2014/07/22

Roger Anderson, Anibal Aranda and Stephen Amritraj Join USTA Development Program as National Coaches

 

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., January 9, 2014 – The USTA announced the hiring of three full-time coaches to USTA Player Development – Roger Anderson and Anibal Aranda as National Coaches, Women’s Tennis and Stephen Amritraj as National Coach, Men’s Tennis.

 

All three coaches have begun their work with USTA Player Development. Both Anderson and Aranda will be based out of the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., working under Head of Women’s Tennis Ola Malmquist, while Amritraj will work out of the USTA Training Center – West, in Carson, Calif., reporting to Head of Men’s Tennis Jay Berger.

 

“Stephen, Roger and Anibal will each bring valuable experience and incredible passion to the team and will no doubt contribute to the success of American tennis this year,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe.

 

Amritraj 29, has coached Mardy Fish, Rajeev Ram, Prakash Amritraj and Eric Butorac on the ATP World Tour since 2009, working with Fish to maintain his Top 10 ranking in 2011-12. This past year, Amritraj was a volunteer assistant coach for the Duke University men’s team – where he played from 2002-06 – which was ranked as high as No. 4 in the country and reached the NCAA Elite Eight.

 

Anderson, 32, has coached on the WTA tour for the last eight years, working with professionals such as Martina Navratilova, Nadia Petrova, Liezel Huber, Patty Schnyder, Sania Mirza and, most recently, Chanelle Scheepers. Once a Davis Cup team member for his native South Africa, Anderson was a Top-400 touring pro and all-American at Georgia Tech.

 

Aranda, 30, was a part-time coach at the USTA Training Center – East in Flushing, N.Y., since September 2012 and had been a teaching pro at several clubs in the New York metro area since 2009. Aranda was the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s NAIA Senior Player of the Year in 2006 at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico and worked with former Top 100 pro Rosanna de los Rios at the US Open from 2008-10.

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Jamea Jackson to Join USTA Player Development Program as a National Coach for Women’s Tennis

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From the USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 24, 2013 –USTA Player Development announced today that Jamea Jackson has been hired as a USTA National Coach, Women’s Tennis. Jackson will work with players in the USTA Player Development program out of the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., under Head of Women’s Tennis Ola Malmqvist. Jackson is set to join the coaching staff on July 1.

 

“We’re thrilled to have Jamea join the USTA National Coaching staff,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe. “She has a tremendous level of experience, both as a player on the pro tour and as a college coach, and will be able to help our athletes succeed at every level of the game.”

 

Jackson, 26, was ranked as high as No. 45 in the world, at the age of 20, before a recurring hip injury forced her to retire before turning 23. She beat several players who would become world No. 1s, including Maria Sharapova and Jelena Jankovic. Jackson represented the U.S. in Fed Cup twice and won both of her singles matches in the United States’ 2006 World Group First Round victory over Germany, including a defeat of then-No. 14 Anna-Lena Groenefeld. She played in 11 Grand Slam main draws, and, as a junior, was ranked in the top 20 of the world junior rankings.

 

Jackson spent the last four years as an assistant women’s tennis coach at Oklahoma State, and was a coach of the USTA Collegiate Team, an elite training program for the nation’s best collegians, in 2010 and 2011. An Atlanta native, Jackson’s father, Ernie, was an NFL cornerback for the Saints, Falcons and Lions.

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Meet Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers, USTA Pro Circuit French Open Wild Card Challenge Winners

Shelby_Rogers_Semis_9-29Kuznetsov

The USTA held a conference call with Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers, the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge winners, who each earned a wild card into the 2013 French Open based on results over the past three weeks on the USTA Pro Circuit. Here is the official transcript of the call from the ASAPSports site:

UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE

May 6, 2013

Alex Kuznetsov

Shelby Rogers

AMANDA KORBA:  Thanks for joining us on the call today with Alex Kuznetsov and Shelby Rogers, the men’s and women’s winners of the Har‑Tru U.S. Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, winning a wild card into the 2013 French Open later this month.
The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2013 French Open and US Open are exchanged.  This is the second year the USTA has held the Wild Card Challenge using the U.S. Pro Circuit events to determine the recipients.
The winner of the Wild Card Challenge was determined by the player who accumulated the greatest number of ATP and WTA ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit events.  Alex earned 115 points in the challenge, winning the title in Sarasota, reaching the quarters in Savannah and Tallahassee.  Shelby earned 88 points winning the Charlottesville title and reaching the quarterfinals in Dothan.  She clinched the wild card this weekend.
Both Alex and Shelby will be making their French Open main draw debuts.  Alex reached the finals of the French Open juniors in 2004, losing to Monfils in the final.  Shelby’s last appearance in a Grand Slam was in 2010 when she won a wild card into the US Open by winning the USTA Girls 18 National Championships.
We’ll open it up for questions.

Q.  Alex, could you think back to 2004 when you were a finalist in the boys tournament at Roland Garros, give us an idea at that point where you felt your career was and maybe were you thinking back then that relatively soon you’d be in the main draw there at the French Open and what it means to you now to earn that chance to play in the main draw there.
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Obviously, yeah, back then it was a great time for me.  I was in the finals of the juniors.  I was playing some good tennis.  Going up against Gaël Monfils, I think he was ranked No.1 in the world at that time.  We were going to be playing on Court1.  I remember I was really excited.  Had my parents and grandparents over there with me, some coaches.
Yeah, obviously it was a great time for me.  But I knew it was a long road ahead of me.  I think I had a couple ATP points at the time.  I knew after that tournament I was going to be playing a lot of futures and challengers events.
But, honestly, to think I guess it’s been almost 10 years that this will be my first French Open main draw, I would have said I’d liked to have been in a couple before now, to be honest with you.

