September 28, 2016

USTA and ADIDAS Announce Partnership To Support US Tennis On Multiple Levels

 

ustaadidas

From the USTA: Overarching Multi-Year Agreement Makes adidas the Official Partner

of USTA Player Development and Sponsor of the newly named

USTA adidas National Junior Championship Series

 

Partnership includes a Prominent Presence at the USTA National Campus,

the Home of American Tennis

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., September 1, 2016 – The USTA and adidas today announced a multi-year agreement which will impact the future of American tennis through a number of key initiatives and programs. As part of this newly forged, expansive partnership, adidas will become an official sponsor of the USTA National Campus, USTA Player Development, and USTA League Tennis.  In addition, it will become the exclusive presenting sponsor of the USTA National Junior Rankings and newly named “USTA adidas Junior Championship Series,” comprised of five, L1 individual 16 & Under and 18 & Under junior tournaments that feature some of the top junior tennis players in the country.

 

adidas will have a strong presence throughout the USTA National Campus, the home of American tennis in Orlando, Fla. They will receive naming rights to, and have an extensive branding presence throughout, the “adidas Performance Center” which will serve as home to the USTA’s Player Development (USTA PD) division, which is tasked with developing the next generation of American champions.  adidas will also become the official outfitter and apparel partner for USTA PD, outfitting the coaching staff in adidas gear. They will also have a strong retail presence within the pro-shop of the USTA National Campus.

 

“We are very excited about partnering with the USTA,” said David Malinowski, Senior Director adidas Tennis US. “The USTA’s commitment to the player development program aligns with our mission as a brand and we are focused on helping make the next generation of athletes better from the grassroots level on up.”

 

adidas Tennis is dedicated to supporting grassroots programs, and this partnership allows the brand to be even more connected to some of the best young tennis players in the United States. As presenting sponsor of the adidas Easter Bowl tournament and the “USTA adidas Junior Championship Series,” adidas will be supporting some of the most prestigious junior tournaments throughout the U.S. The Series will consist of the following 16 & Under and 18 & Under national junior events:

  • adidas Easter Bowl
  • Boys’ National Hard Court Championships (Kalamazoo)
  • Girls’ National Hard Court Championships (San Diego)
  • Boys’ National Clay Court Championships
  • Girls’ National Clay Court Championships
  • Boys’ National Winter Championships
  • Girls’ National Winter Championships
  • Boys’ Indoor Nationals
  • Girls’ Indoor Nationals

“It’s incredibly exciting to have adidas coming on board to support ‘Team USA’ at both the USTA National Campus and at our top national junior competitions every year,” said USTA Player Development General Manager Martin Blackman. “The success of our sport depends on the success of the international tennis industry as a whole. We are fortunate that our game is supported by world class brands that produce tennis racquets, tennis balls, apparel and footwear. We are committed to working collaboratively with the entire industry to make sure that tennis players of every level and age have access to the equipment and sportswear that they want and need, to be able to enjoy the game. Our partnership with a global leader like adidas will enable our Player Development Team to reflect the look and professionalism that exemplifies Team USA. The partnership supports our Mission; to maximize the potential of every American player to ensure a successful future for American tennis.”

 

The partnership will also impact many of America’s most passionate adult players, as competitors in the USTA League program, the country’s largest recreational tennis league with more than 800,000 participants nationwide, will have the opportunity to take advantage of a new team uniform program beginning in 2017.

 

Beginning in 2016, adidas will have a dedicated retail location at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The store will carry the latest adidas Tennis apparel and will be open exclusively during the US Open tournament.

 

“This close partnership will prove tremendously beneficial for both the USTA and adidas,” said USTA Chief Revenue Officer Lew Sherr. “The USTA will have one of the leading brands in performance apparel supporting American tennis, and adidas will gain an increased foothold in both the high-performance and recreational tennis communities, while at the same time investing in the vitality of the future of the game in America.”

 

More to follow….

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Raonic Falls to Qualifier, Muguruza and Kuznetsova Also Lose at US Open

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

(August 31, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Wimbledon finalist and US Open fifth seed Milos Raonic along with French Open winner and third seed Garbine Muguruza became the biggest upset victims so far at the US Open on Wednesday. Ninth seed and 2004 US Open title holder Svetlana Kuznetsova also lost.

