2015/05/26

Mary Carillo to Receive Philippe Chatrier Award from the ITF

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(May 21, 2015) The International Tennis Federation announced that American broadcaster Mary Carillo will receive the ITF’s highest accolade, the Philippe Chatrier Award, at the 2015 ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday, June 2, in Paris at the Pavillon Cambon Capucines.

 

The Philippe Chatrier Award, named after the former ITF President, was introduced in 1996 and is awarded each year for outstanding contributions to the game of tennis. Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, the All England Club, and 2014 Award winners Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde are among the other former recipients.

 

Carillo began her life in tennis as a player, but has enjoyed greater success as a sports broadcaster of distinction. She is a pioneer not just for women in her profession, but for a new style of broadcasting.

 

Having trained at the Port Washington Tennis Academy under the legendary Harry Hopman, Carillo captured the 1977 Roland Garros mixed doubles title with childhood friend John McEnroe, then 18. This was to be the highlight of a career that saw her reach No. 33 in the world rankings.

 

In 1980, after three years on the tour, Carillo retired with knee injuries and began a new career as a tennis analyst for USA Network. Since then she has covered the sport for nearly every US broadcaster including PBS, MSG, ESPN, CBS Sports, HBO, Turner Sports, NBC and Tennis Channel, for whom she will be broadcasting in Paris.

 

Carillo has built a reputation as a distinctive voice in tennis and someone who is candid, straight-talking and opinionated but who also loves the sport. Her unique style has been embraced by broadcasters and over the years she has branched out into other sports, covering 12 summer and winter Olympics, including nine for NBC. She has also won a Sports Emmy and two prestigious Peabody Awards for documentaries about Billie Jean King and women in sport.

 

Carillo has continued to give back to tennis, including serving as chairwoman of the USTA Foundation from 2009 to 2014. She is honoured for her very special contribution to the sport that she continues to care passionately about.

 

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “Despite her many achievements on a wider stage, Mary Carillo remains a fearless and passionate commentator on tennis and her unique voice has done much to champion our sport and the other causes that are close to her heart. Her contributions to tennis over more than three decades make her a worthy recipient of the ITF’s highest honour.”

 

Carillo said: “I was fortunate enough to know Philippe and have long admired and embraced his vision, spirit and love for our sport, so I am honoured beyond measure to receive this magnificent award from the ITF.”

 

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Martina Navratilova Talks French Open on Tennis Channel Media Conference Call

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(May 20, 2015) Ahead of the French Open, which begins on Sunday, May 24, Tennis Channel held a media conference call with tennis Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, who serves as the lead women’s analyst for the network.

Here is the transcript of the conference call, courtesy of the Tennis Channel and ASAPsports:

There’s a lot of increased scrutiny of late for even for minor tournaments. Time was that there was almost no attention paid to them and all attention was paid to the majors. And do you think that that scrutiny on these tune‑ups heightens the stakes for when the majors come out, like Roland‑Garros?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I’m not sure I understand the question. You’re saying there’s too much media attention on the Grand Slams and not on anything else?

No, I think when you were playing tennis, there wasn’t a lot of attention, media attention ‑‑ they didn’t broadcast minor tennis events.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, it’s the other way around. It’s the other way around, actually. In my opinion we had, it was the Tour that really buttressed the Grand Slams and certainly the players, we didn’t even play some Grand Slams because the Tour was the more important bit of the calendar. And it was only really in the late, maybe, ’80s and the ’90s that the Grand Slams became so powerful and players would schedule their whole year around slams. Nobody would even think of missing a slam now.

And those are the four big focal points of the year, whereas in my time it was Wimbledon and U.S. Open and the Tour as a whole and then the year‑ending championships was the third biggest tournament of the year. So I think the media did pay attention to the other tournaments and certainly the players were thinking that the other tournaments were more important, perhaps, than they are now.

And why was that?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Why? Because there was more prize money in the regular tournaments than Grand Slams. Once the Grand Slams got bigger and got more money, more people paid attention to where the money is, basically. And also more worldwide television rights and media attention and all that.

So one kind of followed the other. I’m not sure what came first, the chicken and the egg thing, but we would get more money for, I think the prize money at the year‑end championships was like twice as much and that was for one week than what you would get in a Grand Slam for two weeks. You can do some research on the prize money, but it was a lot more on the regular tour.

I made more money winning a tournament in Dallas, Virginia Slims of Dallas, than I would at a Grand Slam ‑‑ than I would Wimbledon. When I won Wimbledon in ’78 I got, I think, $20,000 for winning it.

 

I suppose, Martina, that the focal point coming into the French Open is the prospects of Rafa Nadal. What have you seen this year in Rafa, what is he lacking that he hasn’t in the past and has age finally taken its toll on him?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I don’t know how much of it is ‑‑ I think it’s a little bit of everything. He seems to me a little bit less physically looking imposing. And I don’t know if it’s just my imagination. Just doesn’t seem to be as muscular as he was five or six years ago.

 

But he’s still in the prime of his physical life, maybe he trains differently maybe because of his injuries he can’t train as hard as he used to, but not sure.

 

Most of all I think it’s the other players are playing better and hitting a lot more top spin on the ball, hitting the ball harder, which does not give him the time to run around his backhand and dictate with the forearm, he has to kind of be more in the middle of the court.

 

He can’t park himself on the right side of the court. And also by his own admission, he gets more nervous now. And when he does get more nervous, his forehand goes shorter. Even when he does get to hit the forehand, he doesn’t hit it as deep, with as much, with as much depth and maybe power.

 

I’m not sure. You would have to kind of figure out the revolutions per minute. But I would bet dollars to donuts that the other players are using more spin than they did two years ago, 10 years ago, certainly. So that could be a combination of everything.