Q.  What does it mean to you to get that chance now?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  It means a lot.  It means all the hard work that I’ve put in is paying off.  I continue to keep working hard.  I know this is kind of the first step of many, I hope.  I look forward to continue playing some good tennis.  I look forward to getting over to Nice next week to start playing some tournaments over there, hopefully get some matches under my belt there.  Hopefully I continue playing well leading up to Roland Garros.

Q.  Alex, obviously we saw last year someone who had some major injuries, not exactly the same situation with you, the car accident.  I’m wondering if Brian Baker offered any inspiration for you in the last few months?  Obviously he was also a French Open junior finalist a long time ago, came back and made a big impact last year.
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Brian offered a lot of encouragement to me just to see kind of what he’s been through throughout his whole career.  I had that one major injury with the car accident, but he’s a guy who has had numerous major issues with his knees and his hip and his elbow.  This is a guy that pretty much stopped playing professional tennis, became a coach in college tennis.
To see him come back the way he did, get to the final of Nice last year, go to the French Open and win a round, then play Simon tight in five sets, that gave me a lot of inspiration to see Brian do that.
I’m good friends with Brian.  He’s come down to Saddlebrook to train in the off‑season.  To see how hard he works, how much he loves the game, it’s a great thing.  I wish him more success and I hope he recovers quickly, hopefully we can do some good things on the ATP Tour together.

Q.  At 26, do you feel like there’s still a lot of road ahead of you as a professional tennis player?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Definitely, definitely.  I feel, honestly, that I’m playing some of the best tennis of my life.  I feel strong.  I feel fit.  I’m really looking forward to the future.  I feel like I’m on the right path right now.  I feel I’m really focused on what I need to do.  I’m looking forward to continuing to work hard.  Hopefully I can continue some good success.

Q.  What is your coaching situation right now?  You said you’re training aft Saddlebrook primarily?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Primarily at Saddlebrook.  I work with a guy named René Moller.  He played on the tour.  He’s from NewZealand.  He also played at the University of Auburn.  Also I’m working with Craig O’Shannessy.  He’s been helping me out these last couple months not necessarily at tournaments but over the phone.  We’ve done some video.  He’s actually going to be in Paris with me this year.

Q.  Alex, looking back at your results this year, there wasn’t too much of a sign that the big breakthrough was going to come through for the three tournaments, particular in Sarasota.  How were you able to turn it around and what was your mindset going into this whole playoff system?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  My mindset, I wasn’t thinking about the wild card at all, to be honest with you.  I got the email from the USTA saying they were going to be doing this playoff for it with these three tournaments.  I didn’t think much of it.  I think I lost five or six matches first rounds coming into Sarasota.  I didn’t make the main draw.  I had to play qualifying.
To be honest with you, I was looking to go to Sarasota, get some confidence back.  With every match, I gained a little bit more, started playing some really good tennis midweek.  That continued even through the three weeks.  Even in Savannah, I lost to a good clay player in Hidalgo.  I was unfortunate to have a shoulder injury in Tallahassee.  I beat some good players along the way and am feeling really confident with my game right now.

Q.  Was there any particular win that you had maybe in Sarasota that you think really kind of spurred you on towards this run?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  You know, I played a lot of good players there.  I think with every match I just gained a little more confidence.  I beat Ben Becker, who is a top 100 player.  He’s been there for a while.  I beat a good friend of mine playing some good tennis this year, Tim Smyczek, in a tight three‑setter.  Then I beat Stevie Johnson, also a really good player who has been playing some good tennis this past year.
With every match, I just got more and more confident.  I think the final really showed how well I think I’m capable of playing.  I feel I still need to work really hard to attain that level with every match.
To beat Wayne Odesnik 6‑0, 6‑2, was something I definitely didn’t expect.  I was really happy with the result.  I’m really looking forward, as I’ve been saying, to the future and continuing to work hard.

Q.  You said you went into it without thinking about the wild card.  At what point did you realize that it was within your grasp?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Honestly, even after I won Sarasota, I didn’t think I was going to have the wild card.  I still knew that Wayne, he’s a great clay court player, all he really needed to do was win Savannah or Tallahassee.  I think he was capable of doing that.  Also with the fields that we had in those tournaments, there’s a number of guys that could have won two weeks back‑to‑back.
Even after Sarasota, I wasn’t thinking much about it, to be honest with you.

Q.  Shelby, can you talk a little bit about your run through the three tournaments, how you were able to get things together and pull this off.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah.  Going into Dothan, I was in a similar situation at Alex.  I lost six matches this year.  I hadn’t won a round since November of last year or something.  I was just trying to get some confidence back, get some matches, get some clay court tennis in.
I thankfully carried the moment over into Charlottesville.  I was playing solid tennis, I was confident with what I was doing.  Unfortunately I had to play one of my friends I think every round at that tournament, so that was a little bit tough, playing the Americans.
But, yeah, all the cards fell in my favor that week.  I came out with the title.
Then going into Indian Harbour, I lost second round there, but it was a tough situation at the end because I was just kind of waiting for people to lose because I was at the top of the points.  I was just hoping somebody wouldn’t take the title that week and pass me.
At the same time I wanted my friends to do well there.  So hopefully I’m never in that situation again.  But I got the wild card in the end and I’m really happy about it.

Q.  Historically how comfortable are you on clay?  Have you played on European red clay before?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I grew up on the green clay in the States.  I grew up in Charleston.  I was pretty much taught on the green clay.
I’ve only played two tournaments on red clay before.  I played one ITF junior event there which I won the singles and doubles, so that was a pretty special week in Costa Rica.  I played in Acapulco earlier this year and lost first‑round quallies there.
I feel pretty comfortable on the clay.  I’m confident in my game and my movement right now.  I’m just hoping for the best.  I’m ready for a good experience in France.

