Two Former Champions Headline Tallahassee Tennis Challenger Field


(April 9, 2014) The field for the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger was announced Thursday morning by tournament director Karen Vogter, as two former champions and nine players inside the top 150 will make the trip to the $50,000 event, the last stop on the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, where players compete for a spot at the French Open.


“We have players from 13 countries thus far and two former winners in Tim Smyczek (2012) and Donald Young (2011) as well as past finalists Frank Dancevic (2012), Bobby Reynolds (2008) and Young (2009),” Vogter said. “About half of the players we have never hosted before which is exciting, and then we have a collection of guys we know and love from years past.”


Young (No. 91) and veteran Michael Russell (No. 97) are the two players inside the top 100 on the entry list.


World No. 124 Alex Kuznetsov will return to Tallahassee a year after he sealed the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card into Roland Garross with a quarterfinal appearance at Forestmeadows.


In 2013, the tournament made a switch from hard courts to Har-Tru green clay, making it the final stop of the Challenge and joining forces with other USTA Pro Circuit events in Sarasota and Savannah. In the Challenge, the American with the best two finishes in three events earns the U.S. wild card into the French Open.



“I am just hoping for a week of great tennis with less rain than last year,” Vogter said, referring to the delays and cancellations from the 2013 tournament. “I feel it was hard for fans to really get to see and feel the new clay tournament due to the weather. We are looking at a good forecast right now, however.”


USTA Announces Tournaments for French Open Wild Card Challenge

USTA pro circuit logo

(April 3, 2014) The USTA announced the tournaments for the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, which utilizes the USTA Pro Circuit to award wild cards into the French Open. Three women’s events will be hosted in Dothan, Ala., Charlottesville, Va., and Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., and three men’s events will take place in Sarasota, Fla., Savannah, Ga., and Tallahassee, Fla. The challenge kicks off on Monday, April 14, in Dothan and Sarasota.


Har-Tru Sports, the leading provider of clay tennis courts, is in its second year as title sponsor of the challenge after signing a three-year agreement in 2013. New this year, Har-Tru is launching a “Be One with the Clay” video contest in which tennis fans of all ages can create a video, demonstrating how clay courts have impacted their games. After a public voting process, the contest winner will win a trip for two to the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif.


In the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, the American man and American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA Tour ranking points at two of the three select USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events earn main draw wild cards into the French Open. Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the French Open are eligible. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2014 French and US Opens are exchanged. All tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com.


“The USTA Pro Circuit’s clay-court season allows American players to develop their games and prepare for the French Open in their own backyards at some of our best clay-court facilities nationwide,” said Brian Earley, Director of the USTA Pro Circuit. “By partnering with Har-Tru through the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, we are also proud to utilize this time of the year to provide Americans who may not otherwise have the opportunity, the chance to get into the French Open. The challenge is a great asset to our season.”


The Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge will consist of the following events:


USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Events

– Dothan Pro Classic, $50,000 Dothan, Ala. (week of April 14)

– Boyd Tinsley Women’s Clay Court Classic, $50,000 Charlottesville, Va. (week of April 21)

– Audi Melbourne Pro Tennis Classic, $50,000 Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. (week of April 28)


USTA Pro Circuit Men’s Events

– 2014 Sarasota Open, $100,000 Sarasota, Fla. (week of April 14)

– Savannah Challenger, $50,000 Savannah, Ga. (week of April 21)

– USTA Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, $50,000 Tallahassee, Fla. (week of April 28)


In conjunction with the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, Har-Tru’s “Be One with the Clay” video contest is designed to empower tennis players and enthusiasts to share stories about how their love of tennis has been enhanced by the power of playing and training on clay. Fans of all ages can create a video, showcasing how clay has had an impact on their game, and submit it on www.beonewiththeclay.com. Fans can vote for their favorite videos on the website. The contest winner will receive a trip for two to the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif., and play tennis on the resort’s Har-Tru tennis courts. The contest is now open and runs through May 31. Fan voting will be held from June 17-July 6, with the winner being announced on July 7.


“Think of how many junior players have dreamed about playing even just one match in a Grand Slam tournament. We’re very excited that Har-Tru gets to foster that dream through our involvement with the USTA Pro Circuit series held on our surface,” said Pat Hanssen, general manager of Har-Tru Sports. “We are also energized about providing interesting ways for fans of the game to connect to us. The “Be One with the Clay” contest we are adding this year does just that, by providing avid tennis players a creative and fun opportunity to share their passion for the game and  to share stories about what playing on clay has done for them.”


