September 5, 2015

Taste of Tennis “Week” Returns

 

tasteoftennisny

NEW YORK, NY (July 27, 2015) – AYS, the creators and producers of the Taste of Tennis, announced the lineup of events leading up to this year’s US Open. From Top Chefs battling it out on the Tennis Court, to pro tennis players “serving” incredible cuisine, these exciting events offer something for all tastes! Events include the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge on August 26th, the 16th Annual Taste of Tennis Gala on August 27th and Party with The Pros on August 29th.

 

“Taste of Tennis is among the most recognizable brands in the culinary and tennis communities. Each year, our flagship event sells out. To satisfy demand, we have added the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge and Party with the Pros. Additionally, in 2016, we are excited to announce that we will launch Taste of Tennis Series in key tennis and culinary markets nationwide. It’s an extremely exciting time for us,” explains Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS.

 

Tickets for Taste of Tennis events are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.tasteoftennisnyc.com.  The complete Taste of Tennis Week schedule of events includes:

 

  • Wednesday, August 26th – Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, 10AM-2PM (City View Racquet Club, 43-34 32nd Place, Long Island City, NY): Hosted by Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan and SNY anchor Michelle Yu. At this exciting event, professional chefs will serve up something a little out of the ordinary as they compete in a round-robin doubles tournament to determine who is the King (or Queen) of the court! Guests will witness action packed matches featuring Marc Murphy (LandMarc), Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto) and many other renowned chefs. Guests will also enjoy interactive sponsor activities, and will join the chefs for a delicious post tournament cookout sponsored by Master Purveyors.

 

  • Thursday, August 27th – Taste of Tennis Gala, 7PM-10PM (W New York- 541 Lexington Ave.): The party that started it all! To celebrate the US Open, AYS created the Taste of Tennis, a one of a kind event featuring fine food prepared by 25 of NYC’s top culinary minds, signature cocktails, interactive sponsor experiences, live music and appearances by the world’s greatest tennis players. Hosting this year’s gala will be former Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, headlining Chef Marc Murphy and professional tennis stars The Bryan Brothers. Major sponsors for the 16th Taste of Tennis include Citi, Rado, Jamaica Tourist Board, Lifeway Kefir, Zepp, Master Purveyors, Inc., Mouton Cadet and Franciscan Estate Napa Valley, among others.  A portion of proceeds from this event will benefit Chef Eli Kulp, beloved chef of Philadelphia’s High Street Market who was in the process of opening a new restaurant in New York City when he was critically injured in the recent Amtrak train derailment.

 

  • Saturday, August 29th Party with the Pros, 7PM-9PM (Measure Lounge at Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue): Guests at the Party with the Pros will enjoy an evening of incredible hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef David Vandenabeele and signature cocktails while rubbing elbows with some of the top names in professional tennis. This exclusive event takes place at Measure Lounge in the luxurious Langham Place New York, Fifth Avenue. Availability is extremely limited, so get your tickets now! Confirmed players include Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and John Isner.

 

Special 10% discount for Tennis Panorama News readers for Taste of Tennis and the Celebrity Chef Challenge http://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-taste-of-tennis-tickets-14888080650?aff=erellivorg  – use the code TennisPanorama for the discount.

 

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Inaugural Taste of Tennis Miami to Take Place March 23

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(February 25, 2015) MIAMI BEACH, FL – AYS has announced the inaugural Taste of Tennis Miami presented by Citi taking place on Monday, March 23rd poolside at W South Beach. For 15 years, Taste of Tennis has kicked off the US Open Tennis Championships in New York and it is widely considered the World’s Premier Food & Tennis Experience! The event brings together professional athletes, top chefs and luxury brands for an unforgettable evening of gourmet food, interactive sponsor experiences, signature cocktails and appearances by the world’s best tennis players. Tennis personalities and local celebrities will be paired with some of Miami’s best chefs to Serve Up a unique food tasting experience. Tennis’ most celebrated doubles team, Bob and Mike Bryan, will be joined by a number of Miami’s finest chefs, including chefs from BLT Prime, Sushi Samba, Wild Fish Direct, Bocce, Khong River House and more to be announced.

