Victoria Duval Joins Pack of Young U.S. Women into Second Round of Wimbledon

Victoria Duval photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

Victoria Duval photo by Christopher Levy @tennis_shots

(June 24, 2014) WIMBLEDON – No. 114 Victoria Duval came through Wimbledon qualifying with a back injury last week. This week she’s taken out 29th seed Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the first round of Wimbledon. Born in Miami, the 18-year-old of Haitian heritage, playing Wimbledon for the first time, joined a group of young American women making their All England Club debut including Madison Keys and Alison Riske advancing to second round.

Duval had reached the the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Juniors back in 2011.

She announced herself last year when she took out 2011 U.S. Open Champion Sam Stosur in the first round of the U.S. Open. ” That was one of my best playing days that I can remember,” said Duval.

“I have my expectations of myself,” Duval said. “I’m not thinking about following up a win. I’m just thinking about winning all the time.”

She said it was “pretty crazy” to think she was actually playing at Wimbledon and that it did not sink in until during the third set.

Duval had reached the the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Juniors back in 2011.

Madison Keys, 19, who won her first WTA title three days ago in Eastbourne, finally got in the win column against Monica Puig, defeating the woman from Puerto Rico 6-3, 6-3.

“She’s a great player and we’ve played a couple of times,” Keys said.  “She’s beaten me a couple of times.

“But I was really just trying to go in and just stick to my game plan, not really worry about who is on the other side of the net.”

Alison Riske joined the USA party by upsetting 26th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 5-7, 6-1.

Missing out on the winning experience was wild card Taylor Townsend who fell to 31st seed Klara Koukalova 7-5, 6-2

“Definitely it was a great experience,” Townsend said despite the loss.  “I’m really glad that I was able to get the wildcard and be here, first and foremost.

“I definitely am not pleased about my match, but it’s just a learning experience really.  I’m just going to take what I’ve learned over the past two slams.  I’m going to go back home.  I’m going to work extremely hard and get ready for the US Open Series.

“I have tons of tournaments to look forward to and a lot of great things are ahead, but it’s time to just put my head down and work again.”

“There are a lot of things I still need to work on in my game,” said Duval. Improving mentally, physically and getting stronger.”

Duval will face an opponent younger than herself in Belinda Bencic.

“I’m looking forward to it, it should be very exciting,” said an enthusiastic Duval.

“My goal is to win a couple of more rounds,” she said. “You come into a tournament hoping to win it.”

“My goal was top 100,” which she has reached by virtue of her win on Tuesday. “Keep improving keep winning.”



Karen Pestaina at Wimbledon

Related articles:

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Q & A with Victoria Duval at the Sony Open

296th Ranked Qualifier Victoria Duval Upends 2011 US . Open Winner Sam Stosur

Clock Strikes Midnight for Cinderella Victoria Duval





“On The Call” with US French Open Wild Cards Taylor Townsend and Robby Ginepri

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

(May 7, 2014) The USTA held a media conference call on Wednesday with Robby Ginepri and Taylor Townsend, the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge winners. Each earned a wild card into the 2014 French Open based on results over the past three weeks on the USTA Pro Circuit.

Here is a transcript of the call courtesy of ASAPSports:


May 7, 2014

Robby Ginepri

Taylor Townsend

TIM CURRY:  Thank you, everyone, for joining us for our conference call with Taylor Townsend and Robby Ginepri, both of whom secured wild cards this weekend to Roland Garros later this month by winning the Har‑Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge.
The wild card was made available to any American who did not receive direct entry into the French Open main draw.  The man and woman who earned the most ATP and WTA Tour ranking points in two of three select USTA Pro Circuit clay court events was awarded the wild card.  This is the third the USTA Player Development has used this format to determine its French Open wild cards.
Robby finished with 80 points after winning the Tallahassee challenger.  He last played in the main draw of the French Open in 2010 when he reached the fourth round, the best showing of an American male that year.  He also is the only active American male to reach the semifinals of a major, the 2005 US Open, where he lost to Agassi in five sets.
Taylor will be making her Grand Slam debut in Paris.  She won consecutive clay court events, the Boyd Tinsley Clay Court Classic in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Audi Melbourne Pro Tennis Classic in Indian Harbour Beach to earn 180 ranking points and the USTA’s wild card.
With that being said, we will open the call for questions.

Q.  Taylor, I know you probably played three matches in a day many times in the juniors.  Was Sunday the first day you played four?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  No.  The year I won Easter Bowl in 2012 I had to play four matches.  This is the first time I had to play four pro matches and won them all.

Q.  Especially because that first match was really the key match, how did you focus on the next three?  Was that difficult?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  No, not really.  I mean, I knew that I would have to play another match once I won my semifinal.  I wanted to win the tournament.  I felt like it was important.
I didn’t really think so much about the circumstance.  I just thought about what I had to do on the court and kind of focused and zoned in on that.
It wasn’t really difficult.  I think my semifinals in the doubles I was a little bit more tired.  But then I got up and got myself going again in the finals of the doubles.  The score was indicative of that.

Q.  What does it mean to you to be playing in your first one knowing you earned the wild card rather than just being given the wild card?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I mean, it’s a great feeling.  It’s a great feeling for me.  I think I’m going into this tournament really, really confident.  I’m playing really well.  It’s just really good to know that I earned this.  It was not like I was given it.  It wasn’t like someone just decided to give me a wild card.  It was something that I earned with my sweat and hard work.
It feels really good to know that.  It gives me a lot of confidence in my match play and things I’ve been working on, so I’m excited.