The USTA first used this wild card challenge format for its 2012 French Open wild cards, won by Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker. Oudin and Baker each advanced to the second round at that year’s French Open and subsequently broke into the Top 100. Last year, Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards with Rogers winning her first-ever Grand Slam singles match at the French Open.


The 2014 French Open main draw will be held Sunday, May 25, to Sunday, June 8.


Information on the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge will be available at www.USTAHarTruWC.com, www.procircuit.usta.com, and on Twitter through @USTAProCircuit and #USTAHarTruWC.


New Balance Launches Inaugural New Balance High School Championship, Presented by the USTA

new balance

new balance high school championship


(March 26, 2014) New Balance announced in early March the creation of the inaugural New Balance High School Tennis Championship presented by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), an event that will offer young tennis players a new level of competition on the national stage. The tournament will be held at the Beren Tennis Center at Harvard University in Boston, July 21-25, 2014.

“We think if you play high school tennis, you’re a tennis player for life,”  Bruce Schilling, General Manager of Tennis for New Balance told Tennis Panorama News.

“We want to acknowledge and pay attention to those athletes that don’t get the attention as other sports do.”

“We are also excited to build relationships with the high school state athletic associations through this new and exciting event and work with them to develop ongoing programs and services for individual players and coaches.”

New Balance developed the event with the goal of supporting and recognizing all high school tennis players and coaches and the dedication they bring to the sport. New Balance sought the USTA’s support for this event because of the strong alignment of both organizations’ goals to promote and develop the sport of tennis, as well as the USTA’s experience managing tennis events.

Boys’ and girls’ singles events will have a 64-player compass draw format, giving players the opportunity to play many matches. Winners of the New Balance High School Tennis Championship will be awarded wildcard spots in an International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior event held in the U.S. prior to the 2014 US Open Junior Championships.

To grow participation among high school players and the event, New Balance is collaborating with the High School State Associations to conduct outreach and work with athletic directors, coaches, and players to acknowledge the importance of the high school game. Other event supporters include Harvard, SJX, and Home Team Sports.

“The real goal of this is to get down into the state level and offer opportunities for every high school player,” Schilling said.

Outside of publicity and the tournament web site, New Balance is reaching out to potential participants in other ways. “We have made arrangements with a number of state federations and those federations are those federations are reaching out to high school tennis associations by reaching directly to the coaches of the kids that win,” Schilling said.

“Harvard was one of the first programs we got involved with immediately, they are very close to our campus. It’s a spectacular venue at a prestigious institution and so there really couldn’t be a better partner.”

More than 355,000 boys and girls participate in high school tennis. At the collegiate level, approximately 20,000 varsity positions are available for top athletes, with intramural and club-level programs providing an additional 40,000 participants the opportunity to maintain their social and competitive connection to the sport throughout college.

For more information on the New Balance High School Tennis Championship: http://www.newbalance.com/NB-Tennis/exp-tennis-event,default,pg.html


Marcos Giron Captures USTA Men’s Pro Championships of Calabasas

Jason Jung (L) and Marcos Giron (R)

Jason Jung (L) and Marcos Giron (R)