 

Was his effectiveness on clay a factor of how much top spin he could put on the ball and the fact that the ball dug in so great?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: His movement and the top spin, yeah. Because of the top spin, players had a hard time attacking it and getting on top of the ball. And once they get on the defense, it was really hard to get off it. And his unbelievable speed around the court.

 

But do you still think he’s anywhere near the prime of his career at this point?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, it could be that he’s just having a bad year or bad six months, whatever. We don’t know if he’s 100 percent healthy because only he knows that and his team.

 

So people tend to write people off too soon I think in my opinion. I mean, Roger Federer said himself, until Rafa loses at the French he still has to be a favorite. You can’t just throw out the last 10 years based on the last few months.

 

But certainly he’s, I’m sure, feeling most vulnerable. And he’s looking most vulnerable. And that gives the other guys confidence when they play him. Before it was, like, I don’t want to get embarrassed playing Rafa and now they think they have a chance. That’s a huge edge to them. Now he’s forced to play even better to beat the same guy.

 

So it’s kind of a nasty spiral that happens. But I still wouldn’t write him off. I mean, you can’t. You just cannot. Three out of five is a different animal as well. It’s harder to keep up that kind of intensity and physical play that it takes to beat Rafa over three out of five sets as opposed to two out of three ‑‑ and gives him some room for his own game as well.

 

I know we don’t have a draw yet, but who do you favor as winning on the men’s side and the women’s side in singles?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think so much will depend on the draw in both of these. But particularly on the men’s side, with Rafa, I believe he’s ranked 7. So he could be playing these top three players in the quarters as opposed to the semis or finals.

That makes it difficult for whosever quarter he lands in and everything else how it plays out as well. Andy Murray now is looking like one of the favorites as well. Novak obviously is a huge favorite to win the event. But I’m sure that he’s not thinking that way, not yet. Not as long as Rafael Nadal is in the tournament.

 

So it’s really going to depend on who gets hot and how the draw plays out. The same time you only have to play seven guys. You don’t have to play everybody. But still the draw may dictate a lot in how the conditions are, the balls are pretty light. But conditions can get heavy.

 

So all of that will play out and that’s the beauty of it. We really don’t know. But all in all, if you just look at how this year has played out, Djokovic, it would be hard to, again, bet against Djokovic. And the same thing on the women’s side, Serena Williams, even though she’s had a odd run up to the French.   In years past, the run up the Grand Slam really had nothing to do with how she did at that Grand Slam.

 

So you still have to go with the world’s number one ‑‑ Novak and Serena.

 

Can you tell me what you miss from the era that you played tennis, what you miss on the tennis scene now?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It’s just a different time. You get the pluses and minuses. I do miss more of the clash of styles.

There was more variety in styles with the typical baseliner and the all‑court players and then the more of the serve and volleyers, attacking players. It’s now a more homogenous look, but at the same time on the women’s side particularly I see more variety than they’ve had five years ago, 10 years ago. The guys have been there for a while.

 

But the women, I think, were more homogenous in that, for example, I keep going back to the final between Kuznetsova and Dementieva in the 2004 U.S. Open final. And I think there was one volley, one drop shot and three slices the whole match.

And now, you know, you get that in one rally. So you have a lot more variety with the actual play, which makes it more fun. I think the spectators are in for better treats nowadays with more variety.

People still play similarly but there’s more variety within that.

 

Still play similarly to when you were playing ‑‑

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: No, no, they play similar to each other. They play similar style. More of a ‑‑ I mean, there are two basic styles. Ones that really try to play big babe tennis, as Mary Carillo calls it, and then there are the counter puncher’s. But within the big babe tennis you see a lot more people using slices and coming into the net, putting the volley away. And same with the counter punchers, now they just don’t play defense, if they can get on offense they will do so.

 

And again a lot more slices, a lot more drop shots. You see Maria Sharapova, she’s hitting drop hands from the backhand and the forehand. She never hit a drop shot 10 years ago, now she uses it very well.

 

She hits them from the baseline.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Drop shots are usually hit from the baseline. But she’s usually in an offensive position so she plays them at the right time. And she’s hitting between volley. You won’t see chip and charge, but you will see her, as soon as she hits a deep, good ball, she’ll move in to see if she can knock off the next ball in the air, but she’ll hit swinging volleys rather than punch volleys that we used to hit. But still hitting volleys.

 

Were you asked about Maria Sharapova in general and what you think her chances are coming in?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, obviously great. And they’re always improved when she ‑‑ well, with Maria, obviously it’s a case whether she has to play Serena Williams or not because she hasn’t beat her in 10 years. But she’s been the best clay court player the last three years, except she hadn’t been able to beat Serena, but she’s beaten everybody else and has the most consistent record on clay than everybody. So she has to be one of the favorites. But it always comes with a caveat ‑‑ what happens if she plays Serena? Serena particularly now is kind of an unknown because of the run‑up that she’s had, not really finishing tournaments or didn’t finish two and one she lost in the semis. So it’s hard to tell.

 

But Serena always comes out playing her best tennis in the slams. So, yeah, absolutely Maria has to be one of the favorites. She must be pretty well after Rome, kept playing better and better tennis. Although, also the matches were pretty close, particularly the semifinal in Rome. Could have gone either way.

 

What is it with her and Serena, do you think ‑‑ how much of it is mental and how much of it is just her game, and what do you think she would have to do to finally overcome Serena if they were to meet at the end there?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: She would have to serve extremely well, because that’s what Serena always has on, all things being equal, which they’re not; but Serena serves, wins so many more points off her serve, whereas with Maria the serve has been more of a ‑‑ it’s either neutral or it can even be a negative for her starting the points against Serena.