Q.  Robby, in a bit of an unusual circumstance, you had to play two matches on the day you clinched the wild card.  It was an unusual week from going indoors to clay, two matches a day.  Talk about your week, how everything progressed, what it was like when you knew you were playing a match to clinch a French Open wild card.
ROBBY GINEPRI:  Definitely a strange week with rain four days.  Coming into the semifinals, I think my opponent had played all three of his matches indoors, so I knew that going into it.  I was a lot more nervous for the semifinals match than I was for the finals.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but knew what was at stake all week.  Played some good tennis to get through the semifinals.  Once I got through there, it was an easy match in the finals.
Excited to be back and going to the Grand Slam in Paris.

Q.  Can you give us a run‑through of what you’ve been dealing with through the last couple years.
ROBBY GINEPRI:  Yeah, a couple years ago after I had a good fourth‑round appearance at the French, later that year I broke my left elbow mountain biking, had a couple elbow surgeries and was out for a year, year and a half.  Struggling to find my rhythm, find my game, stay healthy.
Obviously, all professional athletes go through injuries.  How you deal with them, manage them, that’s all I’ve been trying to do.
Still enjoying the game out there.  It’s a big opportunity for me to get this wild card.  Definitely feel like I can do some damage over there.  I’ve shown I can do it before.  Eager to get out there on the red clay.
I’ve always enjoyed going to Paris.  It’s a special place to me.  I feel like the fans are extremely knowledgeable when they’re watching all the matches.  Regardless of the courts you’re on, Court 17 or one of the show courts, they’re pretty packed.  I’m stoked for that.

Q.  What is your schedule now?  How does this change knowing you have a European trip on the schedule?
ROBBY GINEPRI:  I’ll head over next week and play Nice, a warmup qualifying tour event, then go over to Roland Garros after that.  I have a week, train as hard as I can to get ready for three‑out‑of‑five.

Q.  Taylor, what is your schedule heading to Paris?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I’m leaving next week, going to Strasbourg.  Play that, probably quallies.  Then after that I’m going to Paris as well, get some matches on the red clay.  Get over there and get used to the time change and everything.  I think that’s important, as well.

Q.  Robby, when you take a look now at guys like Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish, James Blake, they’re now all off the circuit.  Is it a little weird for you to think about going to a major without those guys there?  Do you talk to them frequently?
ROBBY GINEPRI:  Yeah, it is a little strange the last couple years with them retiring from the game.  Still see them and speak to them here and there.
But also made some new friends along the way.  Some of the other Americans will be there to compete and do our thing over there.
Those were the three or four guys that I grew up and played all the Grand Slams with and had the success with, shared great times with.  So it’s a little different.
I feel like they could have had a couple more good years left, and I’ll try to play well for them along the way.

Q.  Taylor, when you look at the Pro Circuit, the USTA Pro Circuit, how grateful are you to have this opportunity to stay in the States and hone your game, play these pro events, then have the chance for a wild card into a major because of it?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I think it’s great.  I mean, I definitely think that the Pro Circuit is great.  It’s an opportunity for you to get a lot of matches, an opportunity to get points.  It’s great that we have it stateside.  It makes it easier for us to be able to play in our home because there aren’t that many tournaments here anymore.  It is important.
I think having the wild card on the line, it makes it all the more competitive, not just with the Americans, but with the foreign people who come and play as well.  There are a lot more foreigners in the draw than there were Americans.  So I think it’s important.  It drew great crowds and was fun.

Q.  Robby, my target audience is Atlanta tennis players.  You said you were nervous getting this wild card.  You also talked a little bit about managing the injuries that you’ve had.  If you could give me a couple concrete details about how you did that, how you manage nerves, then one or two specific things you did to help get your body back on track.
ROBBY GINEPRI:  I mean, it all starts with the mental side.  It’s extremely time consuming to go to rehab for nine months to just try to bend your elbow, get as much range as you can.  That’s something athletes are very good at doing, is separating the time on the court or field, whatnot, to dedicating their life to how they can progress in a positive manner.
Had a lot of my friends and family and close people pushing me along the way, supporting me, which is a huge step and process anytime something like this happens.
Just try to keep up with the physical strength and fitness as much as I could, doing it as much as I could without hitting some balls.
I started doing a lot of Yoga, which helped me a lot mentally, just feeling a little bit more flexible.

Q.  People have talked about Americans not doing all that well on clay.  What is your take on the situation?  I know Serena won the French last year.  In general, Americans don’t necessarily grow up playing on clay.  How do you think Americans can improve their clay performances in general?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I think it just starts off with the player.  I mean, you can either love clay or hate clay.  You’re not going to do well if you hate it.  I just think it starts with a mindset.
It’s definitely a different way of playing.  Well, not a different way of playing, but the points are longer, the sliding.  It’s more physical.  It’s a whole different component you have to train for.
I don’t think it’s just a matter of us not doing well.  I think it’s a mindset we have to understand that, you know, it’s longer points, longer rallies, choosing to stay in there mentally and physically.
ROBBY GINEPRI:  I agree with Taylor.  Definitely a choice and decision to embrace the clay court experience.  A lot of the foreigners do grow up on this so they feel more comfortable starting out.  The way they are able to construct points at an early age, get the footing, is different than how we are raised on the American hard courts where we pull the trigger earlier and don’t construct points as long.
It just takes time.  Once on the clay, to get your footing down, the experience, realize that we can play on this just as good if not better.

