Tennis Players and Celebrities Play Tennis for Charity at Desert Smash


(March 4, 2014) LA QUINTA, California – The 10th annual Desert Smash at the La Quinta Resort & Spa on Tuesday raised money for charity featured  actors Will Ferrell, Kevin Spacey and Rebel Wilson and tennis players Novak Djokovic, as well as the Bryan Brothers – Bob and Mike, Australian Open Champion Stanislas Wawrinka and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.

The two-day tennis and golf event will benefit Cancer for College, a 501c3, non-profit organization that provides college scholarships for cancer survivors. Since 1993, the charity has granted nearly $2 million to more than 1,000 cancer survivors.

Here are some photos from the event.


Victoria Azarenka Tops Serena Williams in Thailand Exhibition


(December 28, 2013) No. 2 Victoria Azarenka bested No. 1 Serena Williams in an exhibition in Hua Hin, Thailand on Saturday 7-5, 6-3.

“It’s a great warm up before going to compete and start the year,” said
the Belarusian Azarenka. The 32-year-old American Williams agreed.

Williams beat Azarenka in the final of the US Open.

Both women will begin their 2014 campaigns at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Australia this week.


Agassi, Sampras, Cash and Lendl to play Earls Court on World Tennis Day


(October 31, 2013) LONDON – Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Pat Cash and Ivan Lendl will return to London to recreate two historic Wimbledon finals when they play in the World Tennis Day Showdown at Earls Court on Monday, 3 March 2014. Cash will play Lendl to open the evening followed by Agassi renewing his rivalry with Sampras.
Agassi, Sampras, Cash and Lendl combined to win 224 singles titles during their professional careers, including 31 Grand Slam titles. These four players also combined to hold the World No. 1 ranking for a total of 657 weeks.
“I am looking forward to coming to London to play against Pat next March,” said Lendl who has reconnected with the London fans through his coaching of Andy Murray. “The London fans have always been knowledgeable about tennis and, through Andy, I have developed a closer relationship over the past two years so this will be a special night for me.”
The event will be part of a series of World Tennis Day Showdown’s on March 3, including matches in Bangkok, Hong Kong and New York City. In addition to the tennis at Earls Court, these four superstars will serve up a treat for VIP patrons as they combine with London’s premier chefs to provide an exclusive culinary experience.
“We are excited to be bringing World Tennis Day to London,” said Jerry Solomon, President and CEO of StarGames, Inc., the event promoter. “With the rich history of tennis in the UK, an iconic venue in Earls Court and a field of players that has thrilled the London audience for years, the Showdown should provide memorable moments for the spectators and make Earls Court the place to be on March 3.”
Agassi and Sampras played each other 34 times during their professional careers, with Sampras winning 20 of those matches. Two of their encounters came at Wimbledon, with Sampras winning both the 1999 final and a 1993 quarterfinal over Agassi.
In 2011, Agassi and Sampras played each other in the World Tennis Day event at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York City. Sampras won that match 6-3 7-5.
Agassi claimed 60 titles during his career and spent 101 weeks ranked at No. 1. One of just two players to have won a career Golden Slam, the first of Agassi’s eight career Grand Slam titles came at Wimbledon in 1992. Today he is developing programmes in cities around the United States to offer affordable private education through his Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.
Sampras is a seven-time Wimbledon champion. Overall, he claimed 14 Grand Slam titles while totaling 64 tournament wins in his career. He was ranked World No. 1 for 286 weeks, a record that stood until Roger Federer surpassed it last year.
Cash and Lendl met eight times on the professional tour, including in the 1987 Wimbledon final that was won by Cash. Overall, Lendl won five of his matches versus Cash.
Cash’s Wimbledon win was one of the six titles he won during his career. Today Cash is involved in a number of media ventures, including as host of CNN’s “Open Court” programme.
Lendl spent 270 weeks ranked No. 1 in the world while winning 94 career singles titles, which stands as the second-most in the Open Era. Today Lendl serves as coach of Britain’s Murray, the 2013 Wimbledon champion and 2012 London Olympic Games gold medalist.
Lendl is the first player to have participated in three different World Tennis Day Showdown events. Both of his previous appearances have been against John McEnroe, coming in New York in 2011 and Hong Kong in 2013.
World Tennis Day was created in 2013 as a cooperative venture between StarGames and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to promote participation in the sport through high-profile Showdown events with professional players on the same day as grassroots participation events at clubs and courts around the globe. In its first year, World Tennis Day saw 55 nations participating by hosting events.
Each player in the four Showdown events in Bangkok, Hong Kong, London and New York City is an active or former professional who has either been ranked World No. 1 or reached the final at a Grand Slam tournament, if not both. The pervious events in Hong Kong and New York City have also hosted exclusive cocktail parties around the matches that have drawn over 1,000 guests each year.
Tickets for the World Tennis Day Showdown at Earls Court Two will go on sale on November 25. For more information about tickets, corporate hospitality and sponsorship, visit www.worldtennisday.com.