 

So she needs to serve really well. But she has been serving better in Rome, particularly she was hitting her second serve in the high 90s, her second serve was coming in.

So she was getting on the offense with her second serve, never mind the first serve. But Serena does everything a little bit better than Maria or some things a lot better, the serving is a lot better.

 

And the ground stroke she can now sustain a rally, 10 shots, 20 shots, and then go for the ‑‑ when she goes for the jugular she hits it just a little bit harder than Maria.

 

And Maria’s foot speed hurts her against Serena. She’s gotten so much better. She’s quick enough against most players. But she can’t defend as well. Serena defends better than Maria if she has to. And her foot speed is better around the court. And that hurts Maria. She needs to be on offense. But with Serena she has a hard time getting on offense because Serena tees off so early in the rally, whether the serve or return of serve.

 

And also Serena, clearly, plays her best Sundays against Maria Sharapova. She totally rises to the occasion where she might be a bit listless against other opponents or maybe give them a set, maybe not the match, but give them a set. With Maria, she doesn’t give away points, never mind sets. She’s always fired up.   You can see how badly both of them want it.

 

In following up on that, that rivalry seems to really be one, we always talk about how the game, whether it’s men or women, that rivalries is such a big deal in tennis. And this Serena/Maria one is one that still carries after so many years. Would you agree it’s one of the best rivalries in women’s tennis?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: It’s amazing that it carries because it’s so one‑sided. But it’s the personality of the two players involved that makes it so compelling, no matter what the result.

So it’s great for tennis. I mean, tennis is such a one‑on‑one battle that the rivalries are an essential part of that.

 

You want to identify with the people. You want to identify with the personalities. You want to identify with their game, and the only way to do that is if there’s a rivalry going on.

 

I mean, people love Rafa Nadal and they love Roger Federer, but they always fall into one camp more than the other, and will cheer for their player against the other, no matter what.

So it’s funny. And obviously you have that with Williams and Sharapova for different reasons. It’s just been a one‑sided result for the most part.

 

What is the lifetime, is it like 17‑2 or something?

 

 

I’d have to look it up, but that sounds close. It’s not close at all, yeah.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I mean, it’s been 10 years, but it hasn’t been that much matches. I think 15 matches in a row. I think ‑‑ I don’t have the numbers in front of me. But it’s over a long period of time.

 

I beat Chris Evert at one point 13 times in a row, but it was like in a two‑, two‑and‑a‑half‑year period. It didn’t seem that insurmountable. It just came in a closer chunk of time. It think it’s more difficult for Maria to deal with it because it’s been over such a long length of time.

 

 

She’s probably thinking: Sheesh, I was so young the last time I beat her.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yeah.

 

Could you just maybe pick a couple of dark horses on the men’s and the women’s side and kind of like skim off the top, the Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, on the other side, Sharapova and Williams, could you just pick out a few players who you think have a chance to ‑‑

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: To win the whole thing? That’s a tall order. There’s a lot of players that can beat anybody on a given day. But to go all the way? I guess on the men’s side, Murray. Maybe not that dark, because he’s, what, 3 or 4 in the world.

And maybe Berdych also. He’s been playing some good ball but seems to falter still against the top guys. But he certainly looks fit and very focused and on a given day can compete against anybody.

 

And for just upsets, Kyrgios. Kyrgios, with that serve, can give anybody fits. I’m pretty sure the top players don’t really want to see him too close to them in the draw because he’s a flashy and can be an extremely dominating player the way he plays.

But this is clay, so hopefully it shouldn’t happen. But never know with him.

 

And on the women’s side, again dark horse, Halep can’t be a dark horse, she was in the finals last year. But she hasn’t broken through yet. So dark horse would be anybody to me that hasn’t won a Grand Slam.

 

I’m sorry?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: To me, a dark horse would be anybody that hasn’t won a Grand Slam, because then you haven’t done it yet, so we’re not really sure whether it’s going to happen or not.

So Halep would be in that category, certainly, but she’s 3 in the world. So, again, it’s hard to imagine somebody outside of top 10 going all the way on either women or men. They would just have to beat too many quality players.

 

I mean, there could be an opening in the draw where people kind of somehow scrape their way to the semis. But that’s hard to predict. It’s easier to predict a little bit once the draw comes out.

But it’s been such an up‑and‑down lead‑up to the tournament on the women’s side with Serena not finishing a tournament the last three she played, lost in the semis and defaulted the other two, correct?

 

And then you have Petra Kvitova winning in Madrid, playing amazing tennis, and then losing to Suárez Navarro easily. Suárez Navarro given that she can beat anybody, but I don’t think she has the firepower to go all the way, but you could see her in the finals as well.

 

And then there’s a player like Caroline Garcia on a given day can beat anybody. What’s the ‑‑ Pliskova, another Czech, who has got a big game. Perhaps not so suited for clay but grew up on the stuff.

 

She can hang with anybody. So it’s hard to tell but you still have to go with the favorites. Serena and Novak, obviously.

 

 

You were running off some names on the women’s side as possibilities. But one of them isn’t Sloane Stephens. Do you think she’s taken a step or two back from where she was about a year and a half ago?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: I think she’s moving back the right direction now. It seems to me since she’s been working with Nick ‑‑ God, I have a blank now ‑‑ the lefty. Nick Saviano. Complete blank. I see his face.

 

Since she’s been working back with Nick she’s been playing better tennis. I think she’s feeling more the urgency of not taking her time developing but, rather, making it happen quicker rather than slower.

 

So, yeah, she doesn’t have the cache and the promise maybe she held two or three years ago, but I think it’s still there if she just believes in it. On clay, her game does not transfer well on clay with her big forehand and a good serve.