Top seed Novak Djokovic advanced to the third round when his opponent Jiri Vesely withdrew from the tournament with a left forearm injury.

Cramps caused Canadian Raonic a 6-7 (4), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 second round loss to American qualifier Ryan Harrison ranked 120th in the world. Raonic said the cramping began halfway through the second set.

“I don’t think hydration was an issue,” Raonic said. “I think I always take that precaution. Probably just nerves and stress, a mental sort of overexuberance rather than — probably more than it should.”

“I think I didn’t start off well in the match,” explained the Canadian. “I started off feeling a little bit heavy, which has happened to me before. You sort of get through the first set. You pull that one out and you sort of start to relax a little bit. I didn’t do that today. I just sort of compounded the stress. I kept trying to force the shots. I was hesitating mentally on the shots. I just felt a little bit a step slow.”

“I was my own worst enemy today. I tried the best I could to find my way out of it. My body didn’t let me.”

“The sort of expectation of pressure on myself to get out of that situation like I normally would in a situation like that, like happened to me in the beginning of Wimbledon, I didn’t do that.

“Then all that kind of forceful play caught up to me there in the end.”

Raonis hit 15 double faults in the match.

Raonic did credit his opponent: “He played well. He did a lot of things well. I think he stepped up and he played a solid match. There was a few breakpoints. I can’t remember if it was in the second or third. Hit three aces down the T; won three out of four of them.

“At the beginning of the second, a breakpoint. I hit a good forehand cross. He went for it down the line and made it. A reaction volley, made it as well. He stepped up and got through those important moments.

“I didn’t create this pressure for myself or this kind of stress on myself. He did that.”

Ryan Harrison

Ryan Harrison

“The cool and exciting thing was that I had a great win today, and there was no point where I felt like I was red lining or playing a level that wasn’t consistent,” Harrison said. “Kind of like going back to the first question I answered, when I broke early in the first set, I got broken back, there was no panic because I didn’t feel I was playing above my level to get up the break.

“That’s when I was just focused on staying the course. Lose a tight first set. Obviously a lot of people are going, you know, long, tight first set. The first couple games of the second are really important. I saved like four or five breakpoints in that first game of the second set. That was a huge hump, because you don’t want to be down a set and a break to that guy because he can just take the racquet out of your hand at times.

“That was another pivotal moment. I’m sure looking back there were plenty of times where it could have gotten away from me. I’m excited that emotionally and from an execution standpoint I was able to put enough in play and be aggressive enough to take the win.”

 

No. 3 Garbine Muguruza of Spain hit 38 unforced errors in losing 7-5, 6-4 in the first night match to Anastasija Sevastova from Latvia. Sevastova who retired and came back to tennis last after two years dealing with injuries, said she returned to play the majors.

“It still hasn’t settled in,” Noted the Latvian in regard to the upset win. “It feels great, but it’s still not like I won the tournament. It’s only second round.”

“We can enjoy it today, but tomorrow is a new day. There are other matches. Nobody thinks about the previous match. You have to think forward. Tonight I can enjoy.”

Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki

In another major surprise of the day, ninth seed and former US Open champion Kuznetsova jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but her opponent two-time US Open Finalist Caroline Wozniacki won 12 out of the next 15 games to seal the win 6-4, 6-4. Wozniaki, now ranked at 74th in the world is unseeded in Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2007.

 

“I always believe in myself and I always think that in my head I belong to the top of the game,” she said. “You know, I’m going to have tough draws because of my ranking but in the end of the day I’m healthy, and that’s the main thing. Then I can start building from that.”

 

“I love playing here at the Open,” the Dane continued. “I have great memories here. I have had matches against Sveta so many times before here where she’s been killing literally on court 6-1, 4-1, and then I have managed to come back and win the match in three sets.

“It’s like, you know what? Just keep going, wait for your opportunity and your chance, and I did that today.”