Q.  Have you been to Paris before?
SHELBY ROGERS:  No, I haven’t.  This will be my first time.

Q.  What’s the first thing you’re going to want to do?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I think I have to go to the Eiffel Tower, right?  A couple other sites, I guess.  Maybe see the city a little bit.  Hopefully stay on the red clay as long as I can.

Q.  Shelby, what do you contribute all the success you’ve had in the last three weeks or so?  Has there been a change in your game, coaching, anything like that other than just hard work?
SHELBY ROGERS:  No.  I honestly haven’t changed a thing.  I had a rough start to the year.  I had a lot of tough matches against good players.  I felt like I was right there in each one of them.
I guess just sticking with it, keep believing in yourself, not giving up is the hardest part.  When you’re in a slump, you can get a little frustrated, want to not work as hard, stop what you’ve been doing to get you where you’re at.
I just kept believing in the process and I knew it was going to come, but maybe not so soon, maybe not for a French Open wild card.  But you have to keep working hard every day and something good’s bound to happen.

Q.  Are you currently working with someone in particular with the USTA?
SHELBY ROGERS:  My main coach is Sylvan Guichard.  He’s a French guy that works here in Boca with the USTA.

Q.  One of the USTA coaches will be with you in Paris?
SHELBY ROGERS:  Unfortunately, Sylvan will not be able to go this year.  But I think two or three of the other USTA coaches will be over there.  They do a great job with the whole player development.  Everybody knows all the players’ games.  They can all help me out.  All the coaches are great so I’ll be in good hands.

Q.  You’ve done well in singles, but you’ve done almost as well in doubles.  What do you contribute that to and what do you think about doubles?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I think doubles is really fun.  Singles obviously is a little more important to me.  But when I go on court for doubles.  I have good partners, we have a lot of fun on court.  It’s a little more relaxed than singles.  It’s just a good time.  You get to work on your serve, you get to come in more, a little more variety in doubles.  It’s a little bit different game, but I love it.  It’s a good time.

Q.  What about your switch to training with the USTA from training at Family Circle in Charleston?  Was that a big boost for you?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I guess it’s been a couple years now since I made that decision.  It was probably one of the hardest decisions of my life, leaving my family and everyone at home, the coach I’d been with since I was seven.
But there just weren’t any players to train with in Charleston.  I had a good setup with coaching and fitness and stuff like that.  But moving to Boca, you have world‑class players every day to practice against, a nice gym, fitness trainers.  Everything is right at your fingertips.
I think it was a good move and something that I needed to do.  It definitely helped my game.  The results show that, I think.

Q.  When are you leaving for Paris?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I’m leaving Wednesday.  I’m playing a tournament before and then I’ll head over to Paris the following week.

Q.  Shelby, looking at your results the last couple years, you’re playing a lot of challengers, having some good results, cracked top 200.  I’m sure you see a lot of WTA main draw.  Do you feel in the next year or two you can get yourself to the point where you’ll be playing regular WTA events?
SHELBY ROGERS:  Absolutely, yeah, that’s definitely a goal of mine.  Going into this year, I want to be top 100 by the end of the year.  I think as a player, getting to the WTA is pretty important because you get more points in those tournaments, you can keep your ranking up a little bit easier.
Yeah, I mean, hopefully that happens as soon as possible.  But just got to take it one match at a time, one tournament at a time, hope for the best.

Q.  Game‑wise what do you feel you need to do to get to that level?
SHELBY ROGERS:  I think a big thing for me recently has been patience, not trying to do too much with my game.  I tend to pull the trigger a little bit too much.  Patience and strategy, just grinding away every point.

Q.  Alex, can you talk a little bit about what it will take for you to get the top 100 and then maybe top 50 or so?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  I think, first off, I need to stay healthy.  That’s number one.  But then after that, kind of like what Shelby said, being consistent, playing at a consistent level week in, week out.  Obviously, nowadays with the men’s game, fitness is a big part of it.  I need to get stronger.
For me I think mentally, like I said, I just need to stay in it mentally week in, week out.  The year, it’s a long one.  I think in previous years I’ve had a few good results, then after that I’ve kind of gone away for a month or two before I had another one.  I think the main thing for me is staying in it mentally week in and week out.

Q.  Alex, I know you spend a lot of time at Saddlebrook, traveling around.  Do you get much chance to go home to Pennsylvania?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Yeah, I try to get up there as much as I can.  My parents and grandparents are still up there.  My best friends are up there.  I try to get up there at least once every couple months, even though it’s hard.

Q.  When you were growing up, learning how to play, who were your influences in Pennsylvania?
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Mainly it was my dad.  My dad was kind of my main influence.  Also I worked with a guy by the name of Jason Katzer (phonetic).  He played at Ohio State.  He grew up in the area and was kind of my first tennis coach.

Q.  Could I have your thoughts on this particular process of deciding a wild card.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah, I think it’s a great way of picking a wild card recipient.  It shows a little bit more the player that can be consistent with results instead of just having one good weekend or one good week.  You really have to prove yourself over three weeks, which I think is a great process.
You have to be mentally tough.  You have to bring your game throughout the whole three weeks.  I mean, it’s the same players, but you just have to win the most matches.  Ultimately, yeah, I think it’s a better way.  I’m for it.  I like it.
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  Obviously I’m for it as well because I didn’t get to play for the one in Australia.  I think they chose the players they wanted in that one.  I think this is an opportunity for the player who is playing the best tennis at the time.  You’re also competing against players from different countries, so you’re not only competing against Americans.  Obviously there’s players from South America and from Europe who grew up playing on clay, so they have a lot of experience.  You deserve the wild card if you’re able to do that.