Q.  Do you think growing up now, the juniors should have more exposure to clay, those in the USTA, academies and such in the U.S.?
ROBBY GINEPRI:  Yeah, I think it’s great for the kids to get on the clay earlier.  There’s no harm in that.  It’s easier on the body.  Takes less out of you.  Not as much pounding from the hard courts that we’ve done from an earlier age.  Maybe the longevity would last longer if we get out there earlier.  I think it’s been moving a bit more towards clay at an earlier age over here.
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I totally agree with Robby.  I think it’s great.  I think there are a lot more tournaments that are providing clay court play.  Also we’re training more on clay.  From my experience, we did the off‑season training on the clay because, like he said, it’s easier on your body, on the knees, not as much pounding.  It’s good training.
I think it’s great it’s starting to lean a little bit more towards that and at an earlier age.

Q.  Robby, some details about the elbow injury.  What exactly was it that happened?  Did you have to keep it in a cast for a certain amount of time?  What did you need to do to get that right?
ROBBY GINEPRI:  Yeah, I probably went into surgery the next day on it.  Then casted it the next three days.  I was in rehab right away getting the range back and not letting the scar tissue build up on it.  I had a lot of atrophy happen with it, so I lost a lot of muscle mass and flexion.
I was literally going to rehab five days a week, three hours every day, not seeing any progress some weeks, then seeing big gains the next.  There were a lot of ups and downs during that time.
I still can’t fully extend my left arm right now.  I’ve had some left wrist issues along the way from a little bit too much pressure on that joint and the ligaments.
Like I said before, I’m trying to manage this the best I can, get as much treatment at tournaments and away from tournaments and go from there.

Q.  Taylor, what has it been like working with Zina?  What has she brought to your training and improvement in the last year or so?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  It’s definitely been great.  I’ve had a lot of fun working with Zina, as well as my other coach in Chicago Kamau Murray.  We’ve been working a lot on mental training.  We’ve been working physically on the court.  But a lot of mental training, understanding the game, understanding how to play the game.  Basically that’s it really.
There wasn’t that much tweaking we did with my strokes.  There wasn’t really anything we had to do there.  It was more me getting an understanding for how to play the game.  Actually what they’ve both brought to the table is mental training.  The mental training has just been really key.
That’s what we’ve been working on.  It’s been great.  I’ve enjoyed my time with both of them.  I’m really looking forward to going over to Europe with them.

Q.  Could you talk about the process of the wild card, determining the winner on the USTA Pro Circuit through the Har‑Tru USTA Pro Circuit Challenge.  Do you like the process?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I liked it.  I think that it is a great opportunity to not only increase the competitiveness in the 50K’s, but it’s a great opportunity for all the Americans to have a shot at something so big.
I mean, I think it’s very fair because whoever wins it earned it.  It’s not like you’re given it.  It’s not just placed in the palm of your hand.  You earned it with your sweat, hard work, the tournaments you played.  I think it’s a great process.  I think it’s very fair.
I also think that it’s great that we can have that reward at the end of those three tournaments.  It’s very rewarding to win tournaments, but to know we also get a wild card into the French Open is even more satisfying.
I really like the process and I think it’s really fair and I think that it’s great.
ROBBY GINEPRI:  Yeah, same.  Huge advocate for the wild card playoffs.  It brings a lot to the table.  There’s no question of who deserved it or who got it.  Like Taylor said, we earned it.  We’re the ones that reap all the benefits from it now, get a main draw wild card for Paris.
I like how they did it her in Atlanta for the Australian wild card shootout as well.  Hopefully we continue it down the road.  It’s good for American tennis.

Q.  Robby, you’ve had really good results at the French in the past with a couple fourth‑round appearances.  Have you set any goals for yourself there this year?
ROBBY GINEPRI:  Haven’t really sat down and planned out and say I want to reach the fourth round again or whatnot.  Wasn’t even on the radar a couple months ago.
It’s a huge bonus for me.  First four or five years I played Paris, I lost first round.  To break through in ’07 and ’08 to get to the fourth round, then 2010 I proved I could do it again, beat tough guys over there in five sets.  Bring my A game over there and see how it goes.

Q.  Taylor, making your Grand Slam debut, do you have any goals set for yourself there?
TAYLOR TOWNSEND:  I mean, as far as rounds are concerned, not really.  I just think for me I want to embrace the moment, embrace every opportunity that comes my way, and just enjoy the moment.  This is my first Grand Slam main draw.  It’s a lot to take in.  It’s an honor and a privilege just to be there.
I don’t want to just be happy to be there; I want to compete and do the best that I can.  I think if I do the right things and everything, it will take care of itself.

Q.  Robby, if you do well in France, if you feel okay, what could be your schedule for the rest of the season?
ROBBY GINEPRI:  I’d probably stay over there and play a lot of the grass court tournaments.  Obviously my ranking has plummeted a lot in the last couple years.  It would be a question of what events I could even get into.  I’d be playing quallies I’m sure at most of them.
I’ve always liked playing Queen’s Club, Eastbourne.  I don’t think I’d be getting into Wimbledon, so I’d have to play quallies of that.  Then I’d come back and prepare like I always do for a great hard court season.
There’s the tournament here in Atlanta, my hometown event.  I get amped up for that and go there.