 

Other seeds advancing to the third round included Australian Open champion and second seed Angelique Kerber, last year’s women’s finalist 7th seed Roberta Vinci, Madison Keys the eighth seed, the 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova, Johanna Konta No. 13, 14th seed Petra Kvitova, No. 22 Elina Svitolina and No. 24 Belinda Bencic. Moving to the third round on the men’s side –  two-time US Open winner and fourth seed Rafael Nadal, 2014 US Open winner Marin Cilic, No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 10 seed Gael Monfils, No. 15 Roberto Bautista Agut, 20th seed John Isner, No. 23 Kevin Anderson, No. 24 Lucas Pouille, and No. 26th seed Jack Sock.

 

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Serena Williams Soars Past Makarova, Sister Venus Advances in Three Sets at US Open

(August 30, 2016) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Whatever doubts people had about Serena Williams and a shoulder injury were put to rest on Tuesday night at the US Open.

Serena and Venus Williams moved into the second round of the US Open on Tuesday. No. 1 Serena looking for her 23rd major opened the night session with a dominating 6-3, 6-3 performance against No. 36 Ekaterina Makarova hitting 27 winning with 12 aces. It was Serena’s 85 match win at the US Open.

“I knew today I needed to be focused because I’ve played her,” Serena said. “She’s gotten to the semifinals. She goes deep in majors. She knows how to play big matches on big courts. She’s not intimidated. I knew I had to really come out today. It was my only option really.”

“I was pleased with my serve because I haven’t been hitting a lot of serves at all. In practice, none of them were going in, so I was definitely excited about that.”

Sister Venus, seeded sixth had to survive a three-set match against Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine, who is ranked 93rd 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. For the 36-year-old Venus she is now 18-0 in US Open first round matches, making a record 72 appearance at a major.

 

“The first round is never easy,” Venus said. “You’re trying to find a rhythm, get used to the court, you know, play an opponent I never played before.

“But it was great to be challenged and to be pushed because I had to get in those situations that you know you’re going to face in the tournament early on. So that felt good to come through.”

 

“I didn’t know much about her game at all, literally zero,” she continued. “And it’s hard. The first round is hard. I haven’t played a single match in, like, three weeks. Just getting out there and trying to play perfectly.

“I definitely had a lot more errors than I wanted. If I could cut those in half, it’s definitely a different story.

“The good part is I’m playing the game I want to play, I’m playing aggressively and moving forward. It’s just about making a few less errors and it’s a completely different story.”

 

Former world No. 1 and 29th seed Ana Ivanovic has lost in the first round for the second straight year, this time to Denisa Allertova 7-6(4), 6-1.

The recently married 2008 French Open winner was asked about possible retirement. “No, not at all,” she said. “I just need to really see why is this happening, you know. Because, I mean, I had struggles throughout my career; I had some tough times. This is not the first time I’m going through this.

“It just hurts because I know what I invested.”

 

Fifth seed Simona Halep had points for a 6-0, 6-0 win, but was broken and won 6-0, 6-2 over Kirsten Flipkens.

 

In the biggest upset on the men’s side, 12 seeded David Goffin lost to American teenage qualifier Jared Donaldson 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-0. The 19-year-old is ranked 122 in the world.

Donaldson talked about getting his first US open win:”Obviously it was a really, really exciting atmosphere out there. I thought that I played really well. It was tough conditions. It was hot. I think we were both trying to move each other as much as possible and take time away from each other.

“So I think that, you know, I just was able to win a few more of the key points today. Obviously that fourth set I played really well.

“I think it was a really, really special victory for me.”

Fellow American Sam Querrey, who stunned Novak Djokovic in the third round of Wimbledon lost to Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (4), 6-7 (0), 6-3, 6-3.

 

In his first US Open since 2013, Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion beat fellow Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (3). Del Potro who is ranked142nd was a wild card recipient. Del Potro won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics earlier this month, when he lost to Andy Murray in the final.

“I am so glad to be part of this tournament once again after three years,” said the former champion. “I really appreciate the wild card who give me to have the chance to play, and that’s important for me.

“Always, in every match here at the US Open, the crowd make me feels special. I really like the atmospheres down there. They create another things in every court.

“It’s amazing for me just having the chance to play here once again.”

Seeds Stan Wawrinka and 2014 US open finalist Kei Nishikori also advanced on Tuesday.

 

More to follow…

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US Open National Playoffs Begin on Friday at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., August 18, 2016 – The USTA today announced the 16 men and 16 women who will compete in the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s and Women’s Singles Championships, held Aug. 19-22 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale in New Haven, Conn. The tournament is held in conjunction with the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, the final Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event of the summer.