Q.  Shelby, you beat Nicole Gibbs at the 18‑and‑under championships to get your wild card into the US Open in 2010.  You didn’t go to college.  Can you talk about that decision and what the last two or three years have been like for you grinding it out on the Pro Tour.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah, I had a couple good pro tournaments and decided to officially turn pro and not go to college right out of high school.
I did the whole college visit.  I went on my official visits, went to a couple schools.  I actually probably would have gone to Clemson maybe.  I was pretty set on that.
But I really had to give myself a chance on the tour.  It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.  I can always go back to school, get my degree, take classes, but I can’t always play on tour.
We have a pretty short window of time, I’d say.  And I had to give myself a chance.  I think I would have regretted it a lot if I didn’t, especially seeing some of my friends going out and trying it, as well.
I think I would have always been wanting to play for (indiscernible) in college.  I’m happy with my decision every single day.  I don’t regret a thing.

Q.  Shelby, who do you get to train with and see on a regular basis down in Boca?
SHELBY ROGERS:  We have Madison Keys, Grace Min, Jamie Hampton, Taylor Townsend, Kim Crawford, Sachia Vickery.  I hope I don’t leave anyone out.  That would be bad.

Q.  Do you train alongside them or play against them in practice matches frequently?
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah, we’re always rotating.  We’re drilling together.  Playing matches together.  Fitness, as well.  It depends on who is in town.  We’re always traveling, playing tournaments.  Wherever we’re here, we help each other out.  All of us girls get along pretty good.  It’s a good environment, a good peer group for all of us to improve.

Q.  You said you’ve been at Boca for two years now.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yes.

Q.  Have you noticed in the last couple of years whether or not the tenor or intensity has changed?  A lot of recent success coming from players down there.
SHELBY ROGERS:  Yeah.  I mean, I think, you know, we’re constantly getting better as a team.  The USTA is making a lot of improvements down here.  Everybody’s working really hard.  We give 100% every day.  All the girls are putting themselves out there.
Like I said, we help each other every single day we’re here training.  We encourage each other, push each other, because we want to be the best we can be.
I think it’s really neat that we have a lot more girls training down here now.  Before there were just a few.  We were spread out all over the U.S.  It’s nice to be able to train with them and play matches because, like I said, in Charleston, I had nobody to hit with.  I had good coaches, resources, but nobody to play against.  So it’s really important to have a good group around you and people to play with.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about Har‑Tru, the surface.  As a player, would you be interested in more American tournaments on Har‑Tru?
SHELBY ROGERS:  Like I said, I grew up on the green clay, so I’m pretty comfortable with it.  I guess if I grew up on the West Coast, I’d be more of a hard court player.
I don’t know.  I mean, the women have one tournament on green clay in Charleston, which is where I’m from, so that’s nice to have that in my hometown.
I’d be all for having more tournaments on the Har‑Tru.  I think it’s a great surface.  Brings out different parts of your game.
I guess we have an advantage being on the East Coast.  I don’t know.  Everybody can travel around the country and have an equal opportunity to play on it.
ALEX KUZNETSOV:  I would be for it, but I also think being that our main Grand Slam is on hard court, there also needs to be obviously an equal amount of hard court tournaments.
Like Shelby, I also grew up playing on clay on the East Coast.  I played at a club in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, which had indoor red clay.  I hit on it a lot.
I don’t mind playing on clay, obviously.  I think it’s a good surface to start younger kids on.  I think they develop better on a clay court than they would a hard court.
But, yeah, I’d also be for it if they had a few more events.  But I’d like for them to keep some hard court tournaments, as well.
AMANDA KORBA:  Thanks today to Alex and Shelby for taking the time to talk with everybody.  Thanks for everybody on the call.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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Shelby Rogers Nabs USTA French Open Wild Card

Shelby Rogers by Craig Glover / Party Rock Open

Shelby Rogers by Craig Glover / Party Rock Open

(May 4, 2013) USTA Player Development announced that Shelby Rogers, 20, of Charleston, S.C., has earned a main draw wild card into the 2013 French Open by winning the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge. The USTA awarded one women’s singles main draw wild card into the French Open to an American player based on her results on the USTA Pro Circuit. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2013 French and US Opens are exchanged.

 

The winner of the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge was determined by the player who accumulated the greatest number of WTA ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 clay-court events: the Dothan Pro Classic in Dothan, Ala., the Boyd Tinsley Clay Court Classic in Charlottesville, Va., and the Audi Melbourne Pro Tennis Classic in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.

 

Rogers rose to the top of the standings by winning the Charlottesville title, reaching the quarterfinals in Dothan and the round of 16 in Indian Harbour Beach. Rogers clinched the wild card on Saturday when Alison Riske, the only player who could have overtaken Rogers, by winning the Indian Harbour Beach title, lost in the semifinals.

 

After her title in Charlottesville, Rogers, who trains at the USTA National Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., is currently ranked a career-high No. 190. Rogers claimed one additional singles title on the USTA Pro Circuit in 2012, beating US Open junior girls’ champion Samantha Crawford in the final of the $50,000 event in Yakima, Wash. Despite missing much of the spring and summer of 2011 due to injury, Rogers managed to reach the quarterfinals at three USTA Pro Circuit events that year. As a junior player, she won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship to earn a wild card into the main draw of the 2010 US Open for her only appearance in a Grand Slam main draw.

 

Alex Kuznetsov, 26, of Richboro, Pa., and Tampa, Fla., clinched the men’s Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge earlier this week. Kuznetsov, a former French Open boys’ finalist, collected the most ATP ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit clay-court challengers—a $100,000 event in Sarasota, Fla., and two $50,000 events in Savannah, Ga., and in Tallahassee, Fla.

Former US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker won last year’s USTA wild cards into the French Open.

 

WOMEN’S HAR-TRU USTA PRO CIRCUIT WILD CARD CHALLENGE STANDINGS – FINAL

*The women’s wild card is awarded from the best combined results in two of the three events below.