 

“Taste of Tennis has such an amazing history in New York and we believe W South Beach provides the perfect backdrop for the inaugural Taste of Tennis Miami. We’re looking forward to celebrating our passions for crafted cocktails/cuisine and of course, to setting the scene here in South Beach. We couldn’t be more excited to host this one of a kind event,” said Rick Ueno, General Manager at W South Beach. AYS President Judi Lerner added, “We are thrilled to bring this event to Miami. Great food, music, signature cocktails and pro tennis players, poolside at the W South Beach, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the return of tennis to South Florida.”

 

A portion of the proceeds from the event benefits a local charity of choice. This year’s beneficiary, in addition to a full list of participating chefs and players, will be announced prior to the event. For more information and to purchase tickets to the 2015 Taste of Tennis Miami presented by Citi, please visit www.tasteoftennismiami.com. Major sponsors for the Innaugural Taste of Tennis Miami include Citi, W South Beach, Franciscan Estate, Mouton Cadet, Volkl, Head Penn, among others.

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Isner Discusses College Tennis Rule Change and Upcoming Davis Cup Tie

ISnerparty with the pros

John Isner photo courtesy of Getty Images, used with permission

By Karen Pestaina

(August 23, 2014) NEW YORK, NY – John Isner was one of the four tennis pros in attendance along with 150 people at the “Party with Pros event,” a part of Taste of Tennis Week, at the Measure Lounge of the Langham Place Fifth Avenue Hotel in Manhattan produced by AYS.

I asked the 29-year-old Isner who played college tennis at the University of  Georgia, about what he thought about Division I college singles rule change to using the no-ad scoring system.

He replied: “I think in doubles it’s good. Singles – if I had it my way, I’d probably not choose it that way, but at the same time you can argue that it will make players play better under pressure, when it does get to deuce, that no-ad point, there is going to be so much riding on that game, because the is.

“Sometimes college matches can drag on a little bit too much. I can understand what they’re doing, but if I was in charge I wouldn’t have that.”

After the US Open, the North Carolina native will be traveling to the Chicago area to lead the United States Davis Cup team in a critical World Group playoff tie versus the Slovak Republic. The winner will be in the World Group in 2015 while the loser will be relegated to Group 1 in their respective zone.

“Well it’s going to be a tough tie, “Isner said. “I think our chances are very good of moving on, but at the same time, it’s going to be extremely tough.

“I don’t care who we are playing against, I always believe that our team can win. It’s an extremely important tie for the fact that it’s a relegation tie. It’s a must win for both countries, but we do have the home court going for us. We’ll try to get that win to get back in the world group and start fresh next year.”

Isner pulled out of the Winston-Salem Open with a sprained left ankle earlier in the week. He said that he’s “doing very well.”

With the week before the US Open full of parties and photo-ops, I asked him if enjoyed participating in these type of social events before a major.

“It draws attention to our game,” he said. “Obviously we are here at the US Open. The US Open draws enough attention by itself. You know it’s a worldwide event and this city embraces the US Open, some people are watching it from all over the world, that’s why they have record crowds come in every year.

“Events like this draw more attention to the game. I guess people get to meet me. Hopefully they have a good impression of me and they try to watch me on TV cheer me on. If I can gain some fans by interacting a little bit it’s well worth it.”

The 13th seed at the US Open, Isner begins his quest for a US Open title when he faces off against fellow American 21-year-old Marcos Giron in the first round.

 

Azarenka Talks US Open “Party Patrol at Party with the Pros” Event

John Isner Defends Atlanta Open Title

Catching up with David Ferrer and John Isner

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Azarenka Talks US Open “Party Patrol at Party with the Pros” Event

 

AZARENKA party with the pros

(August 23, 2014) NEW YORK, NY – As part of Taste of Tennis Week, a series of special culinary events and parties leading into the 2014 US Open, the Measure Lounge of the Langham Place Fifth Avenue Hotel played  host to an exclusive party on Saturday night limited to 150 people called “Party with the Pros” an event produced by AYS.  Partygoers were treated to culinary delights as well as a chance to take photos with s few tennis pros. In attendance for the event were No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska, two-time Australian Open winner, No. 17 Victoria Azarenka, No. 22 Sloane Stephens and top US men’s player John Isner, currently ranked at No. 15 in the world.