Q.  Do you think anything about the US Open?
ROBBY GINEPRI:  Oh, yeah.  The whole US Open Series, any tournaments I could get into and play and qualify, I would obviously love to be a part of that.
I have a lot of special memories from playing the Open.  It’s always been my dream to play that tournament.  If I can still continue to be there and play there, I would obviously come back and show up and execute my skill set there every match, try to get some W’s.
TIM CURRY:  Thanks, Taylor and Robby, for the time.  Good luck overseas.
Har‑Tru Sports, which is sponsoring the Clay Court Wild Card Challenge for the second year of a three‑year deal, is also launching a Be One With the Clay video contest this year where tennis fans can create a video demonstrating how clay courts impact their game.  The contest closes on May 31st and the winner receives a trip to Palm Springs.  For more information, visit www.beonewiththeclay.com.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


Tennis Panorama News participates in many tennis media conference calls. “On The Call” serves to give readers an inside view into the world of tennis news.


Taylor Townsend Striving for Top 50



(March 6, 2014) INDIAN WELLS, California – Just a year ago a 16-year-old Taylor Townsend made her pro debut at the BNP Paribas Open knocking off top 100 player Lucie Hradecka. A year later the young American, another wildcard and a year wiser, Townsend tops No. 49 Karin Knapp 7-6(1), 6-1, Back in January Knapp extended Maria Sharapova to the brink at the Australian Open.

The match was not a clean one, both combatants combined for 53 unforced errors. “ Neither of us had a rythym on serve,” Townsend said in regard to the back and forth first set. I was just trying to stay solid on my returns, just trying to make her play every single ball.

The former Junior No. 1 said the biggest improvement has been her focus.

“I’m happy with my progress, as far as where I’ve been going, what I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing a lot of hard work, a lot of hours, both on and off the court.

“I’m happy with my progress over the last couple of months.”

“My mental game has gotten a lot better. My coaches and I have been stressing being very mentally tough and learning the game, learning how things work,” Townsend said. “We’ve been stressing that a lot, watching a lot of matches and trying to understand how to play when pressure hits, how to play when you’re up, how to play when you’re down. Things like that.”

Townsend’s focus was tested, just before her news conference when she followed her favorite player Roger Federer into the interview room – as he was leaving, she was entering.

“I tried not to look,” she said with a laugh. “Focus, Taylor focus! That’s what I’ve been working on. Focus please. I played it off well.”

Townsend’s goals for 2014 are to make the top 50 in singles and in doubles. “I’m pretty far away in singles (No. 337), in doubles I’m 189 so that’s not hard. You can have a few good tournaments, here and there and that can shoot up easily. Off the court I’m just continuing to work on myself.

A big test comes for Townsend in the second round when she plays the Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta, the 20th seed at the BNP Paribas Open.


BNP Paribas Open announces Wild Cards Which Include Americans Young, Sock, Harrison, Johnson, Duval and Townsend

big bnp paribas open logo

INDIAN WELLS, Calif., Feb. 26, 2014 – Former top five players Nadia Petrova and Vera Zvonareva; Americans Donald Young, Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, Steve Johnson, Rhyne Williams, Coco Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers, Vicky Duval and Taylor Townsend; and Donna Vekic and Belinda Bencic were granted wildcards into the main draws of the BNP Paribas Open, to be held March 3 – 16 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, it was announced today by Tournament Director Steve Simon.
Russia’s Nadia Petrova has won 13 career WTA single titles and 24 doubles crowns. The former World No. 3 has reached nine Grand Slam quarterfinals, advancing to the semifinals twice. Fellow Russian star and 2009 BNP Paribas Open champion Vera Zvonareva has 12 career WTA singles triumphs and six doubles titles. The former World No. 2 also has two Grand Slam finals appearances.
In addition, nine Americans have been granted wildcards into the main draws including Donald Young, who reached the third round of this year’s Australian Open; 21-year-old Jack Sock, who advanced to the third round of the 2013 U.S. Open; Ryan Harrison, who boasted a career-high ranking of No. 43 in 2012; two-time NCAA Champion from USC Steve Johnson, who reached the third round of the 2012 US Open; Rhyne Williams, who is coming off a quarterfinals appearance at Delray Beach, pushing top-ranked American and World No. 13 John Isner to three sets; Coco Vandeweghe, a two-time ITF singles winner; Shelby Rogers, a four-time singles champion on the ITF circuit; Vicky Duval, who achieved a career-high ranking earlier this year after jumping 528 rankings places since the end of 2011; and 17-year-old Taylor Townsend, who turned professional in 2012 after reaching the top of the junior rankings earlier that year.
Two other international players receiving main draw wildcards are 17-year-old Croatian Donna Vekic, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 62 in 2013 and 16-year-old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who advanced to the second round of the Australian Open earlier this year.
“This year’s main draw wildcards span from established veterans, to rising American and international stars,” said Simon. “Awarding wildcards to players like Nadia Petrova, Vera Zvonareva, Donald Young, Jack Sock and others, add to the excitement for fans and provide the potential for these deserving athletes to make a run at the BNP Paribas Open.”
Qualifying wildcards were given to Americans Raymond Sarmiento, Stefan Kozlov, Clay Thompson, Irina Falconi, Madison Brengle, Grace Min and Allie Kiick, Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinaxis and the United Kingdom’s Heather Watson.
Sarmiento is a senior-standout at USC and member of two NCAA team championships for the Trojans. Sixteen-year-old Kozlov achieved a career-high ranking in February, after turning pro in 2013. Thompson reached a career-high ranking in 2013. Falconi cracked the WTA top 100 in 2011 and advanced to the second round of this year’s Australian Open. Brengle reached a career-high ranking earlier this year, and has won five ITF singles titles. Min won the 2011 US Open Junior Championship and three ITF titles in 2012, while Kiick also has three ITF singles crowns. Kokkinaxis advanced to the second round at this year’s Australian Open, where he pushed World No. 1 Rafael Nadal to three sets. Watson has one WTA singles title and two doubles titles.
In addition to the aforementioned qualifying wildcards, the winners of each BNP Paribas Challenge, the pre-qualifying event for the tournament, which takes place February 24 – March 1, will also be granted a berth into the 2014 BNP Paribas Open qualifying draw. Women’s qualifying starts March 3 and men’s qualifying begins March 4.