CALABASAS, Calif., (March 23, 2014) – Marcos Giron shook off a lackluster second set and rediscovered his free-swinging style in the third set, to defeat Jason Jung 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, in the men’s singles finals Sunday at the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
Giron, a UCLA junior from Thousand Oaks, picks up 27 ATP rankings points with the win in his first USTA Futures event of the year. He won two Futures singles titles last in 2013.
“In that second set I was up 3-2, and then there were three games in a row with a lot of deuce games,” said the 20-year-old Giron, who was No. 532 in the ATP World Tour rankings at the start of the event. “I was a little flat and he turned up his energy. He won all of those long games, but near the end of the second set I started to swing out more, meaning I was hitting freely. That really helped me in the third set.”
Giron started the third set serving, and both players held serve until 5-4. With Jung serving, Giron won a long point to make it 0-30, then Jung doubled faulted and hit a forehand into the net to end the match.
“It was two great SoCal kids going to battle,” said Grant Chen, UCLA’s assistant men’s tennis coach. “I think Marcos had some nerves in the second set, and responded well to close it out.”
“A lot of the errors were based on his pressure,” said Jung, 24, of Torrance, who has two Futures wins, one in 2012 and the other in 2013. “Congratulations to him. In that last game that long rally got to me and then it just went faster than I wanted it to, and he won. I’ve got a week off and we will see what the schedule holds next.
“I’ve played in two other Futures events this year, and this is my first final. I’m playing better and there are definitely some things I can improve on.”
In the doubles final pitting four former collegiate stars, the top-seeded team of Sekou Bangoura (Florida) and Evan King (Michigan) defeated Dennis Novikov (UCLA) and Connor Smith (Ohio State), 6-4, 6-4.
“We’re in sync right now,” Bangoura told Ken Thomas of Radio Tennis after the match. It was the second straight victory for the team as they also won the Bakersfield Futures event last week.
Sunday’s Singles Final Scores
Marcos Giron, U.S., def. Jason Jung, U.S. (3), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Sunday’s Doubles Final Score
Sekou Bangoura/Evan King, U.S. (1), def. Dennis Novikov/Connor Smith, U.S., 6-4, 6-4

Giron to Face Jung in Calabasas Final; Actress Cuoco and Husband Sweeting Entertain Crowd

©Cynthia Lum / For the USTA

©Cynthia Lum / For the USTA

CALABASAS, Calif., (March 22, 2014) – Kaley Cuoco, star of the hit TV show “The Big Bang Theory”, showed flashes of the form that made her a competitive USTA junior player during the Kaley Cuoco & Friends Exhibition on Saturday night at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
Cuoco, 28, teamed with her newlywed husband and professional player Ryan Sweeting in an  exhibition—which featured mini-matches and shot skills–before the featured semifinal match at the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event.
In Sunday’s final of the event, it will be UCLA junior Marcos Giron of Thousand Oaks facing former Michigan University star Jason Jung in an all-Southern California final. The unseeded Giron beat No. 6-seeded Mate Pavic of Croatia, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, in Saturday night’s featured semifinal match. In the other semifinal, it was the No. 3-seeded Jung taking out former USC star Daniel Nguyen, 7-5, 6-2.
In the doubles final that will open up play on Sunday at 12 noon, the top-seeded team of Sekou Bangoura and Evan King will take on Dennis Novikov and Connor Smith. All four players are from the U.S. and played college tennis.
Before the final singles semifinal match between Giron and Pavic, Cuoco and her husband played with Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center pros Brady Heite, Natasha Mucci, Ahmad Shiraz and Jonas Wallgard for 20 minutes while Top Seed Director Steve McAvoy handled the commentary over the public address system.
“Ryan gave me a lot of pointers yesterday,” Cuoco said. “Actually I have been practicing for about three weeks. I thought I was going to want to kill him, but he was very sweet about it. My game is still deep down there somewhere.”
Cuoco hit strong forehands and backhands during the exhibition, “but I wasn’t expecting this much of a workout. That was like a Wayne Bryan workout with all the running around.”
“I remember watching her train,” said Mucci, a tennis instructor at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center. “She looks fantastic, like she has been playing a little tennis lately.”
“Her key is she intimates opponents,” said Sweeting, who lost to Roberto Marcora, the No. 4 seed from Italy, 6-1, 6-2, in the opening round. In 2010 Sweeting lost in the singles final to Marinko Matosevic of Australia in the Calabasas Challengers final. “Kaley understands the trajectory of the ball now, rather than just hitting it.”
Cuoco and Sweeting were introduced last summer by mutual friend Mike Bryan. Kaley and Mike were friends during their youth tennis days, where both trained at the Cabrillo Racquet Club under Wayne and Kathy Bryan.
“I grew up with the Bryans (Mike and Bob) and we have been in each other’s lives forever,” Cuoco said. “I remember Wayne saying my sons are going to be the No. 1 doubles players in the world when they were only 10, and that’s exactly what they did.”
Cuoco and Sweeting—who were married on New Year’s Eve last year—met after a World Team Tennis match in Dallas in August.
“I was playing for the Sacramento Capitals and the Bryans played for Dallas,” Sweeting said. “”I flew from Dallas to meeting Kaley in LA and I haven’t left. I sold my house in Fort Lauderdale two weeks after I met her.”
“I knew Ryan had to be a good guy if Mike was friends with him,” Cuoco said. “Mike thinks he’s a good matchmaker, however his wife Lucille had a lot to do with it. I think they are fighting to this day about who actually introduced us.”
“The Big Bang Theory” was recently renewed for another three years on CBS, and Cuoco couldn’t be happier. “It feels amazing and I can’t believe it,” Cuoco said. “I feel very lucky to be a part of something so incredible.”
Saturday’s Singles Semifinals Scores
Marcos Giron, U.S., def. Mate Pavic, Croatia (6), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4
Jason Jung, U.S. (3), def. Daniel Nguyen, U.S., 7-5, 6-2
Saturday’s Doubles Semifinal Score
Sekou Bangoura/Evan King, U.S. (1), def. Fabian Matthews/Kyle McMorrow, U.S. (4), 6-4, 6-2
Follow along on Twitter at http://twitter.com/calabasastennis. For more information check out the official website, calabasasprotennis.com.