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


(March 4, 2013) LOS ANGELES – The inaugural LA Tennis Challenge took place on Monday night on the campus of UCLA at the recently renovated Pauley Pavilion. Participating in the event to raise money for charity were world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Former No. 1 and member of the tennis Hall of Fame Pete Sampras, Bob and Mike Bryan, James Blake, Tommy Haas and former player Justin Gimelstob.

Los Angeles’ ATP World Tour event, the Farmers Classic, their license was sold to Colombian investors who took it to their home country. Former UCLA Bruin Gimelstob wants to keep pro tennis alive in Los Angeles and organized the event.

Singles and doubles exhibition matches took place including Djokovic pairing with his idol Sampras.

Celebrities in attendance included actress Jodie Foster, actor Bruce Willis and actor/comedian and tennis fan Rainn Wilson.

Proceeds from the event are to benefit the Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, Call to Cure and the Southern California Tennis Association’s community tennis initiatives.


All photos by Maria Noble





Audi, Esurance and K-Swiss Sign On As Major Sponsors For Los Angeles Tennis Challenge on March 4


Audi, Esurance and K-Swiss have each singed on as major sponsors for the inaugural Los Angeles Tennis Challenge featuring World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Mardy Fish, Pete Sampras and Bob and Mike Bryan to be played March 4 at newly renovated Pauley Pavilion.


“The LA Tennis Challenge is proud to partner with one of the world’s leading carmakers in the premium and supercar segment,” Gimelstob said. “We look forward to building and growing the LA Tennis Challenge into one of the best sporting and social events in Los Angeles.”


Added Fish: “Having Audi, Esurance and K-Swiss as sponsors is a major step in achieving our goals.”


Three exhibition pro-set matches will take place beginning at 7 p.m. Djokovic will take on Los Angeles resident Mardy Fish in singles followed by a doubles match pitting Djokovic and his childhood idol Sampras against Southern California natives Bob and Mike Bryan. An opening singles match between two marquee players will be announced shortly.


Both Djokovic and the Bryan Brothers are coming off huge wins last month in Melbourne Park solidifying each as No. 1 in the world in singles and doubles. Djokovic won his fourth Australian Open singles title while the Bryans captured their all-time best 13th doubles Grand Slam.


“They’re going to be tough,” Mike said of facing the team of Djokovic and Sampras in a first to eight –game pro-set. “Winning a Grand Slam is great, but we have to win in our hometown of L.A. We have to prove to our friends and family that we’re the best.”


Watch this quick Bryan twins interview by Tennis Channel broadcaster and event host Justin Gimelstob by clicking on the image and the CTRL key. Or copy and paste this link:




Players will be playing for charity with proceeds from the event benefiting the Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, Call to Cure and the Southern California Tennis Association’s community tennis initiatives.


“We hope to make the LA Tennis Challenge an annual event, which brings together the community, celebrities and tennis fans to raise money for some very worthy charities and foundations,” Fish said. “It will also grow and promote the sport in Southern California. We hope to establish the LA Tennis Challenge as one of the most important social and sporting events of the year.”


The LA Tennis Challenge will be broadcast by Tennis Channel in the United States.


To learn more about the LA Tennis Challenge go to www.LATennisChallenge.com. Like the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LATennisChallenge and follow on Twitter at @LA10sChallenge. For more information you can email: info@latennischallenge.com.



Wozniacki, Kirilenko and Robson “Reflecting” on Their Form Ahead of Australian Open – on a Mirrored Court

By Melinda Samson

(January 13, 2013) MELBOURNE, Australia – On Sunday adidas launched the first “adidas by Stella McCartney” barricade collection of tennis apparelto be worn by tennis players Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Kirilenko and Laura Robson.

The players featured their new outfits on a court of a different kind. Instead of the grass, clay or the hardcourt surfaces they are used to playing on, the collection was unveiled in the world’s first mirror court. The court offered a living kaleidoscope of moving reflections, and allowed the new collection to be showcased from the front, back and sides, all at the same time.


Inspired by the ready to wear collection, the range plays on Stella McCartney’s use of feminine lines that flatter and enhance the female form on court.


The tennis players will wear the range during 2013 Grand Slams, showcasing its leading design qualities, standout aesthetic and performance functionality.