Melanie Oudin, Coco Vandeweghe, Victoria Duval and Taylor Townsend to Headline South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic


(October 31, 2013) CAPTIVA, FLORIDA – The South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic is thrilled to announce today that top rising American tennis stars are headlining the upcoming $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Event getting underway on November 3rd. The line-up of young American talent in the Singles Main Draw will include Melanie Oudin, Coco Vandeweghe, Maria Sachez, Madison Brengle, Sachia Vickery, Julia Cohen, Victoria Duval, Jessica Pegula, Nicole Gibbs, Allie Kiick, Taylor Townsend and Chieh-Yu Hsu.

In addition to this, recently announced Wild Card recipients including the Women’s Pro Classic Wild Card Tournament winner Nikki Kallenberg (who will receive a direct entry into the Singles Main Draw) along with the three Singles Main Draw Wild Cards awarded by the USTA to Julia Boserup, Ellie Halbauer and Alexandra Mueller. Receiving the Doubles Main Draw Wild Card is local Southwest Florida residents and doubles duo Kerry Kendricks and Angie Guillette. Additional Singles Qualifying Draw Wild Cards were also awarded to six players.

“The turnout of American players for our first USTA Pro Circuit Event in Captiva Island is tremendous,” said Tournament Director, Nick Blackwood. “We have such an incredible group of young talented women playing in our event that will make for a great week of competitive tennis at a beautiful facility for spectators to enjoy. I hope many of our locals will take advantage of the opportunity to see some of the best up-and-coming American tennis stars playing right in their backyard.”

Of those in the Main Draw, Melanie Oudin, who has been ranked as high as #31 in the WTA Tour Singles Rankings, is known for her thrilling run at the 2009 US Open where she defeated Maria Sharapova to advance to the Quarterfinals. Just this summer, Victoria Duval captured the hearts of Americans at the 2013 US Open after defeating Grand Slam Singles Champion Sam Stosur in the first round. In addition to this, local Florida residents Sachia Vickery and Taylor Townsend have had breakthrough junior accomplishments on their way to playing the USTA Pro Circuit events with Taylor Townsend the winning the Junior Australian Open Singles Championship in 2012 and finishing the year ranked number one in Girls Singles Junior ITF World rankings. In 2013, Sachia Vickery won the USTA National Junior Singles Championships that earned her a spot in the Singles Main Draw of the 2013 US Open.

The South Seas Island Resort Women’s Pro Classic will be held from November 3rd-10th at the award-winning South Seas Island Resort in beautiful Captiva, Florida. The Main Draw Singles and Doubles will begin on Tuesday, November 5th, with the Finals taking place on Sunday, November 10th. As the last USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Event on the calendar in 2013 and opportunity for players to obtain WTA Tour points for the 2014 Australian Open, the Women’s Pro Classic will showcase world class tennis by bringing the game’s emerging and future tennis stars to the area while benefiting three local philanthropic causes – the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Madisen’s Match and Partners for Breast Cancer Care, Inc.

Throughout the week of the Women’s Pro Classic, there will be a line-up of festivities and fundraising events starting on Sunday, November 3rd, with the FREE Kids Day from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. along with high level competition and tennis action at the two Pro-Am fundraisers on Monday and Tuesday that will all benefit the local philanthropic causes.

This year’s Title Sponsor for the Women’s Pro Classic is the South Seas Island Resort with Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille as the Presenting Sponsor. Additional sponsors include Sofibella, NU Men’s Formal Tennis, Pro Graphx and PSAV.

The Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy was founded by top 15 ATP Tour player Andrei Pavel and successful junior development coach Nick Blackwood. The Pavel & Blackwood Tennis Academy provides premier opportunities for both junior and professional players as well as programming for adults of all abilities, including beginners. With a combination of physical training, mental development and an emphasis on education for junior players, the Academy creates an environment where each hard-working player is a winner.

The South Seas Island Resort’s tennis facilities include 11 recently resurfaced hard courts (four lighted courts for nighttime play) making it the finest tennis facility on Sanibel and Captiva that was recently recognized by TripAdvisor as one of the industry’s most outstanding resorts.


Fourth-Seeded Taylor Townsend Reaches Girl’s 18s Singles Quarterfinal Round


San Diego, Calif. – (August 8, 2013) – Fourth-seeded Taylor Townsend of Boca Raton, Fla., fended off an upset bid on Thursday afternoon as she defeated 12th seeded  Kaitlyn H. McCarthy of Cary, N.C., 7-5, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships.

Playing on a cool and breezy day at the Barnes Tennis Center, Townsend and McCarthy exchanged multiple service breaks and were even at 5-5 in the first set. At that point, Townsend found the range on her shots and proceeded to win eight of the next 10 games to pull away and win the match.

“She’s a tough opponent. She gets a lot of balls back and she tries to step into the court and hit the ball flat. She has a really good down the line off the backhand and forehand,” Townsend said following her victory. “She kept me on the defensive a lot. I just stayed solid and I’m glad I came out with a win.”

Last Saturday, Townsend reached the doubles final of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) event in Washington, D.C. and then flew to San Diego later that day to begin preparing for this week’s event.