The respective men’s and women’s US Open National Playoffs winners will receive a wild card into the 2016 US Open Qualifying Tournament, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., the home of the US Open, Aug. 23-26.

In all, 1,127 players (735 men and 392 women) competed in the seventh year of the US Open National Playoffs in singles at one of 15 Sectional Qualifying Tournaments held throughout the United States, with the winners and select runners-up qualifying for the Championships. The US Open National Playoffs are designed to bring the spirit of the US Open to cities and sections across the country, making the US Open eligible to anyone and everyone 14 and over with the passion to compete, regardless of playing ability or nationality.

Men’s Singles Preview

Three men competing in the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship have competed at the US Open: Gage Brymer (2013 qualifying), Tyler Hochwalt (2005 and 2006 juniors) and Jesse Witten (2006 and 2009 singles; six times in qualifying).

Nearly all of the participants have played college tennis, and five will be playing collegiately this fall: Brymer (UCLA), Shawn Hadavi (Columbia), Martin Joyce (Ohio State), Eric Rutledge (Rice) and Terrence Whitehurst (Florida State). In addition, nine players were college standouts: Henry Craig (Denver), Hochwalt (Florida), Patrick Kawka (BYU), Evan King (Michigan), Hunter Koontz (Virginia Tech), Nicolas Meister (UCLA), Eric Quigley (Kentucky), Cameron Silverman (Elon) and Witten (Kentucky).

Four of these players will be participating in at least one other US Open National Playoffs Championship event. Kawka and Meister will also be competing in the Men’s Doubles Championship, while King will be competing in the Mixed Doubles Championship. Quigley will be competing in all three events.

The oldest player in the Men’s Singles Championship is the 33-year-old Witten, who won last year’s National Playoffs Men’s Singles Championship. Joyce and Rutledge are the youngest players at 19. 

Women’s Singles Preview

Four women competing in the Women’s Singles Championship will be vying for a chance to return to the US Open stage after competing at the US Open previously: Jacqueline Cako (2014 mixed doubles), Julia Elbaba (2010 and 2011 juniors), Ayaka Okuno (2011, 2012 and 2013 juniors), and Ashley Weinhold (2006 mixed and women’s doubles; 2007 singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles; 2006, 2011 and 2012 qualifying).

Five of the women competing will be participating in multiple events at this year’s US Open National Playoffs Championships. Sophie Chang, Nika Kukharchuk, Sanaz Marand and Ashley Weinhold will be playing in two events, while Jacqueline Cako will be taking part in all three championship events open to women: singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

Cako, a former Arizona State University All-American, is the only woman at the US Open National Playoffs Championships who is a past National Playoffs champion; she teamed with Joel Kielbowicz in 2014 to win the Mixed Doubles Championship. Margaryta Bilokin, a standout junior player in New England, is the youngest player in the competition at age 15. She is joined by teenagers Sara Choy, 16; Elyse Lavender, 17; Daavettila, 18; Fernanda Contreras Gomez, 18; and Chang, 19. 

The oldest player in the Women’s Singles Championship is the 29-year-old Kukharchuk, who has been here before. Kukharchuk advanced past the sectional qualifying tournament stage each year from 2012 through 2014.

The US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Doubles Championship field will take place Aug. 20-23, the Men’s Doubles Championship field will take place Aug. 21-24, and the Mixed Doubles Championship will take place Aug. 24-27. The winning teams in the doubles draws earn main draw wild cards into the US Open. In all, 994 players (408 men’s doubles, 200 women’s doubles, 386 mixed doubles) competed in the seventh year of the US Open National Playoffs in doubles at one of 15 Sectional Qualifying Tournaments held throughout the United States, with the winners and select runners-up qualifying for the Championships. 

The US Open men’s and women’s doubles championships begin Aug. 30 and the US Open mixed doubles championship begins Aug. 31 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

The 2016 US Open is scheduled to take place from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11.

US Open National Playoffs information is available at www.USOpen.org/NationalPlayoffs. 