 

It’s better suited for hard courts or grass. And also I’m not sure how well she moves on the clay. She’s such an amazing mover that on the clay she gets a little hampered because she can’t really push off that fast. I think, again, she’s better on grass or a hard court. But certainly looks like to me that she’s going in the right direction again, which is good to see.

 

Can you talk about the French Open and kind of what you love about that tournament in comparison to the other majors and other tournaments and what you think makes that event special in your eyes?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: The intimacy of it all. You can really get close to the players there, and it’s a smaller venue. So there’s a lot more going on within any area and you just feel, I think, the fans more there because when the Philippe‑Chatrier Court opens up and match finishes, everybody spills out and it gets pretty crowded.

 

And, of course, the red clay. It’s the only big tournament, well, the only slam that’s on red clay. And just the color makes you smile, you know.

So it’s one of a kind. And you’re in Paris. I mean, how tough can it be?

 

One off‑beat question. Does that red clay come out in the laundry, like from your socks and ‑‑ or are all the outfits ‑‑

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Anytime the players fall on the ground, we say, oops, there went that skirt; there went that shirt. Socks, you throw out, because when you sweat and you get the clay on it, it’s goodbye.

 

So when that tournament’s over, everything just goes in the garbage?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Yep.

 

And the shoes, too?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: Well, the shoes, you go on the grass. So, yes, they get pretty ‑‑ I mean, you may save them for other clay court tournaments. But most of the time the players, the shoes last a couple of days. That’s it.

I used to go through two pairs of shoes a week. I think the guys change them every match. And now maybe the women do, too. Depends on the kind of shoe. But they’re gone after a week, for sure. So definitely don’t save those.

Wondered if there was some great laundry detergent that got that clay out?

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA: If it’s there, I don’t know it.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

 

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Tennis Channel Expands French Open Coverage with Two New Shows

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Tennis Channel Expands French Open Coverage with Two New Shows

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From Tennis Channel: LOS ANGELES, May 18, 2015 -In its ninth year of French Open coverage, Tennis Channel is launching two new preview shows that dive into the many variables of match ups and outcomes that could happen at the Paris-based major this year. The network will dedicate more than 13 total hours to Racquet Bracket: French Open and Tennis Channel Live at the French Open, premiering Friday, May 22, 8 p.m. ET and Saturday, May 23, 12 p.m. ET, respectively. Starting on Opening Day Sunday, May 24, through the men’s semifinals Friday, June 5, Tennis Channel will take viewers through 12 days of live coverage at the 2015 French Open, followed by same-day encore matches during the championship weekend. During the two-week event in the City of Light, the network will deliver more than 260 total hours of day-to-night coverage of the tournament, with more than 85 hours of live or first-run matches, nearly 45 hours of encore replays, and 122 hours of three-hour nightly primetime show French Open Tonight (37-and-a-half first-run) hosted by Bill Macatee.

 

“Tennis Channel has consistently added to its French Open coverage both on-air and digitally over the years,” said Jeremy Langer, vice president of programming, Tennis Channel. “We are continuing this with Racquet Bracket: French Open and Tennis Channel Live at the French Open, both of which will provide excellent context for viewers as we go into the tournament.”

 

Hall of Famer Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin), 2007 French Open doubles champion Mark Knowles (@knowlzee10s) and award-winning sportscaster Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman) begin the network’s coverage, on the eve of the tournament, as hosts of the new one-hour French Open-draw show Racquet Bracket: French Open. The show breaks down the French Open draw, analyzing possible match ups that could take place in each round. Additionally, the show serves as an added boon for fans who partake in the network’s free annual online “Racquet Bracket” French Open prediction game.

 

Former World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) along with 1998 French Open mixed doubles champion Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) and renowned commentators Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) and Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) will host the network’s new Tennis Channel Live at the French Open, a one-hour preview show, which takes place from the Tennis Channel set on tournament grounds in Paris. They will take the audience through the pageantry and prestige of the French Open as tennis’ top talent prepare to make history in one of the oldest stadiums in the sport – Stade Roland Garros.

 

The network’s usual daily schedule at the French Open is made up of nine-hour match blocks, which begin at 10 a.m. ET. Within each block, live coverage goes from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ET most days, with encore replays from 3:30 p.m.-7 p.m. ET. Directly following is the nightly recap show French Open Tonight at 7 p.m. ET. After its initial run, the show then re-airs throughout the evening until the following morning. A complete schedule is available below.

French Open Tonight typically premieres from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. ET. It then airs two more times until 4 a.m. ET. Bill Macatee (@Bmacatee) – one of America’s most respected sportscasters – has hosted every season of the show, now in its ninth year. The program provides a nightly discussion of that day’s tournament action, and viewers can see interviews with top players, the day’s best highlights, feature pieces, and full-set and game replays when needed. Macatee talks with many guests on the show, from players fresh from the court to top coaches and tennis officials, as well as Hall of Famers, celebrities, reporters, network analysts and more.

 

Following early morning encore editions of French Open Tonight, the network will air daily highlights, from 4 a.m.-5 a.m. ET, produced by the French Open’s governing body, the French Tennis Federation. Directly following the highlights, ESPN2 begins its coverage at the start of each day’s play at 5 a.m. ET. As they have done since 2007, Tennis Channel and ESPN2 are offering viewers virtually non-stop, 24-hour coverage of the French Open. Tennis Channel produces all telecasts for both networks, with each cross-promoting the other’s telecast.

 

The week prior to the start of the French Open, Tennis Channel has a full slate of programming geared toward the tournament. In addition to the two new preview shows, viewers will be able to watch some of the best classic matches from recent French Open history. Starting May 19 through May 21, Tennis Channel will unveil a new classic match each day, ending with last year’s men’s final battle between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on May 23. Other matches include: Rafael Nadal versus Roger Federer (2005 semifinal); Serena Williams versus Maria Sharapova (2013 final); and Garbine Muguruza versus Serena Williams (2014 second round).