“I always play better when I feel good, that is very important to me,” says Caroline Wozniaki.


“The new adidas by Stella McCartney barricade range makes me feel secure and comfortable on court. The bright color blocking and advanced technology presented in each item I’m wearing gives me the confidence to focus solely on my own performance on court,” said Wozniacki.


To see the new range on court at the Australian Open, watch first round matches between Caroline Wozniaki and Sabine Lisicki, Maria Kirilenko against Vania King and Laura Robson versus Melanie Oudin.


Melinda Samson lives in Melbourne and runs the site Grand Slam Gal. Follow her on twitter @Grandslamgal.


Hewitt Captures Kooyong Classic Over Del Potro


(January 12, 2013) Lleyton Hewitt goes into his 17th Australian Open with a victory at the Kooyong classic invitational exhibition tennis tournament in Melbourne. Hewitt defeated Juan Martin del  Potro a 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday for the crown.

The win over No. 7 del Potro, ended a week of victories over top players including Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic.


“I felt like every match I got better and better and more confident” and “against Berdych and even more so today I felt like I hit the ball as clean as I have in a long time,” Hewitt said.


The 31-year-old former No. 1 moves on to Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open  and has a very challenging first-round match against No. 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic on Monday night.


New Season, New Goals

Andy Murray 12 26 Abu Dhabi

By Abigail Hinto

(December 26, 2012) ABU DHABI – Six of the top eleven players in the world,  are gathered in Abu Dhabi to start their season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships (MWTC). Three of the players, namely Janko Tipsarevic, Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray showed up on Tuesday for their pre-tournament news conferences.  No. 11 Nicolas Almagro replaced Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the event with a stomach virus.

Despite all three belonging in the top 10, and despite the small gap in their rankings, these three players are in vastly different stages in their careers with varying expectations, pressures and goals. And the goals they’ve set for themselves for the new season give an interesting insight to how they see their careers, where they’re at now and what they feel they should be able to accomplish.
Tipsarevic, the relative newcomer in the top 10 has set his sights on qualifying for the World Tour Finals in London. And with his best showing at a grand slam only consisting of two quarterfinal appearances, both at the US Open this year and last, he aims to have deeper runs at the slams this year. His tight quarterfinal loss against David Ferrer at this year’s US Open has shown him that though he’s not quite there yet in the level he needs to challenge the top players, he’s getting close.
Tomas Berdych meanwhile has already made finals and a couple of semifinals at the majors. His goal now, is to hold that trophy. Saying that he was happy for Andy Murray finally winning his slam, noting that it’s good that someone had once again broken the stranglehold Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had on winning the majors, could acknowledging Murray’s breakthrough give Berdych the inspiration to try to win one for himself as well? Davis Cup this year, a grand slam next year?
As for Andy Murray, after finally winning that major he’s been working so hard for and been pressured on winning since he was first considered a contender in 2008, how does he re-set his goals? Murray is a short-term goal-setter which he says he’s always been with his career. So, it’s one major at a time for him, now focusing solely on the Australian Open trophy. Asked if reaching no.1 is a top priority, Murray answers that it’s not, as that ranking only comes with the results from every tournament he plays.
And as the Mubadala World Tennis Championships starts on Wednesday, we’ll get to see these three players finally begin their first step towards their goals.
Abigail Hinto is covering the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.
All photos by Abigail Hinto for Tennis Panorama

Nadal – Djokovic Exhibition for Charity Live on ESPN2 on July 14


Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – ranked No. 1 and 2 and the two men who have squared off in the finals of tennis’ last four Majors – will meet again Saturday, July 14, live at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2, but this time playing for charity as well as bragging rights.  The exhibition will be played on a grass court in Nadal’s native Spain at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium only six days after the Gentlemen’s Final at Wimbledon.  The best-of-three sets match will benefit the Realmadrid Foundation and the Rafa Nadal Foundation.


With his recent victory, Nadal now has won a record seven French Open titles.  In the previous three Major finals, Djokovic had prevailed, winning his first Wimbledon, completing a career Grand Slam at the US Open and taking the Australian Open championship.


Organizers of the event are hopeful the match will attract more than 80,000 fans, which would make it by far the largest live audience in tennis history.  Currently, the record of 35,681 people is held by an exhibition in Belgium’s historic King Baudouin Stadium between Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams on July 8, 2010.  Williams had been a late substitute for Justine Henin in what was planned as an all-Belgian battle.  The previous record tennis audience was for the famed “Battle of the Sexes” between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in the Houston Astrodome in September 1973 – 30,472.