“It’s always difficult, the time change and the travel. It made me very fatigued. Especially on Sunday and Monday, I was feeling it a lot. I’m starting to feel better, but it’s always tough,” Townsend said. “This is a very strong tournament. All the top people want to play this tournament because there is something great on the line.”

In other Girls’ 18s fifth-round action, top-seeded Sachia Vickery of Miramar, Fla., defeated 15th seeded Spencer Liang of Potomac, Md., 6-0, 6-2 and second-seeded Allie Kiick of Plantation, Fla., eliminated tenth seeded Christina Makarova of San Diego, 6-3, 6-3.

Defending Girls’ 18s champion and No. 3 seed Victoria Duval rolled into the quarterfinals with an impressive 6-0, 6-0 victory over 16th seeded Ellyse Hamlin of Fairfield, Conn.

Girls’ 16s top-seed Ena Shibahara of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. advanced to the singles semifinals after scoring an exciting 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 quarterfinal victory over fifth-seeded Brienne Minor of Mundelein, Ill. Playing on Stadium Court, Shibahara served for the match at 5-4 in the third set, but dropped serve as Minor tied the set at 5-5
Shibahara dug deep and recovered to break Minor’s serve to take a 6-5 lead. She went on to serve out match in the next game. Shibahara, who indicated that this will be her last Girls’ 16s tournament, will face 17th seeded Raveena Kingsley of Fulton, Md. in the next round. The winner will advance to the Girls’ 16s singles championship on Saturday.

Tournament officials named Jessica Failla of Ramona, Calif. as the Babolat Player of the Day. After losing in the fourth round of the Girls’ 16s main draw, Failla defeated two seeded players to reach the semifinals of the Feed-In Competition (Consolation). Tournament staff who saw her matches at the University of San Diego, recommended Failla for the award for her outstanding competitive spirit.

The award, which is presented to a player each day of the event, is based equally on competitive achievement and sportsmanship.

Nearly 400 girls aged 16 and 18 and under are competing for the title of National Champion, as well  as a Wild Card entry into the singles main draw of the US Open Women’s Championships (for the 18s Champion) and a Wild Card into the US Open Junior Championships (for the 16s Champion). The 18s Doubles Champions will also receive a Wild Card into the main draw of the US Open Women’s Doubles competition.


Taylor Townsend and Stefan Kozlov Lead US Juniors into US Open Junior Championships


Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 25, 2013 – Former world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend (17, Chicago) and Stefan Kozlov (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), the youngest player in the Top 20 of the world junior rankings, lead the Americans accepted to play in the US Open Junior Championships, September 1-8 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.


Townsend, currently No. 5 in the world junior rankings, will play in her third junior Grand Slam in 2013 after reaching the finals at Wimbledon and the quarterfinals at the French Open. She made history in 2012 by finishing the year as the world’s top-ranked junior – the first American girl to hold that distinction in 30 years – before turning pro this year.


Kozlov, the only 15-year old in the Top 20 of the world junior rankings at No. 15, leads the American boys in the main draw after reaching the junior quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Kozlov, who trains out of the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., played his first ATP-level main draw match in July in Newport, R.I., pushing then-No. 113 Michal Przysiezny to three sets, nearly winning in a second-set tiebreak.


New York-area players competing in the US Open Junior Championships main draws include, on the girls’ side, No. 10 Louisa Chirico (17, Harrison, N.Y.), the 2013 Wimbledon and French Open junior semifinalist who trains at the home of the US Open at the USTA Training Center – East, and No. 32 Jamie Loeb (18, Ossinning, N.Y.). On the boys’ side, No. 26 Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.) will return for his second US Open junior main draw appearance.


Also accepted to the girls’ main draw are No. 21 Christina Makarova (17, San Diego), and Sachia Vickery (18, Hollywood, Fla.). Accepted for qualifying (August 30-31) are No. 48 Johnnise Renaud (17, North Miami, Fla.), No. 67 Katrine Isabel Steffensen (17, Scarsdale, N.Y.), No. 76 Alicia Black (15, Boca Raton, Fla.) and Brooke Austin (17, Indianapolis). They are all competing to become the third straight American US Open girls’ singles champion, following Samantha Crawford (2012) and Grace Min (2011).


Americans accepted into the boys’ main draw are No. 29 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (18, Charlotte, N.C.), No. 44 Luca Corinteli (18, Alexandria, Va.) and No. 50 Martin Redlicki (17, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.). Accepted for qualifying are No. 59 Spencer Papa (17, Edmond, Okla.) and No. 82 Michael Mmoh (15, Temple Hills, Md.).


Overall, the girls’ field features 19 of the Top 20 juniors in the world, including top-ranked Belinda Bencic, of Switzerland, who won both junior singles titles at Wimbledon – where she defeated Townsend in the finals – and at the French Open. The boys’ field features 16 of the Top 20 juniors in the world, including 2013 Wimbledon junior champion Gianluigi Quinzi, of Italy, and French Open junior champion Christian Garin, of Chile.


Previous US Open girls’ champions include Coco Vandeweghe (2008), Victoria Azarenka (2005), Marion Bartoli (2001), Lindsay Davenport (1992), Jennifer Capriati (1989) and Zina Garrison (1981).


Past US Open boys’ champions include Jack Sock (2010), Andy Murray (2004), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2003), Andy Roddick (2000), Stefan Edberg (1983) and Pat Cash (1982).


Taylor Townsend to Play Junior Wimbledon

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 13, 2013 Taylor Townsend (17, Chicago), the No. 1-ranked junior in the world for 2012, will continue junior competition at Wimbledon, June 29-July 7 at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London.