Three Ventura County Players Into Quarters at USTA Calabasas Futures Event

CALABASAS, Calif., (March 20, 2014) – Three players from Ventura County advanced to the Elite 8 in singles play on Thursday at the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event being played at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
Two of the three grew up in Thousand Oaks, just 15 miles north of Calabasas down the U.S. 101 and will meet in the featured match on Friday night not before 8 p.m. as UCLA junior Marcos Giron takes on former Washington University standout Kyle McMorrow.
In the second match scheduled for Stadium Court following the first at 11 a.m., it will be Oxnard’s Daniel Nguyen taking on former Duke All-American Henrique Cunha in a rematch of a NCAA matchup two seasons ago in which Cunha beat Nguyen.
In his second-round match on Thursday, Nguyen dominated Ryan Agar of Australia in their first meeting, 6-4, 6-0. ““He was a crafty player,” the four-time NCAA team champion from USC Nguyen said. “He has kind of an unorthodox game. It was tough today. I was just lucky to pull it out.”
While Cunha needed a third-set tiebreaker to beat U.S. Boys’ 18s National Kalamazoo champion Collin Altamirano in his match, Nguyen was excited about the fact that he has won both his matches in straight sets. “There’s always room to improve,” he said. “But I’m happy to pull it out in two sets.”
Last year at this event, Nguyen had match points in the last round of qualies losing to Mitchell Krueger in three tough sets. “I was kind of bummed right after but you move forward,” he said. “You have so many more matches to play you kind of have to.”
On Thursday, Giron took care of Krueger, 7-5, 6-3, in front of his college coach Billy Martin, while the qualifier McMorrow outlasted 16-year-old U.S. junior Stefan Kozlov, 6-4, 6-4.
Last spring in his final season for the Huskies, McMorrow lost in the NCAA Individuals to Duke’s Cunha in the Round of 16 and in the process became the eighth All-American in program history. McMorrow finished the season with a 25-7 record and 100-35 for his career. He became just the fifth Husky to reach 100 wins for his career.
EVENTS: The Adult Pro-Am drill is Friday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Community Tennis Association & USTA League appreciation night is Friday, March 21st starting at 6 p.m. A USTA Junior Team Tennis Kid’s Day with a Tennis Carnival is Saturday, March 22 from 4 p.m. till 5:30 p.m., and a VIP sponsor dinner reception is Saturday, March 22, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Kaley Cuoco & Friends Exhibition is Saturday evening before the singles semifinals.
Thursday’s Singles Scores
WC: wild card; Q: qualifier
Henrique Cunha, Brazil, def. Collin Altamirano, U.S., 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (4)
Mate Pavic, Croatia (6), def. Evan Song, U.S. (q), 6-4, 6-2
Gianni Mina, France, def. Roberto Marcora, Italy (4), 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-3
Kyle McMorrow, U.S. (q), def. Stefan Kozlov, U.S., 6-4, 6-4
Daniel Nguyen, U.S., def. Ryan Agar, Australia, 6-4, 6-0
Taylor Fritz, U.S. (wc), def. Evan King, U.S., 6-3, 6-3
Jason Jung, U.S. (3), def. Sekou Bangoura, U.S. (q), 6-3, 6-4
Marcos Giron, U.S., def. Mitchell Krueger, U.S., 7-5, 6-3
Thursday’s Doubles Scores
Dennis Novikov/Connor Smith, U.S., def. Ryan Agar, Australia/Erik Elliott, U.S. (2), 6-2, 6-1
Sekou Bangoura/Evan King, U.S. (1), def. Collin Altamirano/Taylor Fritz, U.S., 6-4, 7-6 (5)
Fabian Matthews/Kyle McMorrow, U.S. (4) def. Stefan Kozlov/Mitchell Krueger, U.S., walkover
Follow along on Twitter at http://twitter.com/calabasastennis. For more information check out the official website, calabasasprotennis.com.