 

On-Air Talent

Tennis Channel’s on-air talent for the French Open, in addition to French Open Tonight host Macatee and Racquet Bracket: French Open‘s Austin, Knowles and Weissman, includes lead women’s analyst, Hall of Famer and two-time French Open champion Martina Navratilova (@Martina). Navratilova, who has won more singles titles than anyone who has ever played professional tennis, and Macatee have appeared together on air for every Tennis Channel Grand Slam telecast. They started their dynamic relationship with the 2007 French Open.

 

Joining Macatee and Navratilova are fellow Hall of Famers and former World No. 1s Lindsay Davenport, a host of Tennis Channel Live at the French Open, and Jim Courier, a two-time French Open winner. This will be Davenport’s sixth and Courier’s second French Open as analysts for Tennis Channel. Also contributing to hosting as well as on-air duties is Mary Carillo, who will be serving as a live desk host, analyst and reporter in her fifth French Open as a part of the Tennis Channel team.

 

Adding to the talent in the broadcasting booth is Tennis Channel Live at the French Open host Justin Gimelstob and USTA President Katrina Adams (@katadams68) in their ninth and eighth years with Tennis Channel at the French Open. Adams, who won 21 doubles titles on the WTA tour, is the first former professional player to ascend to the top position. Coming to the City of Light for his second year at the French Open with the network is the much storied Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone). Known for his coaching of Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and American star Sloane Stephens, Annacone will continue to part of the Tennis Channel booth.

 

Tennis Channel’s award-winning commentators will continue to bring their talent and know-how to Paris for the network. They include Ted Robinson (@tedjrobinson) in his ninth French Open for Tennis Channel, Ian Eagle (ninth), and former player and longtime tennis broadcaster Leif Shiras (@LShirock; eighth).

 

The Tennis Channel on-air team also includes Tennis Channel Live at the French Open hosts Brett Haber and Jon Wertheim. This is award-winning announcer Haber and Sports Illustrated executive editor and senior writer Wertheim’s fourth French Open with the network. Haber will serve as a commentator and announcer while Wertheim will again handle special reports as well as offer commentary for Tennis Channel.

 

Broadband and Digital Coverage

Tennis Channel’s Tennis Channel Everywhere app is free to all Apple and Android users regardless of whether they subscribe to Tennis Channel, and it contains daily updates, online video highlights, Court Report news updates and player Bag Check and instruction clips for no additional charge. However, most of those viewers who subscribe to the network through a cable provider can watch the channel live whenever and wherever they want, through a TV Everywhere function, also at no extra cost.

 

Tennis Channel Plus, the network’s groundbreaking digital subscription service launched at last year’s tournament, will have a continuous live feed of multi-court coverage, with up to five courts available to stream the first five days of the tournament, and then three courts the next three days.

 

Tennis Channel Plus’ more than 360 hours of live coverage includes late-round matches like the women’s singles semifinals.

 

Again in 2015, veteran tennis reporters Steve Flink and Joel Drucker (@joeldrucker) will be covering all the action on Paris’ clay courts and filing columns directly to Tennis Channel’s website, www.tennischannel.com. Besides up-to-the-minute news and detailed analysis from Drucker and Flink, fans will also have access to interactive tournament draws, real-time scoring, photos, daily highlights, interviews, features and segments from French Open Tonight through the Tennis Channel website.

 

For additional content, Tennis Channel’s social media platforms will offer a multi-platform experience for fans looking to stay engaged across the entirety of the tournament. To connect with Tennis Channel, visit: Facebook (www.facebook.com/tennischannel), Twitter (www.twitter.com/tennischannel), YouTube (www.youtube.com/tennischannel), Instagram (http://instagram.com/tennischannel) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/tennischannel).

 

Tennis Channel’s Live 2015 French Open Match Schedule

(Men’s/Women’s Singles Unless Otherwise Specified)

 

Date                                        Time (ET)                  Event                                     

Sunday, May 24                      10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.        First-Round Action

Monday, May 25                    10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.        First-Round Action

Tuesday, May 26                    10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.        First-Round Action

Wednesday, May 27               10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.        Second-Round Action

Thursday, May 28                   10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.        Second-Round Action

Friday, May 29                       10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.        Third-Round Action

Saturday, May 30                   5 a.m.-Noon                Third-Round Action

Sunday, May 31                      5 a.m.-1 p.m.               Round-of-16 Action

Monday, June 1                      10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.        Round-of-16 Action

Tuesday, June 2                      8 a.m.-1 p.m.               Quarterfinals

Thursday, June 4                     6 a.m.-9 a.m.               Mixed-Doubles Final

Thursday, June 4                 9 a.m.-2 p.m.             Women’s Semifinals (Tennis Channel Plus)

Friday, June 5                         7 a.m.-11 a.m.             Men’s Semifinal

 

This year, French Open encore match coverage on Tennis Channel will include same-day replays of the men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals, semifinals and finals as well as the men’s and women’s doubles finals, as follows (ET):

 

Wednesday, June 3 – 1 p.m.-7 p.m.: men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals

Thursday, June 4 – 2 p.m.-7 p.m.: women’s semifinals

Friday, June 5 – 5 p.m.-12 a.m.: men’s semifinals

Saturday, June 6 – 9 p.m.-11 p.m.: women’s final; 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m.: men’s doubles final

Sunday, June 7 – 9 p.m.-12 a.m.: men’s final; 12 a.m.-1:30 a.m.: women’s doubles final

 

(Additional encores will air subsequent days of the tournament and during the week of June 8.)