Townsend, still the top-ranked American girl at No. 8 in the ITF World Junior rankings, will play her second junior Grand Slam of 2013 at Wimbledon, where she is the reigning junior doubles champion. Townsend reached the quarterfinals of the 2013 French Open junior championship, which was her first junior tournament since turning pro to start the year. She trains at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.


Louisa Chirico (17, Harrison, N.Y.) joins Townsend in the girls’ main draw. Chirico, who trains at the USTA Training Center – East in Flushing, N.Y., reached the French Open girls’ semifinals and now holds a career-high No. 18 world junior ranking. No. 45 Jamie Loeb (18, Ossining, N.Y.) and No. 51 Johnnise Renaud (17, North Miami, Fla.) are also accepted into the girls’ main draw, while No. 64 Katrine Isabel Steffensen (17, Scarsdale, N.Y.), No. 79 Alicia Black (15, Boca Raton, Fla.) and No. 97 Dasha Ivanova (16, Beaverton, Ore.) have been accepted for qualifying.


Stefan Kozlov (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), the youngest boy in the Top 25 of the world junior rankings at No. 21, leads the American boys in the main draw despite being the second youngest player entered in the field. Joining him are No. 25 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (18, Charlotte, N.C.), No. 28 Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), No. 42 Luca Corinteli (17, Alexandria, Va.) and No. 58 Spencer Papa (17, Edmond, Okla.). No. 55 Martin Redlicki (17, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) was accepted for qualifying.


Last year, Kozlov qualified and reached the second round of boys’ singles at Wimbledon as the youngest player in the main draw by more than a year. Kwiatkowski, meanwhile, reached the third round in 2012. Rubin, who has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the world junior rankings, reached the third round of the 2013 French Open Junior Championship.


Currently, Kozlov and Papa train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. Kwiatkowski and Redlicki previously trained there, Kwiatkowski for three years, and Corinteli trains at the Junior tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., a USTA Certified Regional Training Center.


Past American Wimbledon boys’ singles champions include Donald Young (2007), Scott Humphries (1994), Matt Anger (1981), Van Winitsky (1977) and Billy Martin (1973-74). Past American girls’ singles champions at Wimbledon include Chanda Rubin (1992), Zina Garrison (1981), Mary Lou Piatek (1979) and Tracy Austin (1978).


Q & A: Catching Up with Taylor Townsend at Roland Garros


Townsend 5


(June 5, 2013) PARIS – Being at Roland Garros is not all about running from Court Philippe Chatrier to Court Suzanne Lenglen for two weeks.

Out on the outside courts, die-hard tennis fans catch good doubles and junior action throughout the two weeks.

One U.S. junior has already enjoyed some success in making that tricky transition from the Juniors to the Pro Tour, notching up a win against the then-ranked 57, Lucie Hradecka, at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells this year.

Ros Satar caught up with the No. 1 junior for 2012 Taylor Townsend after a solid second round win against Croatia’s Jana Fett.

Ros Satar for Tennis Panorama News: Great win today –a couple of breaks here and there but you really did edge it out?

Taylor Townsend: It was good, she came out playing really well, she was serving really well and in the beginning she really wasn’t missing a ball.

We exchanged some breaks and there were a few times where I could have served and gone up a break and a hold but she broke.

But it was a good match, I was really happy.

RS: What was it like out there – it started out quite cloudy but probably by the time that you were playing, it looked quite nice?

TT: It was actually very nice, it got a little bit cloudy and it was a little windy at times.

RS: Enough to whip up that clay into your eyes?

TT: Exactly – it actually got into my eyes a little bit but I am not complaining – I’m tough [smiling]

RS: Is it strange playing the juniors having made your pro debut at Indian Wells

TT: It’s not weird, because I played all last year and I’m still 17 so it’s not really weird but it’s definitely an adjustment that you have to make between going from the pros to the juniors.

It’s nice to see all my friends [going back to juniors].

RS: How did it feel to get that win in Indian Wells, to player ranked 57 at the time?

TT: It was amazing – like one of the best feelings ever, I felt on top of the world

I went crazy, after I did it, I just went nuts like I was a little kid.

I told myself one point at a time, one point at a time, I switched the score round and stuff.

But I was actually on a roll, I was playing really well so I [tried] not to think about it.

RS: What’s the transition like –the biggest challenge and the biggest benefit?

TT: The biggest challenge s definitely the mental thing.

It’s really easy to change your game because the speed of the ball isn’t the same

It’s really easy for you to let up a little bit and not really play to win like you would against the pros.

You can get away with not going for your shots as much and stuff like that, because even though you’re playing juniors, you’re still working on a specific thing.

But the benefits are you get to play matches, good matches that help you compete.

Basically it’s a good opportunity to continue what we’re working on.

If you change the way that you play and the way we’ve been practicing, then yeah that would be a downfall.

If we continue to work on the same line that we have been, with our strokes and playing to win and aggressive style of play, then it’s a huge benefit playing the juniors.

RS: So basically each time you’re playing in the juniors, you’re concentrating on one thing to improve, and when you go to the pros it’s really a question of putting that all together and going for it?

TT: Exactly

RS: What are the goals that you’ve set yourself this year?

TT: My goal is I wanted to reach at least into the top 200 or better by the end of the year and I really didn’t set a goal for juniors because honestly at the beginning of the year my coach was in Australia so I didn’t really know what my schedule was going to be.

But basically my pro [goal] I think very attainable because I’m at 333 already and we’re only half way done with the year.

I think I can do it.

RS: About the demon dirt – how is it going playing on clay?