 

Player Name

$50K Dothan

$50K Charlottesville

$50K Ind. Harbour Beach

Total*

Shelby Rogers

18

70

10

88

Alison Riske

32

10

32

64

Allie Kiick

10

50

0

60

 

MEN’S HAR-TRU USTA PRO CIRCUIT WILD CARD CHALLENGE STANDINGS – FINAL

*The men’s wild card is awarded from the best combined results in two of the three events below.

Player Name

$100K Sarasota

$50K Savannah

 

$50K Tallahassee

Total
Alex Kuznetsov

100

15

15

115

Wayne Odesnik

60

15

7

75

Donald Young

0

29

15

44

 

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Former French Open Boys’ Finalist Alex Kuznetsov Claims USTA French Open Wild Card

Alex Kuznetsov

Alex Kuznetsov

(May 1, 2013) USTA Player Development announced that Alex Kuznetsov, 26, of Richboro, Pa., and Tampa, Fla., has earned a main draw wild card into the 2013 French Open by winning the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge. This year, the USTA awarded one men’s singles main draw wild card into the French Open to an American player based on his results on the USTA Pro Circuit. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2013 French and US Opens are exchanged.

 

The winner of the Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge was determined by the player who amassed the greatest number of ATP ranking points at two of three USTA Pro Circuit clay-court challengers—a $100,000 event in Sarasota, Fla., and two $50,000 events in Savannah, Ga., and in Tallahassee, Fla. Kuznetsov has earned at least 115 points in the Wild Card Challenge, winning the title in Sarasota to collect 100 points and earning 15 points by reaching the quarterfinals in Savannah. (Kuznetsov has also earned 15 points thus far in Tallahassee and could add to that number if he defeats fellow American Tim Smyczek in tomorrow’s quarterfinals.) Wayne Odesnik, who was in second place behind Kuznetsov in the Wild Card Challenge entering Tallahassee, lost today to Facundo Arguello, 6-3, 6-3, eliminating Kuznetsov’s lone remaining challenger from contention.

 

“It was hard not to think about the wild card this week,” said Kuznetsov, following his win today. “I’ve been focusing on my matches and just playing my tennis. I have never played the French Open main draw before, only in the qualifying. Anytime you play in a Grand Slam, it is a really special event, it is always a great experience playing three of five sets in front of tons of people. It will be a lot of fun.”

 

Kuznetsov was a qualifier in Sarasota and won seven consecutive matches to take the title. The Sarasota Challenger was Kuznetsov’s fourth career USTA Pro Circuit Challenger crown. With his win in Sarasota, Kuznetsov climbed back into the Top 200 and is currently ranked No. 176—his highest ranking since February 2012. Kuznetsov finished 2012 strong, reaching two USTA Pro Circuit finals at the $75,000 Charlottesville (Va.) Challenger and the $15,000 Futures in Mansfield, Texas. However, prior to competing in Sarasota last month, Kuznetsov had not won a match in five straight tournaments and fell to No. 267 in the world.

 

A native of Kiev, Ukraine, where his grandfather was a handball champion, Kuznetsov was a standout junior and the boys’ runner-up at the 2004 junior French Open, where he lost to Gael Monfils. Following a severe leg injury suffered in a 2005 car accident, Kuznetsov came back to play in his first US Open main draw in 2006. In 2007, he won his first Grand Slam match at the Australian Open, reached the round of 16 in doubles at the US Open and posted career-best rankings of No. 158 in singles and No. 78 in doubles. Kuznetsov qualified for the 2012 Australian Open for his first appearance in a Grand Slam main draw since 2007 and faced Rafael Nadal in the first round. Kuznetsov has played in French Open qualifying on four occasions.

 

Kuznetsov joins Brian Baker as the second consecutive French Open junior boys’ finalist to earn a USTA wild card into the French Open. Baker, who reached the boys’ final of the French Open in 2003, advanced to the second round at last year’s French Open after earning the USTA wild card and subsequently broke into the Top 100. He followed up his clay-court run on the USTA Pro Circuit by reaching his first ATP Tour final at the French Open tune-up event in Nice, France, as a qualifier, and advancing to the fourth round of Wimbledon and the second round of the US Open.

 

Shelby Rogers is currently atop the standings for the French Open women’s wild card after winning the $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend and is currently ranked a career-high No. 190 after her win in Charlottesville. Rogers claimed one additional singles title on the USTA Pro Circuit in 2012, beating US Open junior girls’ champion Samantha Crawford in the final of the $50,000 event in Yakima, Wash. Despite missing much of the spring and summer of 2011 due to injury, Rogers managed to reach the quarterfinals at three USTA Pro Circuit events that year. As a junior player, she won the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships to earn a wild card into the main draw of the 2010 US Open for her only appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. Rogers trains at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. Former US Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin won last year’s USTA wild card into the French Open.

 

 

MEN’S HAR-TRU USTA PRO CIRCUIT WILD CARD CHALLENGE STANDINGS – FINAL

*The men’s wild card is awarded from the best combined results in two of the three events below.

Player Name

$100K Sarasota

$50K Savannah

 

$50K Tallahassee

Total
Alex Kuznetsov

100

15

15^

115

Wayne Odesnik

60

15

7

75

Donald Young**

0

29

15^

36

 

^Advanced to quarterfinals in Tallahassee and will receive at least 15 points.

**Unable to surpass Kuznetsov

 

WOMEN’S HAR-TRU USTA PRO CIRCUIT WILD CARD CHALLENGE STANDINGS – THRU TWO EVENTS

*The women’s wild card will be awarded from the best combined results in two of the three events below.