 

Tennis Channel’s French Open Tonight Schedule (ET)

French Open Tonight will premiere from Sunday, May 24 through Friday, May 29, 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Immediately following each premiere are back-to-back replays from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1 a.m.-4 a.m. During the first weekend of the tournament, French Open Tonight will debut from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. and will re-air three consecutive times, 6 p.m. -9 p.m.; 9 p.m.-12 a.m.; 12 a.m.-3 a.m. on Saturday, May 30, and on Sunday, May 31.

 

For the second week of the tournament, French Open Tonight will premiere Monday, June 1, from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. followed by three encores, 10 p.m.-1 a.m.; 1 a.m.-3:30 a.m.; 4:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. On Tuesday, June 2, the show will debut from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. followed by four encores from 8 p.m.-11 p.m.; 11 p.m.-2 a.m.; 2 a.m.-4:30 a.m.; 4:30-7:30 a.m. On Wednesday, June 3, French Open Tonight will premiere from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. followed by two encores from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1 a.m.-4 a.m. The final French Open Tonight will debut Thursday, June 4, and will consist of a four-and-a-half hour special edition from 7 p.m.-11:30 p.m. and will run again once, from 11:30 p.m.-4 a.m.

     

 

     

 

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USTA Announces Players and Coaches for BNP Paribas World Team Cup

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 18, 2015 – The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced the players and coaches who will represent the United States at the 2015 BNP Paribas World Team Cup.  The nation’s top wheelchair tennis players will compete against participants from around the globe, May 25-31, at Ali Bey Resort Manavgat in Antalya, Turkey.

 

The World Team Cup is the ITF’s flagship wheelchair tennis event, often referred to as the Davis Cup and Fed Cup of wheelchair tennis. The inaugural event was held in California in 1985 involving six men’s teams. The women’s competition began the following year, with quad and junior events introduced in 1998 and 2000, respectively. The event has experienced continued growth since.

 

A total of 52 teams representing 28 countries will take part in the 2015 competition in Antalya. Teams will compete in the men’s World Group (12 nations), men’s World Group 2 (12 nations), women’s World Group (12 nations), quad event (8 teams) and junior event (8 teams). The event will take place on red clay courts.

 

Representing the United States at the 2015 BNP Paribas World Team Cup will be:

 

 

The United States Quad Team will look to regain the quad title after losing the final to Great Britain in a tiebreak last year.  The team will be led by three-time Paralympic Doubles gold medalists David Wagner and Nick Taylor and joined by Bryan Barten and Greg Hasterok. All of the other U.S. teams will look to improve on their 2014 finishes.  The U.S. men’s and women’s teams will both look to move up the ranks after their seventh place finishes. The U.S. junior team will look to move into the finals this year with a team led by Chris Herman, Casey Ratzlaff and Conner Stroud. The junior team finished fourth last year, but did beat the No. 1 team in the world from the Netherlands in round-robin play.

 

The USTA was officially designated by the USOC as the national governing body for the Paralympic sport of wheelchair tennis in June 2002, becoming the first Olympic national governing body to earn this recognition. As the national governing body for wheelchair tennis, the USTA manages wheelchair tennis in the United States, including the sanctioning of tournaments, overseeing wheelchair rankings, creating and managing a High Performance program for developing elite disabled athletes, and selecting teams to compete internationally for the United States.

 

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Novak Djokovic Beats Roger Federer for Fourth Rome Title

Djokovic Rome

(May 17, 2015) A week ahead of Roland Garros and No. 1 Novak Djokovic is perfect on clay courts this year. He added to this year’s clay court resume with 75 minute 6-4, 6-3 title defense win over No. 2 Roger Federer to claim his fourth title at the Italian Open. It’s also the Serb’s 24 Masters Series 1000 tournament win, one ahead of Federer and three behind overall leader Rafael Nadal at 27.

The win, his fifth championship of the season, was his 35th career title which extended his current win streak to 22. He has a 37-match win streak at the majors and Masters 1000 events going back to the Paris Indoors last year.

Speaking in Italian of the crowd after the victory, Djokovic said: “It was a great week and today was my best match. It’s always a pleasure to play against Roger and obviously I’m very pleased by today. Along with 2011, this is the best year of my career. I don’t know how (to) continue at Roland Garros but obviously I have a lot of confidence. I hope I can continue like this.”

“I was able to find my way through. Roger put a lot of pressure on my service game at 4-4, but I managed to respond well, to gain those break points, move him around the court, and then I played a couple of great points that gave me the set” Djokovic said to media. “When you’re a set up, the momentum is shifting to your side and you start to feel better.

“The fact that I have managed to win so many matches in a row gives me a reason to believe I can do it again… I want to keep going as long as I can. I don’t want to think fear or everything else can be an obstacle and interrupt this streak. I always try to do my best no matter what is the tournament. This kind of mindset has helped me to be where I am. If I can repeat what I did in 2011? I don’t know. There are things out of your control. What you can influence is the present and how you can get in the position to do well in the future.”

“I know I can play better,” Federer said of the loss. “Novak was rock solid today, he played great throughout. He made very few unforced errors. He was able to take that opportunity that presented itself. I’m happy, feeling good and healthy.”

For Federer who has never won in Rome, it was his fourth loss in a final in 15 tournament appearances.

Djokovic heads into French Open next weekend focusing on the only major title he has never won.

“I don’t think I need to go and do anything more special for Roland Garros,” Djokovic said. “I just need to keep going on route.”

The Serb has won the Australian Open and four of the five Masters events this year, all of those he played in – Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome.

He is 35-2 on the year, with his last loss coming to Federer at the end of February in the Dubai final. He is 14-1 against Top 10 opponents this year

The only drama for the world No. 1 came on this day came after the trophy presentation when a champagne cork popped and hit Djokovic in the forehead.