Ryan Sweeting Falls In First Round In Comeback Attempt

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting watches new husband Ryan Photo by Cynthia Lum / For the USTA Sweeting in the first round of the USTA Calabasas Men's Pro Tennis Championships Of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event.

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting watches new husband Ryan Sweeting in the first round of the USTA Calabasas Men’s Pro Tennis Championships Of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event. Photo by Cynthia Lum / For the USTA


Ryan Sweeting in the first round of the USTA Calabasas Men’s Pro Tennis Championships Of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event. Photo by Cynthia Lum / For the USTA

CALABASAS, Calif., (March 19, 2014) – USTA Director of Coaching Jose Higueras watched on Wednesday as two United States teenagers won opening-round matches at the USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas, a USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event being played at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.

Eighteen-year-old Collin Altamirano beat 17-year-old and fellow Californian qualifier Ernesto Escobedo 6-1, 7-6 (4), while Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., 16-year-old wild card Taylor Fritz beat No. 7-seeded Dimitar Kutrovsky of Bulgaria, 6-3, 6-4.

In the last match of the day, wild card Ryan Sweeting fell to Roberto Marcora, the No. 4 seed from Italy, 6-1, 6-2. It marked the former Calabasas $50,000 Challenger finalists’ first tournament back since back surgery in September and the first as a married man. On Dec. 31, Sweeting married TV star and former ranked junior tennis player and fan Kaley Cuoco, who attended the match.

“Honestly, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” said Sweeting, 26. “I’ve actually only been playing sets for the past week and a half. The quality of players out here is actually really impressive. It’s not like I remember playing my last Futures tournament back in 2007. It was a tough first match back.”

He added: “I need to get a lot more work done. I need to work on my fitness and my footwork and my movement. You can’t just hit balls and then come out here and compete. So there’s going to be a lot more weeks to get my game going.”

The plan is to continue with his comeback, if his back holds up, but Sweeting is enjoying life as a newlywed with Kaley. “It’s going to be a lot tougher to leave my wife and go out on Tour if that’s what I decide to do,” he said.

Fritz said Higueras gave him some post-match pointers. “He told me what some guys at the next level are doing so I can get there,” Fritz said. “He gave me some good advice.”

Fritz qualified last week at the Bakersfield Futures event dropping just three games in three matches. He then beat former Michigan All-American Evan King in the first round before falling to another qualifier and his Calabasas doubles partner Altamirano. Fritz plays King today for a possible spot in the quarterfinals in the first match on Stadium Court at 10 a.m.

Fritz, ranked around No. 80 in the ITF junior rankings, said he will play three weeks of junior tournaments in Claremont, Carson and the ASICS Easter Bowl starting next Monday with the goal to increase his ranking and qualify into the French Open and junior Wimbledon. Fritz’s father Guy was an ATP doubles standout in the 1970s and his mother Kathy May Fritz is a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist.

Wednesday’s Main-Draw Singles Scores

WC: wild card; Q: qualifier
Collin Altamirano, U.S., def. Ernesto Escobedo, U.S. (q), 6-1, 7-6 (4)
Evan Song, U.S. (q), def. Mbonisi Ndimande, Zimbabwe (q), 6-1, 7-6 (3)
Gianni Mina, France, def. Andre Dome, U.S. (q), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Kyle McMorrow, U.S. (q), def. Michael Shabaz, U.S., walkover
Daniel Nguyen, U.S., def. Joshua Milton, Great Britain, 6-3, 6-1
Taylor Fritz, U.S. (wc), def. Dimitar Kutrovsky, Bulgaria (7), 6-3, 6-4
Ryan Agar, Australia, def. Dennis Novikov, U.S., (q), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Sekou Bangoura, U.S. (q), def. Tyler Hochwalt, U.S., 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3
Marcos Giron, U.S., def. Mico Santiago, U.S. (q), 6-2, 6-4
Roberto Marcora, Italy (4) def. Ryan Sweeting, U.S. (wc), 6-1, 6-2
Mitchell Krueger, U.S., def. Nicolas Meister, U.S. (2), 6-4, 7-6 (6)