Tennis Panorama News has a chance to speak with Azarenka about her week before the US Open.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News: You’ve been on what I like to call “Party Patrol” this week, at Taste of Tennis and now here at Party with the Pros. What do you like about doing these type of events?

Victoria Azarenka: Well Taste of Tennis is always a great opportunity to just get the night out, you know. It’s a great celebration with great food, which all of the athletes like to eat, obviously, and to just get your mind away a little bit and they always place where you can go out and enjoy yourself. It’s not too close to the tournament, an you know when they put me and Gael Monfils in the same room, it’s always going to be fun!

KP: I noticed that you tow were almost dancing when “Happy” came on (at the Taste of Tennis).

VA: We were dancing, we were dancing. I was also dancing with somebody else. We always have a good time. It’s great for other people to us enjoy ourselves off the court. On the court we mean business, but off the court, we are just chill, cool people who like to have a good time.

KP: It seems that tennis players are “foodies.” Would you agree with that?

VA: I am a big foodie. I love food. I appreciate good food. I appreciate healthy food, I’m not too big on junk food and hot dogs and all this stuff and I love to cook so I am definitely a foodie.

KP: I know that this has been a very challenging season for you. What are you looking forward to about playing the US Open?

VA: Just enjoy and really have to give my best and try my hardest. That’s what it’s all about all the time. We go out there to compete and give your best, you face your opponent who tries to do the same. Just to be out there and playing tennis for me, because I wasn’t even able to play four months ago at all so, I’m really going to enjoy that. And for me the process to get back into the playing mode. I’ve been working really hard, it’s all about just getting into the rhythm and then it’s gonna happen.

 

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Photos from 2014 Taste of Tennis

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(August 22, 2014) NEW YORK CITY – Thursday night the world’s top tennis players and chefs served up the US Open’s hottest pre-tournament action at the 15th annual Taste of Tennis Gala on Thursday, August 21st at the W New York in midtown Manhattan as part of the first ever Taste of Tennis WeekThis year’s event was headlined by world No. 1 Serena Williams and Chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame and was hosted by The TODAY Show and MSNBC’s NewsNation’s Tamron Hall.  Guests mixed and mingled with tennis players while sampling an eclectic mix of specially designed dishes served up by some of the most renowned New York City chefs.

 

Serena Williams, Morimoto and Tamron were joined by some of the world’s top tennis players including Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, the Bryan Brothers, Aga Radwanska, Dustin Brown, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jack Sock and some of New York’s most prestigious chefs including Marc Murphy (Landmarc), Peter Andino (Heartbeat), Daniel Holzman & Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop) and Kerry Heffernan (Top Chef Masters Finalist), Zac Young (David Burke Group). Proceeds from the event benefited City Harvest.

 

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Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan to Host Celebrity Chef Challenge as part of Taste of Tennis Week

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Chef Kerry Hefferman with Sam Stosur

(August 13, 2014) Since 2000 the world’s top tennis players and chefs have been serving up culinary delights at the Annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis. This year’s premier pre-US Open social event to be held on Thursday night, August 21 at the W New York Hotel, is again being hosted by world No. 1 Serena Williams, along with featured Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Other players scheduled to appear are Gael Monfils, Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, Bob & Mike Bryan, Dustin Brown and Sloane Stephens.

Serena Williams, Azarenka, Bryan Brothers and More To Headline First-Ever Taste of Tennis Week

In addition to the Thursday gala, Taste of Tennis will be hosting several special events as part of “Taste of Tennis Week” including the Celebrity Chef Doubles Tennis Challenge on Wednesday, August 20th at the Midtown Tennis Club. The tournament will pair guests with a top chef in a round-robin style tournament. Serena Williams will team up with Chef Morimoto for the event which will be televised at a later date on MSG Plus and New England Sports Network on a program hosted by sports broadcaster Harry Cicma.