 

Player Name

$50K Dothan

$50K Charlottesville

$50K Ind. Harbour Beach

Total*

Shelby Rogers

18

70

Held this week

88

Allie Kiick

10

50

60

Madison Brengle

10

32

44

Irina Falconi

32

10

44

Alison Riske

32

10

44

 

 

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Five Programs Named as USTA Certified Regional Training Centers

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From the USTA: (February 7, 2013) WHITE PLAINS  – USTA Player Development announced that five junior development programs in five states have started new, three-year agreements to serve as USTA Certified Regional Training Centers (RTCs), partnering with USTA Player Development in its mission to cultivate the next generation of world-class American players. The programs will train junior players in four USTA sections across the country.

 

Eagle Fustar Tennis Academy in Santa Clara, Calif. (USTA Northern California), Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas, Nev. (USTA Intermountain), and T Bar M Racquet Club in Dallas, Texas, (USTA Texas) each are renewing their partnerships as USTA Certified Regional Training Centers, while Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook, Ill. (USTA Midwest) and The Smiths, LLC., in Indianapolis, Ind. (USTA Midwest), are joining the USTA Certified Regional Training Center network, setting the total number of USTA Certified Regional Training Centers across America to 17.

 

As USTA Certified RTCs, the programs will enhance the training and development of junior players in their respective areas of the country. USTA Player Development will use these partnerships as vehicles to educate and collaborate with junior tennis coaches in these four USTA sections to work together toward developing the next generation of world-class Americans.

 

“As we continue to see positive results out of players who train at USTA Certified Regional Training Centers, we are excited to be working collaboratively with these programs and their coaches to develop future American tennis stars,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe.

 

In addition to continuing their existing programs, the USTA Certified RTCs will host USTA Player Development camps for players ages 8-13 in their respective regions. These players will be selected in conjunction with the USTA National coaching staff and their respective USTA Section Player Development Manager and Coaching Commission. The Centers will also run 10 and Under Tennis programs and host 10 and Under Tennis tournaments.

 

The camps will be staffed by coaches at the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers and sectional coaches from throughout their respective USTA sections with additional assistance from the USTA National coaching staff. USTA Certified Regional Training Center coaches will also participate in the USTA Coaching Education program by working with the top coaches in their respective region and/or USTA section. Additionally, the RTC coaches will attend training sessions at USTA National Training Centers in Boca Raton, Fla., Carson, Calif., and Flushing, N.Y.

 

The USTA Certified Regional Training Centers expand the USTA Player Development program’s reach throughout the country by partnering with academies, clubs, tennis centers and coaches that have a proven record of identifying and developing tennis players. Since December 2008, the USTA has named USTA Certified Regional Training Centers in 13 of the 15 USTA Sections in the continental U.S., and hosted USTA Certified Regional Training Center Camps in all 17 USTA Sections including USTA Hawaii and USTA Caribbean in 2012.

 

The mission of USTA Player Development is to develop world-class American players through a clearly defined training structure and competitive pathway as well as through the implementation of a comprehensive coaching philosophy and structure. The Player Development program is based at the USTA National Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., and also utilizes the USTA Training Center-West in Carson, Calif., the USTA Training Center-East at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., as well as the network of Regional Training Centers throughout the country. USTA Player Development encompasses several areas of oversight including coaching education, player identification and development, sport science, strength and conditioning and player services.

 

Eagle Fustar Tennis Academy is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and has been a USTA Certified Regional Training Center since 2010. Founded in 2003 by former professionals Brian Eagle and Nick Fustar, the Academy trains more than 200 juniors and pros in Northern California, bringing personal, highly individualized training to each player. The Eagle Fustar Tennis Academy utilizes facilities at nearby colleges and universities.

 

The Amanda & Stacy Darling Tennis Center is the largest public outdoor tennis center in the state of Nevada, with 23 lighted hard courts as part of the 110-acre Kellogg-Zaher Sports Complex in Las Vegas. Opened in 2005, the Darling Tennis Center was named a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in 2010, has been a stop on the ATP World Tour and currently hosts an annual USTA Pro Circuit women’s event. Henner Nehles directs the DTC’s USTA Certified Regional Training Center program.

 

T Bar M Racquet Club in Dallas has been a USTA Certified Regional Training Center since 2009, consisting of 14 outdoor hard courts, eight clay courts and eight indoor courts. The T Bar M program trains juniors in technical, tactical, physical, mental and emotional areas. They also host The Challenger of Dallas, a Men’s USTA Pro Circuit Event. The T Bar M program is directed by coach Doug Kruger and includes coaches Greg Alexander, Matt Cook and Joey Rive.

 

The Smiths, LLC., is the training program directed by the father-son team of Jeff and Bryan Smith, based in Indianapolis. The Smiths previously ran a USTA Certified Regional Training Center out of the Indianapolis Tennis Center, the former home of the ATP World Tour Indianapolis Tennis Championships. Jeff and Bryan have produced players that have won singles titles on the ATP World Tour, at the USTA National Championships and at the Junior Orange Bowl. Bryan continues to coach current ATP Top 150 player Rajeev Ram.

 

Five Seasons Sports Club is entering a new partnership with USTA Player Development, operating out of its suburban Chicago club, which includes outdoor hard and clay courts and indoor hard courts. Five Seasons offers a three-level junior progression through competitive tournaments, or through recreation and high school play. Christine Sheldon is Five Seasons’ director of racquet sports, while Casey Clagett is its junior development director, and Jacek Dabrowski is a lead coach.

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USTA Player Development Announces Expansion of Training Program at National Training Center-East

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From the USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., January 30, 2013 – The USTA today announced that USTA Player Development is expanding its training program at the National Training Center-East at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., hiring Erik Kortland as National Coach, Junior Development, to coach players in a new “Feeder Program” for boys and girls ages 9 through 13.

 

“This is an exciting step for USTA Player Development,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. “Having an open pipeline to our training program at the home of the US Open gives us the opportunity to work with more talented kids at a young age in our mission to develop world-class American players.”