Ryan Sweeting Gets Wildcard to Play 2014 USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas

(March 17, 2014) – Former US Open junior winner Ryan Sweeting has been receiving more attention for his off-court activities recently, but he hopes that all changes this week as the 2014 USTA Men’s Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas gets underway at the Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
Sweeting will make his return to the courts this week after being granted a wild card into the USTA $15,000 Pro Circuit Futures event by the tournament committee.
After three months of dating and on New Year’s Eve, 2013, the 26-year-old Sweeting married actress and former USTA-ranked junior Kaley Cuoco after an introduction by mutal friend Mike Bryan. Cuoco is the star of the comedy TV show “The Big Bang Theory.”
On Sunday, the LA Times reported that the couple had bought the Tarzana estate from Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian for $5.5 million. The Mediterranean-style villa sits on three-quarters of an acre in gated Mulholland Park.
The former world No. 2 junior is originally from the Bahamas and became a U.S. citizen in 2006. His highest ATP world ranked was No. 64 in 2011. He is familiar with the Calabasas courts having made it all the way to the final of the then $50,000-level Challenger in 2010 falling to Australia’s Marinko Matosevic.
Tournament director Jeff Richards announced that on Saturday evening before the singles semifinals, a Kaley Cuoco & Friends Exhibition will take place with celebrities and pro players taking part.
Joining Sweeting in the draw is last week’s Bakersfield Futures singles winner and No. 5-seeded Daniel Kosakowski formerly of UCLA. Ireland’s James McGee, ranked No. 222 in the ATP World Tour rankings, is the top seed.
Besides Sweeting, other wild cards went to 16-year-old Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe, Carl-Henrik Hansen of Sweden and UCLA senior Clay Thompson. One of the world’s top current junior players Stefan Kozlov, 16, of Florida was granted a junior exemption and will take on No. 8-seeded Darien King in the first round on Tuesday. Kozlov made it to the Australian Open Junior final back in January.
The top-seeded player in qualifying Sekou Bangoura won three rounds over the past three days to qualify into the main draw. Bangoura won the first USTA Pro Circuit tournament of 2014, the $10,000 Futures in Plantation, Fla. It marked the second of Bangoura’s career as he also won the $10,000 Futures in Niceville, Fla., in 2013.
Sweeting was also given a wild card in doubles and will team with Gary Sacks of Calabasas as the pair drew the top-seeded team of Bangoura and Evan King on Tuesday not before 4 p.m.
Monday’s Final Qualifying Scores
Sekou Bangoura, U.S. (1), def. Connor Smith (16), U.S., 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
Mbonisi Ndimande, Zimbabwe, def. Andres Zepeda, U.S., 2-6, 6-2, 6-3
Ernesto Escobedo, U.S. (5), def. Damon Gooch, South Africa (11), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1)
Miko Santiago, U.S. (9), def. Alexios Halebian, U.S. (6), 6-4, 7-5
Evan Song, U.S., (8) def. Andrei Marinescu, Romania, 6-2, 6-3
Kyle McMorrow, U.S. (7), def. Kaichi Uchida, Japan (10), 7-5, 6-1
Andre Dome, U.S., def. Ryan Agar, Australia (4), 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-6 (8)
Dennis Novikov, U.S. (2), def. Hans Hach (15), Mexico, walkover
Follow along on Twitter at http://twitter.com/calabasastennis. For more information check out the official website, calabasasprotennis.com.

USTA to Attempt to Set Record for ‘‘Largest Tennis Lesson” in Conjunction with World Tennis Day

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., February 25, 2014 – The United States Tennis Association (USTA)  announced that in conjunction with World Tennis Day on March 3rd, it will launch thousands of Tennis Play Events nationwide throughout the month of March. These events are designed to encourage families and children of all ages and skill levels to try tennis. To help garner excitement for the initiative and to inspire youth, the USTA will attempt to set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for the ‘‘Largest Tennis Lesson.” The event, which will be held on March 2nd, will feature more than 250 children from local youth organizations in the New York area participating in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempt at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.


The event coincides with the World Tennis Day celebration at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which will feature US Open and Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray facing former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, and a sibling doubles matchup between the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, and the McEnroe brothers, John and Patrick in the BNP Paribas Showdown. The USTA will hold a special presentation recognizing  the World’s Largest Tennis Lesson preceding the evening’s tennis matches at the Garden.