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USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships Results

 

Kayla Day

San Diego, Calif. – (August 14, 2016) – Top-seeded Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif., capped an impressive run to the Girls’ 18s singles title at the USTA National Championships by winning a tough three-set final 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 over seventh-seeded Nicole Frenkel of Winchester, Mass.

In addition to being presented a USTA gold ball for winning the national championship, Day was awarded a wild card into the women’s singles main draw of the US Open, which will take place August 29 through September 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

Playing on Stadium Court at the Barnes Tennis Center, Day scored two early service breaks to take a 4-0 lead and would go on to win the first set 6-2 in 41 minutes. In the second set, Day broke Frenkel in the third game and then held serve for a 3-1 lead and appeared to be headed for a straight-set victory.

However, Frenkel cut down on her errors and found her groove and went on to win the next five games in a row to secure the second set 6-3 and send the match to a third and deciding set.

After both players held serve to begin the third set, Day took control of the deciding set, losing only seven points as she won the last five games in a row to secure the match and the championship.

“It feels amazing. I can’t even describe how good it feels. I’m just so happy. My serve really helped me out in the third set and I just played solid,” Day said.

“There were two turning points in the match. The first one was at 3-1 in the second set. She started playing better and my level (dropped) a little bit,” said Day, who will turn 17 in September. “The second turning point was when I broke her to go up 3-1 in the third.”

Carson Branstine of Orange, Calif., got past Amanda Anisimova of Aventura, Fla., 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 in the Girls’ 18s third-place playoff. Branstine was awarded a USTA bronze ball for her victory.

In the Girls’ 18s Doubles Championship, fifth-seeded Jada Hart of Colton, Calif., and Ena Shibahara of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., defeated ninth-seeded Meible Chi of Weston, Fla., and Taylor Russo of Deerfield Beach, Fla., 6-1, 6-4 to win the title. Hart and Shibahara were awarded USTA gold balls after the match. They also received a US Open wild card into the women’s doubles main draw.

Complete scores and results for each division of the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s Nationals Championships can be viewed at:  http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=171037

In addition to the US Open wild cards that are traditionally awarded to the 16s and 18s singles champions and 18s doubles champions, additional wild cards for the US Open Junior Championships and wild cards to various USTA Women’s Pro Circuit tournaments will also be awarded this year.  For the complete list of wild cards to be awarded go to: http://www.ustagirlsnationals.com/about.html.

About USTA Girls’ 16s – 18s Nationals:
The USTA Girls’ 16 & 18s National Championships are the premiere hard court tennis tournaments for amateur and professional American girls aged 18 and 16 and under in the United States. In 2010, both age groups began playing their events concurrently at San Diego’s Barnes Tennis Center. Tournament participants, who represent nearly every state in the United States, have been endorsed by their respective USTA Section or have received USTA special exemptions based on their results in qualifying tournaments, junior rankings, or results on the WTA Tour or International Tennis Federation Junior Circuit.  Past tournament champions include Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Andrea Jaeger, Zina Garrison, Mary Jo Fernandez, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport.

About George E. Barnes Family Junior Tennis Center:
The Center is owned and operated by Youth Tennis San Diego. It was built in 1995 and completed in 1997. The $4.5 million junior tennis facility was made possible with generous public and private donations and is named after the lead donor family – the “George E. Barnes Family Junior Tennis Center.” The Center, which is dedicated to the youth of San Diego, offers children 18 and under court priority over adults with advanced reservations.

About Youth Tennis San Diego:
Youth Tennis San Diego is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that has been in existence since 1952.  Earlier this year, Youth Tennis San Diego was recognized with the USTA Organization Member of the Year Award. The  award  is  given  annually  to  an  organization  that  provides  outstanding  service  to its members  and  to the  local  community. YTSD was honored at the USTA Annual Meeting and Conference, March 11-14, at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.