 

The Feeder Program is a year-round, merit-based training program designed to groom young students who aspire to become professional tennis players with the intention of having those players eventually progress into full-time training with USTA Player Development. The Feeder Program will hold the first of its two yearly open tryouts beginning at 10 a.m. on Sat., Feb. 2, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

 

Kortland, 33, joins USTA Player Development after six years of coaching Southern California’s top juniors as the head of player development at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Previously, Kortland was a nationally ranked junior, played NCAA Division I tennis at Loyola Marymount and California State, Sacramento, and played professionally in Germany and Poland.

 

The National Training Center-East is one of three national training centers operated by USTA Player Development in its mission to develop world-class American players. Among the Top 100 professionals training at the National Training Center-East are Varvara Lepchenko and Melanie Oudin, while Christina McHale previously trained there.

 

Sloane Stephens, the 19-year old who defeated Serena Williams to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open, trains at the National Training Center-West in Carson, Calif., while Madison Keys, who reached the third round of the Australian Open, and Taylor Townsend, the world’s No. 1 ranked junior girl, are among the players training at the National Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.

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2012 US Open wild card to be decided by results in USTA Pro Circuit events

From the USTA: USTA Player Development announced on Thursday that it will award wild cards into the 2012 US Open to the American woman and the American man who earn the most ranking points at select USTA Pro Circuit events this summer. The USTA first used this format for its 2012 French Open wild cards, won by Melanie Oudin and Brian Baker, rather than a traditional wild card playoff tournament. By using USTA Pro Circuit results, players competed in more matches to develop their games and were also given the opportunity to earn valuable ranking points, whereas the previous playoffs were invitational single-elimination tournaments that did not offer ranking points.  This format also allowed all Americans a chance of earning the wild card, rather than a limited field/draw.

 

After earning the French Open wild cards, Baker and Oudin both are on the cusp of breaking into the Top 100. Baker subsequently reached his first ATP Tour final at the French Open tune-up event in Nice, France, as a qualifier, and advanced to the second round of the French Open and the fourth round of Wimbledon. Oudin reached the second round of the French Open and then won her first WTA title at the Wimbledon warm-up in Birmingham, England.

 

The USTA will award one US Open women’s singles main draw wild card to the American woman who earns the most WTA Tour Ranking points at two of the following three USTA Pro Circuit events:

 

  • $50,000 Yakima, Wash. (week of July 9)
  • $50,000 Lexington, Ky. (week of July 23)
  • $100,000 Vancouver, BC (week of July 30)

 

The USTA will award one US Open men’s singles main draw wild card to the American man who earns the most ATP Tour Ranking points at two of the following four USTA Pro Circuit events:

 

  • $50,000 Binghamton, N.Y. (week of July 16)
  • $50,000 Lexington, Ky. (week of July 23)
  • $100,000 Vancouver, BC (week of July 30)
  • $100,000 Aptos, Calif. (week of August 6)

 

Baker, 27, of Nashville, Tenn., earned the USTA’s main draw wild card into the 2012 French Open by being the American to earn the most ranking points at two USTA Pro Circuit clay-court challengers—a $100,000 event in Sarasota, Fla., and a $50,000 event in Savannah, Ga. After earning the wild card, Baker qualified for the French Open tune-up event in Nice, France, and subsequently reached his first ATP World Tour final.  In the French Open, Baker won his first round match over world No. 77 Xavier Malisse and pushed No. 12 seed Gilles Simon to five sets in the second round. He also reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in his best career result and will crack the Top 100 for the first time in his career in next week’s rankings. Just a year ago, Baker, ranked No. 752 in the world, started his comeback by competing in the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit Futures in Pittsburgh, Pa., which is taking place this week, and won the title. Baker underwent five surgeries for a series of ailments from 2005 to 2008, including Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in February 2008. He was the French Open boys’ singles runner-up in 2003 and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the ITF World Junior Rankings.

 

2009 US Open quarterfinalist Oudin, 20, of Marietta, Ga., earned the main draw wild card into the 2012 French Open based on her results at two of three USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 events, including a title at the event in Charlottesville, Va. At the French Open, she reached the second round. Following the French Open, Oudin won her first career WTA title at the Wimbledon tune-up event in Birmingham, England, where she won eight matches as a qualifier and upset No. 5 seed Jelena Jankovic in the final. Subsequently, Wimbledon decided to award her a wild card. Oudin trains full-time at the USTA Training Center-East at the home of the US Open in Flushing, N.Y.

 

The 2012 US Open main draw will be held Monday, August 27, through Sunday, September 9.

 

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Melanie Oudin Claims USTA French Open Wild Card

From the USTA: USTA Player Development announced that Melanie Oudin has earned a main draw wild card into the 2012 French Open. This year, the USTA awarded one women’s singles main draw wild card into the French Open to the American who earned the most WTA Tour Ranking points at two of three $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events—Dothan, Ala.; Charlottesville, Va.; and Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. Oudin earned a combined 80 points with her best two results, winning the title in Charlottesville and reaching the second round in both Dothan and Indian Harbour Beach. The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2012 French and US Opens are exchanged.

 

Oudin, who has been working with USTA coaches since October and training at the USTA Training Center-East at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center since February, secured the wild card on Sunday when Grace Min defeated former USC standout Maria Sanchez in the Indian Harbour Beach final. Min, the 2011 US Open girls’ singles champion, was Oudin’s doubles partner last week.

 

Oudin entered Charlottesville ranked No. 370 in the world — her lowest ranking since February 2008 — and has now climbed to No. 270 after her results from the past three USTA Pro Circuit events.

 

Oudin, 20, of Atlanta, burst onto the tennis scene in 2009, beating three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova en route to the US Open quarterfinals and defeating former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.

