Visit debra.org

 

For more on last year’s event:

From  the December 2013 issue of Tennis Magazine, Mats Wilander helps lead the charge against what’s described as The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of by Andrew Friedman

 

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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.

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Courier Wins Atlanta to Sweep Southern Swing in PowerShares Series

Jim Courier photo courtesy of PowerShares.com

By Herman Wood

(November 10, 2012) ATLANTA – The PowerShares Series came to Atlanta tonight for the second leg of its southern swing. On Friday night in Tampa, Jim Courier, in front of his hometown crowd, pulled out a narrow 8-7 (2) after being down 1-5.

It’s a very different feel at this event- definitely not a typical tour stop. The night starts with a video montage, highlights of all the PowerShares Series players in their heyday set to loud rock and roll. As the players enter via spotlight, another montage of their personal highlights plays with more raucous rock and roll. The Atlanta program featured some big names, with a total of 19 grand slams between all the participants. The format features two semifinal matches of 1 regular set, then an 8 game pro set final.

Courier had a different path in Atlanta, taking on Michael Chang in the first match rather than Mats Wilander. Before the matches, each player spoke to the media.  Chang says its a little different for him in his forties. “Our body just doesn’t respond. That’s just normal. It’s been fun, but we definitely have to work in order to compete well. I think from a strategic point of view, I’m a better player.” “It’s a lot more fun- interactions with the crowd. At the end of the day we all have egos. We want to win.” For Courier, it isn’t all that different from the tour; “I don’t worry too much about it. I just get out here and go. Get into grind mode. Head down moving forward. It’s fun!”

The match started with Chang serving- or trying to serve. As he stepped to the line, a baby began crying. It looked like he was going to try to play through it, but paused just before his toss. He looked to the child, then to Courier, remarking that ” its a dad thing” Courier said “he wouldn’t know” Play began as the baby settled in. Apparently Chang didn’t, as an early break went to Courier. On Courier’s serve he held, but with a bucket list- “successful serve & volley to Michael Chang. You saw it here first.” with laughter from the crowd. It seemed Courier caught fire until Chang asked what side of the bed he woke up on. “Center- very zen.” After a couple of errors, he finally held off Chang. Both players showed the hallmarks of their game, Chang running down balls, Courier firing from the ad corner, running around backhands. Despite the scrambling and a break back, Courier was too much, breaking again to close the match at 6-3.

A short intermission followed, with Chang out helping some kids win Prince racquets by hitting targets. He fed U10 balls to the kids and gave then an assist with hitting the target. All the kids won a racquet, mostly thanks to Chang!

John McEnroe and Mats Wilander were the second semifinal. Wilander seemed to agree more with Courier’s assessment of the demands; “You’re trying to channel your concentration and focus into two hours, which is what you’re really good at if you’re playing professional tennis.” McEnroe, who has more points than anyone else in the series, said “It’s tough to do it back to back at this point, especially against this competition. Sometimes it’s tough to get that last point at the end. The court can beat you up. Staying injury free is a constant. We’ve got a good trainer. He takes good care of me. You have to work at it all the time. One of the factors is time. You have to take some time. It’s almost more important than practicing. You have to keep with it or you have no chance.” It looked like he needed a bit of service practice early on, as he was broken in the first game. The first point went to Wilander on a net cord. He apologized , but said he was not sorry. The crowd loved that! Early on, it seemed McEnroe had forgotten what his game was, rallying from the baseline much more frequently than making forays into the net. Once he moved in, momentum swung his way. Some service aces on his part didn’t hurt either. After getting the break back, McEnroe turned up the pressure, but Wilander stiffened his resolve and the games got longer. Wilander was often corner to corner and McEnroe had quite the number of volleys and overheads. He ultimately held on, 6-3, to earn another tiff with Courier in the final for a second night in a row.

After a very short intermission, they went at it just like the clock was turned back, only the groans from the players were a bit more frequent. Courier opened serving, going big right away- 2 aces and a service winner for the hold. McEnroe had a bit of struggle to hold for 1-1, but was able with a little encouragement from the crowd. Courier kept bringing the heat off the ground and from the serve all match. McEnroe soon matched him, holding easily with service aces, winners, and his usual characteristic touch volleys. Both men went corner to corner, with few mistakes and most points earned rather than given. Courier tried a bit of McEnroe touch while up big in a service game, much to his embarrassment. He asked McEnroe for some help, which he obliged with a demo volley. He then asked Courier for help with his forehand. That would have to wait until later.

Joking aside, the match turned a bit more serious as McEnroe turned on the pressure at 6-6, forcing 6 deuces. At one point, Courier asked if they could flip for it and McEnroe surprisingly agreed. They didn’t, but Courier held for 7-6. It turned out the push was too much for McEnroe, as he was broken for the match, 8-6 Courier.

“It’s always special to win and it’s nice to take over the top spot, but we have plenty more ahead of us on this tour,” said Courier. “Andre is going to be coming on strong to compete in these last four events, and John’s been so consistent all season long. So I expect an uphill battle to try and finish in the top spot but it was great to be back on top in Atlanta.”

Herman Wood was in Atlanta covering the PowerShares Series Champions Shootout at the Gwinnett Center  for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood

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Venus Williams, Wilander and Lendl at Caesars Tennis Classic News Conference


Listen to the Venus Williams, Mats Wilander, and Ivan Lendl News Conference
from the Caesars Tennis Classic.

(WMA file)

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