Joining the efforts to get kids excited about the sport is Judy Murray, mother of Andy Murray, who will participate in the special presentation and on-court youth tennis demonstration with local New York City kids.


“I am excited to be part of the USTA’s efforts to enrich the lives of young people,” said Judy Murray. “Tennis is a fun way for parents to play with their children and encourage them to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.”


Since 2009, the USTA has led the charge in using World Tennis Day to provide a platform for facilities to register children for spring and summer programming. To date, more than 6,500 youth tennis events have been held as part of that initiative. Youth Tennis is focused on ensuring a positive first experience for kids by offering play for all ages and levels. An early, positive experience in sports is vital and creates a lifelong commitment to an active lifestyle.


“World Tennis Day is a celebration of our sport and a great platform to bring attention to the importance of getting kids active and ensuring a positive first experience in the sport,” said Dave Haggerty, Chairman, CEO and President of the USTA. “These efforts are part of USTA’s long-standing commitment to increase access to the sport. If we reach children when they are young enough, they can learn to love physical activity and tennis for life.”


The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempt will take place March 2nd from 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. EST at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Participating youth organizations include the New York Junior Tennis and Learning and the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education programs, among others.


The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS presentation is scheduled to take place at 6:15 p.m. EST on March 3rd. The doubles match will be featured on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. followed by the singles match on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. The BNP Paribas Showdown is a production of StarGames and MSG Sports. Tickets are on sale now at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets.


To find a Tennis Play Event and information how families can get involved, visit youthtennis.com.


USTA Honors Mission Viejo with Brad Parks Award


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., February, 13, 2014 – The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced it will present the city of Mission Viejo, Calif., with its Brad Parks Award for the city’s outstanding contribution in helping grow tennis at the local level.  The city will be recognized during an awards banquet at the USTA Annual Meeting and Conference March 15-17 at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif.

The Brad Parks Award was established in 2002 to recognize outstanding contributions to the sport of wheelchair tennis. Named after San Clemente resident Brad Parks, a pioneer of wheelchair tennis and the first wheelchair tournament champion, the award is presented annually and honors an individual or organization that has been instrumental in the development of wheelchair tennis around the world through playing, coaching, sponsoring or promoting the game.

The city of Mission Viejo has long been involved in wheelchair tennis in some shape or form. What started out as a local tennis camp for young athletes in the area has grown into an international camp for the top junior wheelchair athletes in the world.  In November, 2013 Mission Viejo was the first U.S. city to host the Wheelchair Tennis Masters at the Marguerite Tennis Pavilion, attracting nearly 40 top players from around the globe.

“The City of Mission Viejo has been a strong supporter of wheelchair sports and of tennis in particular since the 1980’s,” said Steve Bell, City of Mission Viejo Recreation and Community Services. “We are truly honored to be recognized for this by receiving the Brad Parks Award.  What makes this the most special to us is that Brad has played—and continues to play—a huge role in our efforts.”

“Having worked for the Mission Viejo’s tennis teaching staff since 1996, it has been a wonderful adventure in the world of wheelchair tennis for all of us here,” said Jason Harnett, Head Tennis Pro City of Mission Viejo and USTA National Wheelchair Coach.   “We started with a successful local, once-a-week wheelchair tennis clinic and now host arguably the finest junior wheelchair tennis camp in the world. This past year, with the newly renovated Marguerite Tennis Pavilion giving us a beautiful new home for the camp, it also allowed us to secure the hosting duties to the most prestigious wheelchair only event in the world.  What a tremendous honor this journey has been for us”

“The City of Mission Viejo’s commitment as a host to numerous International wheelchair events has set a new standard of professionalism that is unrivaled in the sport of wheelchair tennis in the U.S.,” said Dan James, USTA Wheelchair Tennis National Manager.  “Mission Viejo truly has become a home to wheelchair tennis, and are very deserving of the Brad Parks Award.”

The USTA Annual Meeting and Conference brings together USTA leadership, national staff, national committee members and section volunteers and staff in pursuit of the USTA mission: To promote and develop the growth of tennis. Along with leadership and committee meetings, the USTA Annual Meeting provides education opportunities for all attendees to develop and enhance their personal and professional skills and learn new ways to promote the game of tennis.