The YTSD Mission is:  “To promote the educational, physical, and social development of all youth through organized tennis and educational activities.” Their community programs encourage youth participation, personal integrity, leadership, and competitive spirit in a friendly environment that builds responsible citizens.  YTSD provides thousands of youngsters each year the opportunity to play tennis after school at their neighborhood school. The After School Tennis program provides a safe haven for hundreds of youngsters who are not supervised after school. Through tennis, the children learn the success skills which will give them the confidence and self-esteem needed to confront the negative influences so often found on the streets where they live.
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USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s Nationals
Barnes Tennis Center
San Diego, Calif.
Sunday’s Results

Girls’ 18s Singles
Championship
Kayla Day (1), Santa Barbara, Calif., def. Nicole Frenkel (7), Winchester, Mass., 6-2, 3-6, 6-1

Third Place
Carson Branstine (17), Orange, Calif., def. Amanda Anisimova (5), Aventura, Fla., 7-5, 5-7, 6-1

Girls’ 18s Doubles
Championship
Jada Hart (5), Colton, Calif., and Ena Shibahara, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., def. Meible Chi (9), Weston, Fla., and Taylor Russo, Deerfield Beach, Fla., 6-1, 6-4

rded go to: http://www.ustagirlsnationals.com/about.html.

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USTA Names Eric Butorac Director, Professional Tennis Operations and Player Relations

 

USTA NAMES ERIC BUTORAC AS DIRECTOR, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS OPERATIONS AND PLAYER RELATIONS

Former ATP Player Council President Hired to Enhance Player Relations

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., August 03, 2016 – The USTA today announced that outgoing ATP Player Council president and former Top 20 doubles player Eric Butorac has been named Director, Professional Tennis Operations and Player Relations, USTA, starting in October 2016. Butorac will have a dual report to USTA Chief Executive, Professional Tennis Stacey Allaster and US Open Tournament Director David Brewer.

In this newly created role, Butorac will be responsible for enhancing player relations year-round across all of the USTA’s professional tennis events, including the US Open, and he will work closely with both professional tours.  Additionally, he will assist USTA Player Development with doubles coaching and mentoring and will work with Player Development and Professional Tennis Operations on enhancing the USTA Pro Circuit, among other duties.

“Eric will bring a unique player perspective to our USTA team,” said Allaster.  “He is a well-respected professional whose leadership on the ATP Player Council will be a tremendous asset for our organization moving forward.”

Butorac, 35, has won 18 ATP doubles titles in his 14-year professional career and reached the doubles final at the 2014 Australian Open. A native of Rochester, Minn., he served eight years on the ATP Player Council and succeeded Roger Federer as its President in 2014.

Butorac was a three-time ITA all-American while playing college tennis for Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and won the NCAA Division III singles and doubles titles in 2003. He also served as a volunteer assistant coach for Harvard’s men’s tennis team from 2010-14.

Butorac will start in this new position on October 1, 2016.  He plans on playing through the summer with his career culminating at the 2016 US Open.

Related Article:

Eric Butorac Talks College Tennis, State of Pro Doubles

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US Open Wild Card Challenge Standings

US Open Wild Card Challenge Standings

(as of July 25)

 

 

From the USTA: (July 25, 2016) With one week left in the USTA Pro Circuit’s women’s US Open Wild Card Challenge, a berth in the 2016 US Open main draw will be decided this week at the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships, a $50,000 event in Lexington, Ky.

 

The race for the women’s wild card is close, with many players still in contention and 80 points up for grabs in Lexington. 17-year-old Sofia Kenin is currently in first place after winning the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women’s Challenger in Sacramento, Calif., this weekend for her second career USTA Pro Circuit singles title and first $50,000 title. Grace Min, who advanced to the final in Sacramento, is in second place with 49 points, while young American CiCi Bellis is in third place.

 

The men’s wild card challenge kicked off last week with the Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger, a $50,000 Challenger in Binghamton, N.Y. Mitchell Krueger advanced to the final in Binghamton to take the early lead in the men’s race with 48 points. The men’s wild card challenge continues into its second week, also in Lexington.

 

All matches will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. 

  

The standings, as of July 25, are as follows:

 

USTA Player Development will award a US Open main draw wild card to one American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events this summer. Men’s events include $50,000 Challengers in Binghamton and Lexington, Ky., as well as a $100,000 Challenger in Aptos, Calif. Women’s tournaments include $50,000 events in Stockton, Sacramento, and Lexington.

 

Ranking points from two out of the three men’s and women’s events will be used and combined to calculate the point total and determine the US Open wild card recipient. If a player competes in more than two events, only his or her two best tournaments will be counted in calculating the point total. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or WTA singles ranking will be awarded the wild card. Only players who have not earned direct acceptance into the US Open are eligible for the wild card.