Hosting the Celebrity Chef Challenge will be Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan. Hefferman who is one of the chefs who has participated in Taste of Tennis the longest, said although he played a little tennis growing up in the suburbs, he didn’t really get thoroughly absorbed by it until he received a tennis racquet as one of the gifts in his Taste of Tennis goodie bag a few years ago.

”You get these great goodie bags and in them were these amazing tennis racquets,” he said.

“Wait a minute these look like really good racquets, maybe I should try this thing. One thing led to another… and it’s been three years now since I really got into it.”

“It grows on you, you want to get better, you want to play more, you want to find people that play. You just mushroom into this obsession that creeps into all different parts of your life.”

The idea for the Celebrity Chef Challenge came about as the result of attending the BNP Paribas showdown at Madison Square Garden earlier in the year.

“Other chefs were in attendance tweeting pictures at the event,” Hefferman continued. “Through social media and texts among other chefs” the idea gained a lot of momentum.

I asked Chef Hefferman if he thought that many tennis players are “foodies” and many chefs are into tennis.

“I would concur 100 percent,” he said. “The passion that most chefs have for tennis, is like their display of their cooking. Many similarities – it’s hot, it’s unpredictable, you’re subject to a lot of pressure.

“Lot of parallels between a tennis match and cooking in a professional kitchen.

“The other thing is I notice, having done this for 13 years, that probably a set number of celebrities come and cook with me, so many of them are interested in food and are so knowledgeable about food, it’s really, really satisfying to have somebody come back and recognize that you have an heirloom tomato, or chose a carrot with an usual herb, just to have that culinary fluency.

“And I would say that certainly the European players are a little more fluent even. But the Bryan Brothers for example are super. We did this almost quickfire challenge with Gail Simmons from Top Chef and Top Chef Masters and they were having a blast. Bob Bryan is such a great guy, he still follows me on twitter, we still both keep in touch. Okay, he’s a bit busier than I am. It was a connection through food that like lasts.”

With such a link between Chef Hefferman and tennis, I asked him: ‘If you were a tennis player, who would you be in the Culinary world?’

“That’s a good question,” he said. “I guess you would want to be (Roger) Federer because it’s that effortless execution, that focus and determination.

“Like many chefs, I have such admiration for him having gone back and strengthen part of your game….. his serve for example brought him to the finals at Wimbledon that you just have some respect for the craft. Many chefs would like to be compared to someone like that because he approaches it with ultimate appreciation for how the game is played almost the technical aspect. Anybody would want to be a (Rafael) Nadal or even a (Novak) Djokovic, for the passion, the energy and the dedication but for me if I could be compared to a Federer.

“Your cooking should appear as effortless as his backhand, it shouldn’t looked contrived, it shouldn’t look like you are trying to make look like something it’s not.

“The way that Roger plays the game has got sort of that natural beauty to it. There’s a kind of energy that we really appreciate.”

For more details on the Taste of Tennis events, visit www.tasteoftennis.com.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

 

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Serena Williams, Azarenka, Bryan Brothers and More To Headline First-Ever Taste of Tennis Week

 

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August 20, 2014 – August 23, 2014

 

Press Release: NEW YORK, NY (July 29, 2014) – AYS, the creators and producers of the Taste of Tennis, New York’s premier pre-US Open experience, announced today the first-ever Taste of Tennis Week will take place from August 20th – August 23th, 2014 in New York City.  In addition to the renowned Taste of Tennis Gala, Taste of Tennis Week will feature even more tennis-meets-food events, including the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge on August 20th, Citi Dining Series on August 21st and Party with The Pros on August 23rd.