“We had an argument, Mr. Champagne and I,” Djokovic said. “He threw a punch and I won’t forget it.”

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Maria Sharapova Wins Third Italian Open Title

(May 17, 2015) Once Maria Sharapova was a self-proclaimed “cow on ice,” in terms of her game on a clay court. Years later with 11 clay court crowns to her name including two French Open titles, the phrase almost seems laughable.

No one was laughing on Sunday, when the Russian rebounded from a first set loss to topple Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 to win the Italian Open in two hours and 35 minutes, her third championship in Rome and 35th career title.

“It wasn’t easy to find a rhythm out there, with the way she plays, and the wind….I really had to adjust,” Sharapova said. “But I’m proud I was able to stay in there. I never felt I was playing very clean until the end of the third set. So it shows that it’s good to hang in there and just stay positive out there.

“In the end I was the fresher one, and the more aggressive one, so it’s all a positive. And looking at how I started the clay court season in Stuttgart and where I am now, I feel I’m in a much better spot.”

Sharapova’s week, moves her up a spot in the rankings to No. 2, which means she’ll be the second seed at next week’s second major of the year, the French Open.

Despite the loss in the final Suarez Navarro had a week in which defeated three Top 10 players at the same tournament for the first time in her career, including No. 2 seed Simona Halep. The Spaniard is being rewarded with a jump in the rankings next week from 10 to No. 8.

“I was practicing really hard before Madrid and Rome, and I’m playing some good tennis right now,” she said. “Maria was just too good today. It was a really close match, and I started really well, but at the end of the second set she started playing more aggressive, and I think that was the key.”

“I remember coming to Italy as a little girl and this was one of the tournaments I dreamed of playing,” Sharapova said. “Now to win it for a third time is very special.”

Sharapova has won 62 of her last 68 matches on clay as she heads into the French Open trying to defend last year’s title.

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Consolation Finals Wrap USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships

La Jolla, Calif. – (May 17, 2015) –  Consolation singles finals wrapped up the final day of play as the USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships came to a close at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.

Fourth-seeded Sherri Bronson of Scottsdale, Ariz., defeated fifth-seeded Leslie Airola Murveit of Portola Valley, Calif., 6-2, 6-1, to win the 60 and over singles consolation championship.

In the 80 and over singles consolation final, Claire Zoeller of Santa Fe, N.M., outlasted Irene Bretzel of Fircrest, Wash., 6-4, 6-2.

“It was a fantastic week of national senior women’s tennis,” said Tournament Director Bill Kellogg. “After watching players competing in age divisions from 50 to 90, it is easy to see why tennis continues to be the sport of a lifetime.”

For complete scores and results, as well as final draws, please go to the following link: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=153474#&&s=0

USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
La Jolla, Calif.
Sunday’s Results

Women’s 50 Singles
Consolation Championship
Anna Zimmermann (5), Indianapolis, Ind., def. Eleanor Hammargren (5), San Clemente, Calif., Walkover, (injury)

Women’s 60 Singles
Consolation Championship
Sherri Bronson (4), Scottsdale, Ariz., def. Leslie Airola Murveit (5), Portola Valley, Calif., 6-2, 6-1

Women’s 70 Singles
Consolation Championship
Carolann Castell (5), Kirkland, Wash., def.  Ann Loose, Sandia Park, N.M, Walkover
Women’s 80 Singles
Consolation Championship
Claire Zoeller, Santa Fe, N.M., def. Irene Bretzel, Fircrest, Wash., 6-4, 6-2

For complete scores and results, go to: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=153474

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Five Singles Champions Crowned at USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championships

La Jolla, Calif. – (May 16, 2015) –  On a day filled with spectacular tennis, singles champions in five age divisions of USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships were crowned on Saturday at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.

In the Women’s 50 and over division, top-seed and defending champion Ros Nideffer of San Diego (Rancho Bernardo), captured her third National Senior Women’s Hard Court singles title in the last four years, as she defeated second-seeded Frances Chandler of Jackson, Tenn., 6-4, 6-0.

The 54-year-old Nideffer, a former touring tennis professional, won the first four games of the match. Chandler rallied to win the next three games in a row, but Nideffer held her next two service games to wrap up the first set.

Nideffer, a two-time Wimbledon singles quarterfinalist, dominated the second set, losing only five points in her three service games as she closed out the match in one-hour and 41 minutes.

“I felt really good at the beginning. I was hitting my shots and feeling confident.  I started to get a bit tentative and she started to play better as well,” Nideffer said. “I just had to keep telling myself to go for my shots.”

Top-seeded Tina Karwasky of Glendale, Calif., won her fourth-straight Women’s 60 and over title after scoring a thrilling 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5, victory over second-seeded Carolyn Nichols of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., in three-hours and 12 minutes.

Second-seeded Catherine Anderson of Del Mar, Calif., was attempting to win her fourth consecutive Women’s 70 and over singles championship at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, but she fell to top-seeded Betty Wachob of Panama City, Fla., 1-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the final.

Top-seeded Burnett Herrick of Tarboro, N.C., captured the Women’s 80s singles title with a hard-fought 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, win over second-seeded Dorothy Matthiessen of Pasadena, Calif.

Catherine Hall of Newport Beach, Calif., won all three of her singles matches in the Women’s 90 and over division, which featured a Round-Robin format.  Hall clinched the 90s title on Saturday when her opponent,  94-year-old Helene Salvetat of  Hossegor, France retired from the match due to illness, trailing Hall 3-0 in the first set.

The USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships will conclude on Sunday with women’s consolation finals. La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club welcomes tennis enthusiasts to view the tournament with free admission. On-site parking is available for a nominal fee.