 

The USTA first used this US Open wild card format for its 2012 wild cards, won by Steve Johnson and Mallory Burdette, both of whom reached the third round of the US Open. In 2013, Bradley Klahn and Shelby Rogers earned the wild cards, with Klahn winning his first-round match, and in 2014, Nicole Gibbs reached the third round of the US Open (her career-best Grand Slam result), while Wayne Odesnik earned the men’s wild card. Last year, Bjorn Fratangelo made his Grand Slam main draw debut by earning the men’s wild card, while Samantha Crawford competed in the US Open as the women’s wild card. The USTA also utilizes this wild card challenge format for the French Open and Australian Open.

 

The 2016 US Open main draw will be held Monday, Aug. 29, to Sunday, Sept. 11.

 

Information on the US Open Wild Card Challenge will be available at www.procircuit.usta.com and on Twitter through @USTAProCircuit.

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Player Field Announced for USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships

girls 16 18 s

San Diego, Calif. – (July 25, 2016) – Tournament officials have announced the field of competitors for the upcoming United States Tennis Association Girls’ 16 & 18s National Championships, which are scheduled to be played August 6-14, 2016 at the Barnes Tennis Center, 4490 W. Point Loma Blvd., San Diego, CA, 92107.

Nearly 400 girls aged 16 and 18 and under from across the United States and Puerto Rico will compete for the title of National Champion. The tournament will feature the top junior players from each of the 17 USTA Sections.

Defending 18s singles champion Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., is among the players entered in this year’s event. Other entries in the Girls’ 18s division include 2016 Wimbledon Girls’ Singles semifinalist Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Usue Arconada of Rio Piedras, P.R. and Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., who combined to win the Wimbledon Girls’ Doubles title earlier this month.

The complete player entry list for the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships, can be viewed at:  http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=171037#&&s=5

The tournament also features a strong contingent of San Diego-area players. The following local competitors are entered in this year’s USTA Girls’ Nationals:

Julia Deming, Fallbrook, Calif. —Girl’s 16s
Emily Dush
, Chula Vista, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Elizabeth Goldsmith, Chula Vista, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Julia Haynes
, San Diego, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Amy Huang, San Diego, Calif. —    Girl’s 16s
Cali Jankowski
, Carlsbad, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Jennifer Kerr, Carlsbad, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Alexandra Kuo
, La Jolla, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Nicole Mossmer, La Jolla, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Britt Pursell
, Oceanside, Calif. — Girl’s 16s
Jennifer Richards, San Diego, Calif. — Girl’s 18s
Hannah Zhao
, San Diego, Calif. — Girl’s 18s

“We are very impressed with the depth of our player fields this year in the Girls’ 16s and 18s divisions and are anticipating a very competitive tournament throughout the week.” said Co-Tournament Director Liz Blum. “This is a great opportunity for fans to watch some great tennis as well as some future stars.”

The Girls’ 16s event will begin on Saturday, Aug. 6 and conclude with the singles and doubles finals on Saturday Aug. 13. The Girls’ 18s tournament will get underway on Sunday, Aug. 7 and conclude with the 18s singles championship on Sunday, Aug. 14. Both divisions will feature 192-player singles draws and doubles draws with 96 teams.

In addition to the US Open wild cards that are traditionally awarded to the 16s and 18s singles champions and 18s doubles champions, additional wild cards for the US Open Junior Championships and wild cards to various USTA Women’s Pro Circuit tournaments will also be awarded this year.  For the complete list of wild cards to be awarded, go to: http://www.ustagirlsnationals.com/about.html.

The Opening Ceremony for the USTA National Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships is scheduled for 5 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, Aug. 6 at the Barnes Tennis Center.

Early-round matches will also be played at San Diego State University’s Aztec Tennis Center, 5375 Remington Rd., San Diego, CA, 92115, from Saturday, Aug. 6 through Tuesday, Aug. 9.

Admission and on-site parking at the Barnes Tennis Center is free each day of the tournament. For fans watching matches at SDSU, admission is free, but there is a nominal charge for on-campus parking. University parking regulations will be strictly enforced.