 

The 15th Annual Taste of Tennis Gala offers guests the opportunity to sample sensational cuisine prepared by the most prestigious chefs in the world, sip on handcrafted cocktails all while rubbing elbows with professional tennis players. World #1 Serena Williams, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Host of Today Show and MSNBC’s NewsNation, Tamron Hall, will be joined by top tennis players, celebrities and a number of New York’s finest chefs and culinary personalities.

 

“The Taste of Tennis concept has proven to be so popular, and we are pleased to offer these exciting new events that provide foodies and tennis fans with unprecedented access to their favorite chefs and pro tennis personalities,” explains Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS.

 

Tickets for the Taste of Tennis Week are currently on sale and can be purchased online via the links below. The complete Taste of Tennis Week schedule of events includes:

  • Wednesday, August 20th –  Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, 9AM-12PM (Midtown Tennis Club – 341 8th Avenue): Hosted by Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan. At this exciting event, professional chefs will serve up something a little out the ordinary as they compete in a round-robin style doubles tournament to determine who is the King (or Queen) of the court!

o    Participating chefs include: Marc Murphy (Landmarc), Kerry Heffernan (Top Chef Masters Finalist), Daniel Holzman (The Meatball Shop), Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop), David Seigal (Cull & Pistol), Francois Payard (FPB, FP Patisserie), Zac Young (David Burke Group), Chad Brown (Davio’s), Eric Gabrynowicz (Restaurant North), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto), Phil Conlon (Corkbuzz Wine Studio), Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill), Philippe LaJaunie (Les Halles), Carmen Quagliata (Union Square Café), Floyd Cardoz (Celebrated Indian American Chef) and Andrew Friedman (Cookbook Author)

  • $150 to Participate in the Challenge: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrity-chef-tennis-challenge-tickets-12319053621
  • Thursday, August 21st – Taste of Tennis Gala, 7PM-10PM (W New York- 541 Lexington Ave.): The party that started it all! To celebrate the US Open, AYS created the Taste of Tennis, a one of a kind event featuring fine food prepared by 25 of NYC’s top culinary minds, signature cocktails, interactive sponsor experiences, live music and appearances by the world’s greatest tennis players. Hosting this year’s gala will be Today Show’sTamron Hall, headlining Chef Masaharu Morimoto and professional tennis star Serena Williams. The evening will be a curated culinary evening with US Open stars, the brightest chefs in New York and celebrities who will be on hand to enjoy the slew of offerings with proceeds benefiting City Harvest.

o  Participating chefs include:Headlining chef, Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto), John Mooney (Bell, Book, & Candle), Marc Murphy (Landmarc), Peter Andino (Heartbeat), Daniel Holzman & Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop), Eric Gabrynowicz (Restaurant North), Kerry Heffernan (Top Chef Masters Finalist), Bill Telepan (Joel Javier/Larissa Raphael) (Telepan Local), David Seigal (Cull & Pistol), Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga and The Fat Ham), Jimmy Bradley (The Red Cat), Phil Conlon (Corkbuzz Wine Studio), Chad Brown (Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse), Carlos Llaguno (Les Halles), Harold Moore (Commerce Restaurant), Ben Pollinger (Oceana), Zac Young (David Burke Group), Georgeann Leaming (Suppa), Admir Alibasic (Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse), Sebastien Chamaret (Bagatelle), Paul Evans (Secrets St. James, JTB) among others.

o  Participating athletes include: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Bryan Brothers, Sloane Stephens, Gael Monfils, Aga Radwanska, Dustin Brown and more to be announced.

o  Major sponsors for the 15th Taste of Tennis include Citi, Rado, Guadalupe Islands Tourist Board, The Cheesecake Factory, Jamaica Tourist Board, W New York, UnBurn, Mouton Cadet and Franciscan Estate Napa Valley, among others.