 

Oudin also claimed the mixed doubles title at the 2011 US Open with countryman Jack Sock. The two upset the defending champions Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber in the second round to become the first teenage pair in the Open Era to win the US Open mixed doubles. She peaked at No. 32 in the world in singles in April 2010 and has been a consistent force on the U.S. Fed Cup team.

 

This was the first time that the USTA awarded a wild card into a grand slam event based on results from the USTA Pro Circuit, rather than a traditional wild card playoff tournament. With this format, players competed in more matches to develop their games on clay and were also given the opportunity to earn valuable ranking points, whereas the previous playoffs did not offer points.  This format also allowed all Americans a chance of earning the wild card, rather than a limited field/draw.

 

Brian Baker earned the men’s USTA French Open Wild Card last week.

 

 

WOMEN’S USTA FRENCH OPEN WILD CARD STANDINGS – FINAL

 

Player Name

Dothan $50K

Charlottesville $50K

Ind. Harbour Beach $50K

Best Two Results

1. Melanie Oudin

10

70

10

80

2. Maria Sanchez

1

18

50

68

T3. Julia Cohen

32

32

1

64

T3. Lauren Davis

32

10

32

64

 

*The women’s wild card was awarded from the best combined results in two of the three events above.

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Kourtin’ Karen’s Tennis Week in Review

Kourtin’ Karen’s tennis week in review for the week ending February 19, 2012

Roger Federer, Richard Krajicek and Juan Martin Del Potro

0- 15

Politics makes strange bedfellows

Rotterdam Tournament Director and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek was a candidate for the top executive spot at the ATP. Although Rafael Nadal  supported the Dutchman’s candidacy for the ATP CEO post, Roger Federer was against it citing that he needed more business experience.

Imagine what Krajicek must have been thinking when he had give Federer the winner’s check for capturing the Rotterdam title.

In other Federer-related news, much ado about nothing? Last weekend many media outlets in addition to journalists on and off twitter reported statements made by Federer about Stan Wawrinka during Davis Cup after the Swiss lost the doubles and the tie to the US. I saw so many different versions of the quote translated in so many different ways and “quoted” in so many different ways that you can’t believe anyone.  The quote in question – “I played a good doubles, and Stan not a bad one.” But once the quote was translated into English “not a bad one” erroneously became “a bad one.”

People get quoted and misquoted so often and not just in tennis that I think it needs to become mandatory for every news conference to have official transcripts for all to see and/or official recordings for people to hear.

 

15-15

Sharapova and Linsanity

“Linsanity” found its way into Friday’s BNP Paribas Showdown conference call with Maria Sharapova thanks to a question from a New York Post reporter:

Q:  I know you’ve been in town for a while at fashion week – have you heard of “Linsanity?” If you have heard of it, what do you make of this phenomenon?

Maria Sharapova:  I was at fashion week for a couple of days and he didn’t quite make it to the fashion world yet.  I didn’t get a chance, I was so busy over there with meetings and the shows.  I did see the coverage of your paper a few times walking by and you guys are all on top of that.  It’s pretty incredible and I’m sure he’s enjoying all of that.  To see a great athlete up and coming, especially in New York and Madison Square Garden, I’m sure it’s a lot to write about.

In other BNP Paribas Showdown news, John McEnroe has been named spokesperson for “Tennis Night In America,” no word if he’ll change his name to Lin for the occasion.

15-30

Love your slamless no. 1’s

Victoria Azarenka told media in Doha last week not to be too hard on slamless No. 1’s. “Well, you know, I think you guys, it’s your job to say that, to evaluate, to give grades. Our job is to play and win matches. Whatever people say, I mean, I appreciate if I’m a legit No. 1, but I think they shouldn’t be too hard on the other girls, as well.”

No word on any comments coming from Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic or Dinara Safina.

Speaking of slamless No. 1′s, Wozniacki has the “tough loss of the week” falling in the second round of Doha after having three match points.

 

30-30

Nadal in the SI Swimsuit Issue

Rafael Nadal appears in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue with model Bar Refaeli

 

30-40

Ankles and knees causing players grief

Kim Clijsters has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open with an ankle injury which she suffered during the Australian Open.

Serena Williams is not playing in Monterrey this week due to an ankle injury.

Both Gael Monfils and Marin Cilic are out of Memphis with knee problems.

Deuce

Debate on USTA Player Development

Wayne Bryan’s letter about USTA player development

Wayne Bryan Responds to Patrick McEnroe’s letter

 

Ad-out

Grunting

Chris Evert has joined the “anti grunting” campaign.

Current player Ryan Harrison told media at the SAP Open some kids at the Nick Bollettieri Academy are “a lot more [noisy] than they need to be. If you have a 7-year-old girl grunting louder than I can scream in my entire life, that’s not really necessary.”

 

Deuce

Love and Tennis on the Titanic

Titanic: The Tennis Love Story to be released in April.

 

Advantage new sponsor

Emirates Airline is the new title sponsor of the US Open Series

 

Deuce

Show me the money?

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario’s parents have decided to sue their daughter who has written a book in which she claims that her parents lost her $60 million dollars of her career earnings. “They left me with nothing and I owe the tax authorities,” said Sánchez Vicario.

Deuce

Inside Tennis Channel’s fight with Comcast – Variety

 

Advantage

Topsy Turvy Tournament
In Bogota this past week the top eight seeds were all knocked out by the second round. No seeds were left by the quarterfinals. Unseeded Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino of Spain won the tournament.

Game, Set, Match and Champions

Federer Wins Rotterdam for 71st ATP World Tour Title

Azarenka Wins Doha, Moves to 17-0 for 2012

Raonic Defends San Jose Title

Third Brazil Open Title for Almagro

Arruabarrena-Vecino Ranked 174th Captures Bogota Tournament

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