TT: Actually I love it, because the clay here is so nice, they take such good care of the courts, it’s just so smooth.

The courts are just like candy underneath your feet, you just slide so gracefully – it’s so beautiful

RS: It’s like ice-skating?

TT: Yeah exactly!

RS: Is it very much a part of your season, the clay in Europe in particular?

TT: Yeah it is.

You go from the Australian Open, and then you have your clay court season, then you have your grass court season and then you go back to hard court.

You’re on hard court six months of the year if [not] more, it’s nice to have the change up and learning how to maneuver, move and how to play and how to work the clay and how to work the grass, it’s really nice.

It makes the season, it makes it different, it gives it a little bit of a unique character.

RS: What is your view of all the US women that have been in the draw?  You started with 15, down to 3 but two real headliners tomorrow – how does that make you feel?

TT: I’m proud, honestly – Serena(Williams), Sloane (Stephens), Venus (Williams), they’re all making me so proud to be an American.

They’re putting on such a good face on women’s tennis, it’s amazing.

The guys as well, they’re doing very well – John Isner, Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, Ryan Harrison, all of them are doing really well.

They’re great inspiration for me to just keep working hard [especially] seeing Serena mostly – you keep working hard and she’s in her prime, she’s in the later stage of her career, so it just gives me really great encouragement just to keep working hard.

RS: Are they all quite supportive of the juniors coming up, if you run across them at various tournaments?

TT: Yeah – they’re so nice.

We all hit together and they’re very helpful with giving advice and stuff like that.

It’s just a matter of if I get nervous to ask them a question or not [laughs]

RS: What is your schedule now for the rest of the year?

TT: You and I have the same question [laughs]

I know I’m going to Birmingham after this and then I’m going to play the juniors at Eastbourne and Roehampton and then Wimbledon and after that I have no idea.

RS: Are you going to play the juniors at the rest of the majors this year?

TT: Yeah just the majors really, because US Open most likely, I’m not really sure.

We’re just doing it just to play matches really, and stay competitive because if I wasn’t I would come over here and only play one or two tournaments and then be done.

RS: I guess playing the majors, you get a small taste of what it’s like to play that big an event?

TT: Yeah, Exactly.

RS: Are you doing any sight-seeing, any fun stuff whilst you are here?

TT: Hopefully – I mean this year I’m playing doubles so I’m not at the site all day

I’m not playing two matches so I think my dad really wants to go out, this is their first time out.

I don’t know what to do see because I didn’t go sight-seeing last year so we’re all going to experience this together.

But [definitely] the Eiffel Tower and Champs Élysées and some other stuff.

I’m just asking the ladies in the locker room, and they’re helping me a lot.

[RS writes down a load of suggestions]

At the time of writing, Taylor was into the third round of the Girls’ Singles Draw at Roland Garros.

On Tuesday evening in Paris, Townsend received the International Tennis Federation award for being the top junior girl for 2012 at the ITF World Champions Dinner.  Townsend was the Australian Open 2012 Girls Junior Champion. She is the first American junior girl to end the year at No. 1 since Gretchen Rush in 1982.


Karen Pestaina contributed to this interview and report.


Related article:

2012 Townsend and Andrews Take Junior Girls Title


Taylor Townsend to Compete in French Open Junior Championships

Taylor Townsend

Taylor Townsend

From the USTA – WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 13, 2013 – Taylor Townsend, the No. 1-ranked junior in the world at the end of 2012, will play in her first junior event of 2013 at the Roland Garros French Open Junior Championships June 2-8 in Paris.


Townsend finished last year as the No. 1-ranked junior in the world, becoming the first American girl in 30 years to hold that distinction. She remains No. 10 in the ITF world junior rankings despite thus far having played only professional tournaments in 2013. In her first WTA-level main draw match, Townsend beat then-No. 57 Lucie Hradecka in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., in March.


Townsend, who in 2012 won the Australian Open junior singles title and junior doubles titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, headlines an American girls’ contingent accepted to play in the French Open Junior Championship that includes Victoria Duval (17, Delray Beach, Fla.), currently No. 285 in the WTA rankings. In 2012, Duval won the USTA Girls’ 18s national title to earn a wild card into the US Open main draw, where she played Kim Clijsters in the first round.


Christina Makarova (16, San Diego), currently No. 11 in the ITF world junior rankings, No. 29 Sachia Vickery (18, Hollywood, Fla.) and No. 39 Jamie Loeb (18, Ossining, N.Y.) are also in the girls’ main draw, while No. 56 Louisa Chirico (16, Harrison, N.Y.), was accepted for qualifying.


Townsend, Duval and Vickery each train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., while Chirico trains at the USTA Training Center – East in Flushing, N.Y.


Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (18, Charlotte, N.C.), currently the top-ranked American junior boy at No. 16 in the world, leads the Americans accepted to play the boys’ main draw, followed by No. 19 Stefan Kozlov (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), No. 23 Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), No. 38 Luca Corinteli (17, Alexandria, Va.) and No. 40 Spencer Papa (17, Edmond, Okla.). No. 49 Martin Redlicki (17, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) was accepted for qualifying.


Kozlov is the youngest player in the Top 20 of the world junior rankings and is the second youngest player in the French Open boys’ main draw. Rubin, who has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the world junior rankings, reached the quarterfinals of last year’s French Open Junior Championship, while Papa advanced to the third round last year.


Currently, Kozlov and Papa train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. Kwiatkowski and Redlicki previously trained there, Kwiatkowski for three years, and Corinteli trains at the Junior tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., a USTA Certified Regional Training Center.