  • Ticket Information: Individual tickets for the event are available for $275/per person; http://tasteoftennisnyc.eventbrite.com/?aff=PressRelease
  • Saturday, August 23rd Party with The Pros, 6PM-9PM (Measure Lounge at Langham Place Fifth Ave.): Guests at the Party with the Pros will enjoy an evening of great food, handcrafted signature cocktails and live music, with some of the top names in professional tennis. This exclusive event takes place a Measure Lounge at the luxurious Langham Place Fifth Avenue hotel. Attendance is limited to 150 guests so get your tickets now!

o    Participating athletes include: Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and John Isner

ABOUT TASTE OF TENNIS

“Taste of Tennis,” the world’s premier food and tennis experience, brings professional athletes, influential chefs, the entertainment industry and global brands together for a unique tasting event with a sports twist.  The ultimate kick-off celebration to US Open in New York City, “Taste of Tennis” is the perfect convergence of sports fans and culinary enthusiasts.  Produced by AYS, Taste of Tennis and its sister event, Taste of Tennis Australia, have become the most widely recognized and anticipated events on the yearly calendar.  Visit our website at www.tasteoftennis.com.

 

ABOUT AYS

AYS is a full-service marketing consultation and event solutions company. Since 1995, we have leveraged our experience to help clients create successful B2B and B2C marketing initiatives and events worldwide. Our mission is to maximize marketing ROI for our clients. AYS also produces the Taste of Tennis™, which is widely considered the World’s Premier Food & Tennis Experience. Visit our website at www.aysworld.com.

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Approach Shots – Judy Murray Q & A Part Three

 

JudyMurray

(September 19, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – During the US Open, Great Britain’s Fed Cup Captain Judy Murray, mother of ATP players Andy Murray and Jamie Murray, sat down to do an interview with Tennis Panorama News.

In part three of our Q & A,  we go off the beaten path and ask the former top Scottish women’s tennis player about tennis and twitter and discuss her famous sweet tooth.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News: Tennis and Twitter seem to go together. Out of all the social media out there tennis players, tennis fans, tennis media have taken to twitter in great numbers

Judy Murray: Yes, I think that’s the great thing about it. It allows you to engage with people who are tennis fans and in a very fun and safe way.

It’s up to you if you want to do it. It’s up to you what you put there. I enjoy it. I reply to a few tweets, maybe not daily, but I try to reply to a few tweets. I’ve actually made a few very good friends on twitter, strangely. You just have to make up your mind how you want to use it. I just think it’s a really good way to engage with fans.

And I think there are people I follow on twitter, they tend to be either people who are funny or people who I get tennis information from or tennis people who amuse me. Or might be people you admire from other sports. Not too many like that but I just like to follow a few people from different walks of life and it’s just quite interesting. I fit’s used in the right way, it can be very creative and it’s harmless. It can be quite addictive. You can spend quite a lot of time on it. In fact when you are over here (United States) my phone bill goes up quite a lot if I’m on it. It’s good fun.

 

KP: You are known for having a sweet tooth. Do you have favorite pastries, desserts, did you go to Taste of Tennis?

JM: I didn’t go because I wasn’t here (New York City). I would’ve gone if I had been here. I went the one in Melbourne, I really enjoyed that. That was great fun.

I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth.

I like anything that’s sponge (cake) – sponge with icing on it. So I like cupcakes with not too much icing. If it’s too much, it’s too sweet and I can’t eat it all.

I like fresh cream like chocolate éclairs and mille-feuille with fresh cream through it.

A sponge, filled with cream, fresh cream with jam would be my absolute favorite, so it’s not like too sweet. I like a good dessert as well. I like banana and pineapple and chocolate, coconut, meringue. I like caramel sauce.

I could eat most things.

 

Related articles:

Approach Shots – Judy Murray Q & A Part One

Approach Shots – Judy Murray Q & A Part Two

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Jill Craybas To Hang Up Racquet After the US Open

 

 By Vito Ellison and Josh Meiseles Special to Tennis Panorama News

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

TPN: What has been your favorite place to play?

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

TPN: How did you decide to hang it up?

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

 

TPN: What has kept you motivated all these years?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Serena Williams photo by Josh Meiseles

Serena Williams photo by Josh Meiseles

By  Vito Ellison  and Josh Meiseles Special to Tennis Panorama News

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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