For complete scores and results, as well as updated draws, please go to the following link: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=153474#&&s=0

Written by Fred Sidhu

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Djokovic and Federer to Meet in Rome Final

228 Federer Djokovic handshake-001

(May 16, 2015) Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet in the Italian Open final on Sunday. No. 1 Djokovic downed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4 while Federer came back from 0-3 in the first set to beat Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2.

The women’s final in Rome will feature two-time former champion Maria Sharapova against Carla Suarez Navarro. Sharapova beat Russian qualifier Daria Gavrilova 7-5, 6-3 while Suarez Navarro rallied past No. 2 seed Simona Halep 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. The win for Sharapova means she’ll move back up to No. 2 in the rankings on Monday and will be the second seed for the French Open.

“We were breaking serve all the time, but it’s because we were both returning very well,” Suárez Navarro said. “It was tough for me, it was tough for Simona – but I’m really happy with the way I finished the match today.

“I’ve been practicing really hard during the whole season, and I’m playing with a lot of confidence right now. I’m playing more aggressively, which is important when you’re playing the top players.”

Federer will be seeking to win a Masters event he’s never won on Sunday. This is the fourth time he’s reached the finalThe No. 2 player has never won Monte Carlo either.

“I just like winning a title. Now OK, this is Rome, and it’s one I’ve never won so you might think it’s extra special but for some reason it’s not for me,” Federer said.

“Stan played well in the first set,” said Federer. “In the second set he had a sort of breakdown. He wasn’t serving his best. I was definitely able to take advantage of it.”

Both Djokovic and Federer had some concerns about the court which had holes. Federer’s feet were stuck in a hole and could not turn around to take a shot.

“In a couple of places the holes are really deep,” Djokovic said. “If you slide and get into that hole you can twist an ankle easily. It’s dangerous to play in these conditions.”

Federer and Djokovic will be meeting for the 39th time, with Federer leading the head-two-head 20-18.

Sharapova leads Suarez Navarro 3-1.

 

 

RESULTS – MAY 16, 2015

WTA Singles – Semifinals

[10] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d [2] S. Halep (ROU) 26 63 75
[3] M. Sharapova (RUS) d [Q] D. Gavrilova (RUS) 75 63


WTA Doubles – Semifinals

[1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) d [4] C. Garcia (FRA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) 62 76(5)
[3] T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA) d [8] A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 62 63

ATP Singles – Semifinals
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [7] D. Ferrer (ESP) 64 64
[2] R. Federer (SUI) d [8] S. Wawrinka (SUI) 64 62

ATP Doubles – Semifinals
[5] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP) d N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) 61 36 11-9
P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) d K. Anderson (RSA) / J. Chardy (FRA) 64 64

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 17 MAY 2015

CENTRALE start 11:00
WTA DOUBLES FINAL – [1] M. Hingis (SUI) / S. Mirza (IND) vs [3] T. Babos (HUN) / K. Mladenovic (FRA)
Not Before 1:30 pm
WTA SINGLES FINAL – [3] M. Sharapova (RUS) vs [10] C. Suárez Navarro (ESP)
Not Before 4:00 pm
ATP SINGLES FINAL – [1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [2] R. Federer (SUI)

PIETRANGELI start 2:30 pm
ATP DOUBLES FINAL – P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) vs [5] M. Granollers (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

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Five Finals Set for Saturday for USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Tennis Championships

LJBTC
La Jolla, Calif. – (May 15, 2015) – The USTA National Senior Women’s Hard Court Championships will crown singles champions in five age divisions on Saturday at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.

In the Women’s 50s singles final, scheduled for 10 a.m., top-seed and defending champion Ros Nideffer of San Diego (Rancho Bernardo) will face second-seeded Frances Chandler of Jackson, Tenn.

The 54-year-old Nideffer, a former touring tennis professional, is a two-time Wimbledon singles quarterfinalist and was once ranked as high as No. 15 in the world.

The complete schedule of singles finals is as follows:

Women’s 50 Singles
Championship
10 a.m.
Ros Nideffer (1), San Diego, vs. Frances Chandler (2), Jackson, Tenn.

Women’s 60 Singles
Championship
11 a.m.
Tina Karwasky (1), Glendale, Calif., vs. Carolyn Nichols (2), Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Women’s 70 Singles
Championship
11:30 a.m.
Betty Wachob (1), Panama City, Fla., vs. Catherine Anderson (2), Del Mar, Calif.

Women’s 80 Singles
Championship
10 a.m.
Burnett Herrick (1), Tarboro, N.C., vs. Dorothy Matthiessen (2), Pasadena, Calif.

Women’s 90 Singles
Round Robin (final match)
Catherine Hall, Newport Beach, Calif., vs. Helene Salvetat, Hossegor, France

Sunday’s tournament schedule will feature women’s consolation finals.

For complete scores and results, as well as updated draws, please go to the following link: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=153474#&&s=0

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club welcomes tennis enthusiasts to view the tournament with free admission. On-site parking is available for a nominal fee.

The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s 43rd Annual Spring Senior Championships for men is also being played this week in conjunction with the women’s events. Although the men’s events are not national championships, they feature many senior players who regularly compete in national tournaments.

The men’s events include singles and doubles for 60 and over, 65 and over, 70 and over, 75 and over, 80 and over, and 85 and over age groups. Total participation for both the men’s and women’s tournaments is expected to be 300-plus players.

The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club began each of these events in the late 1980s and has hosted them each year since then. Designated one of the Top 50 Tennis Resorts in the world by Tennis Resorts Online, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s reputation as a top tennis destination started in 1942 when it attracted its first major tournament, the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championship.

By Fred Sidhu

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