About USTA Girls’ 16s – 18s Nationals:
The USTA Girls’ 16 & 18s National Championships are the premiere hard court tennis tournaments for amateur and professional American girls aged 18 and 16 and under in the United States. In 2010, both age groups began playing their events concurrently at San Diego’s Barnes Tennis Center. Tournament participants, who represent nearly every state in the United States, have been endorsed by their respective USTA Section or have received USTA special exemptions based on their results in qualifying tournaments, junior rankings, or results on the WTA Tour or International Tennis Federation Junior Circuit.  Past tournament champions include Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Andrea Jaeger, Zina Garrison, Mary Jo Fernandez, Jennifer Capriati and Lindsay Davenport.

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Johanna Konta Serves Her Way Into Her First WTA Final

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta

By Curt Janka

(July 23, 2016) STANFORD, California – Johanna Konta lost just six points on her serve as she toppled Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-2 in the first semifinal of the Bank of the West Classic. The win earns Konta her first WTA final and it’s the first time a British player has played for the trophy here since Virginia Wade in 1981.

The third seed Konta served a total of nine games and held at love for six of them. Cibulkova, the second seed and 2013 champion, is arguably one of the better returners on tour, so what made Konta’s serve so tough today? “She was placing the serve so well and it was hard for me to do something with it,” the Slovak Cibulkova answered. “She was changing the directions of the serve, so that was the main thing. Today she was just serving too well.“

The 25-year-old British woman, currently ranked No. 18,  backed up her serve with solid ground strokes and returns, breaking her higher-seeded opponent three times. After the match, she was pleased with her performance. “I’m really happy to have come through that and to be into my first final,” Konta said. “I thought I served well and did a good job in the end of staying in the present. She [Cibulkova] is an incredible competitor, so I knew going into the match that I was going to have to be there for every single point. I achieved that, so I’m feeling very grateful and looking forward to my next match tomorrow.”

Konta was also playing in the doubles semifinal with her partner, Maria Sanchez, against Darija Jurak and Anastasia Rodionova. Konta will play Venus Williams in the final. The two-time Stanford winner beat Alison Riske in the night session.

“I’m really happy to have come through that and to be into my first final,” Konta said after her win.

 

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Venus Williams Playing Like The Top Seed She Is At The Bank Of The West Classic

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

By Curt Janka

(July 22, 2016) STANFORD, California –  A relaxed Venus Williams played composed tennis as she breezed to a 6-4, 6-1 win over 17-year-old wildcard Catherine Bellis at the Bank of the West Classic on Friday night. While it may have taken three sets for Williams to get by her previous opponent, there was no sign of tension in her play on Friday night. Experience may have been the key against her younger opponent.

When asked why she looked so at ease on the court she said, “I just felt like I had a lot of experience and as a young person she has to go for a lot more than I ever have to go for because I understand the game more. So I felt just comfortable that I could control the match.”

“After Wimbledon I was really pumped,” the 36-year-old Williams said. “I was like, ‘I can’t wait to play.’ That felt good. It felt good to be eager.”

When asked what else she is looking forward to this summer, the two-time Stanford winner replied, “There’s so much to look forward to! The semifinals tomorrow is like my main focus. The Olympics I’ve been waiting for four years. As soon as the last one was over I was ready to go again. It’s getting closer and it feels surreal but when I get there it’s gonna be real. And after that you just turn right back around and play the Open.”

CiCi Bellis

CiCi Bellis

Despite a quick second set, Bellis did make the first set very competitive. “I learned a lot,” she said. “I think mainly I just have to focus on the key points. There are a couple points in the first set that I think if I played a little bit more aggressive I could have won them. But, you know, she’s obviously the number one seed here, so it’s unbelievable to be on the court with someone like her.“

Asked about her short-term goals, Bellis smiled and said, “Yesterday, actually, I committed to Stanford. I’m just going to see how the next year goes in my pro career.” She explained that after another year on tour, she would start her college career at Stanford.

Top seed Williams will face Alison Riske in the semifinals on Saturday. Riske advanced when her quarterfinal opponent fourth seed Coco Vandeweghe suffered an ankle injury and had to retire.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Dominika Cibulkova came back from two early breaks to win 7-5, 6-0 over Misaki Doi. Cibulkova will next face third seed Johanna Konta, who beat her quarterfinal opponent, Zheng Saiai 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

 

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