Walker

communications and media specialist, tennis historian and investor in TennisGrandstand, LLC. He worked for 12 years in the USTA’s Marketing and Communications Division where he coordinated media activities at 13 US Opens, 22 U.S. Davis Cup ties and for three U.S. Olympic teams. He is also the Managing Partner for New Chapter Press Media and the author of the book On This Day In Tennis History.

New Daily Match Schedule Announced For The US Open

The USTA announced that the 2018 US Open will introduce a new daily match schedule for the tournament, made possible by the completion of the strategic transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and the opening of the new 14,000 seat Louis Armstrong Stadium.

In 2018, both Arthur Ashe Stadium and the new Louis Armstrong Stadium will hold dedicated day and night sessions. This marks the first time that a second stadium will feature a night session at the US Open. With the new Louis Armstrong Stadium also being equipped with a retractable roof, making it the second court at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to utilize this technology in addition to Arthur Ashe Stadium, there will be a larger number of matches played on schedule, regardless of weather conditions.

In Louis Armstrong Stadium the day session will begin at 11:00 a.m. for the first nine days of the tournament and will include three matches, with the night session beginning at 7:00 p.m. and showcasing two matches for the first six days of the event. Approximately 7,000 of the seats in Armstrong will be open to all US Open ticket holders for both the day and night sessions, while the remaining seats will be reserved for those with a dedicated Louis Armstrong Stadium ticket for the respective session.

In Arthur Ashe Stadium, the day session will now begin at 12:00 p.m. and include two matches. The night session will continue to be comprised of two matches, and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

The move to two matches during the day session in Arthur Ashe Stadium helps to establish a greater certainty of start time for the night session, with a lesser chance of a delayed start time, a benefit to players, broadcasters, and fans both attending the US Open and those viewing from home. The possibility for congestion on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the changeover between the day and night sessions should also be alleviated, due to more time for egress and ingress.

“We are incredibly excited to shine a light on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium at the 2018 US Open, featuring a night session in a second stadium for the first time in the tournament’s history,” said Katrina Adams, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “Night tennis and the US Open are synonymous; truly some of our most memorable matches have been under the bright lights at night.”

Top 5 Tennis Betting Mistakes You Must Steer Clear Of!

Once you master a few tennis betting strategies you might feel like betting on every single match. However, it’s often seen that people start betting irresponsibly and aggressively, or using dirty techniques, sometimes even altering their strategies significantly.

Although you can make use of various Tennis free betting offers to test the waters first, taking your tennis betting skills from average to professional would require you to pay a lot of attention to the logic, numbers and equations. If you’re someone serious about taking his/her tennis betting to the next level, go through the following five tennis betting mistakes and stay away from them at all cost.

Betting on every single match
Let’s admit it, betting on tennis takes the game’s thrill factor to an altogether new high. Even though this is something natural and native to gambling, you’d need to overcome it to profit from tennis betting in the long-term.

There is no need to bet on every single tennis match. It might seem tempting, but not required. The tendency of betting with fresh winnings or some spare cash just because there’s a tennis match coming up soon is silly, and far from intelligent betting. This tendency can quickly slip into the impulse betting territory.

Not analysing enough
It’s important to analyse the matches properly. You should go through the concerned players’ past performances, recent form, playing styles and other factors thoroughly.

In tennis betting, you must look at every match from different angles. All such information can be gathered easily from the Internet these days.

Opting for handicaps
It might be good to reconsider taking frequent handicaps as tennis is one sport where players improve constantly and tremendously. Though you can refer to the statistics and figure if the favourites are likely to win their matches or not, things can always take unexpected turns, and put you in unwanted situations.

It’s a good idea to avoid handicaps if they seem too good to be true or unreasonable, but they can be a huge saviour in some cases. Use them to your advantage whenever possible and stay away from them when not needed.

Indulging in accumulators
Play big accumulators if you’re someone who wants to lose every single penny and go bankrupt in quick time. Well, that’s what a lot of experts say. It’s correct too in a lot of ways.

If you wish to make good money from tennis betting and want to simultaneously keep a tight hold on your winnings, try sticking to single bets only. In case you just can’t avoid accumulators, don’t include more than three matches in your bets. There is no way people can consistently win with accumulators, simply because sports betting is highly unpredictable in nature.

Being biased
Once you’ve spent a considerable time betting on tennis, you’d know that it’s mostly about statistics, logic and figures. Hence, the worst thing anyone can do is bet based on his/her biases and emotions. For instance, a lot of Roger Federer fans would blindly back him at the French Open, even if it was Rafael Nadal, the King of clay on the opposite end of the court!

In fact, logic is all about taking any personal bias out of the equation completely. You’d be setting yourself up for major disaster if you allow your feelings to get the better of you.

ITF Announces Details On New ITF Transition Tour That Will Change Entry-Level Pro Tennis Around The World

The ITF announced details of the new ITF transition tour that will be launched in 2019 as part of a major restructuring of professional tennis. The tour will provide a more effective pathway linking the ITF Junior Circuit and the senior professional game, and ensure that prize money at professional level tournaments is better targeted to enable more players to make a living.

The creation of the transition tour is based on ITF research that shows that while over 14,000 players compete each year in professional tournaments, only around 350 men and 250 women break even financially without consideration of coaching costs. A large number of junior players are competing on the professional circuit but the transition to the Top 100 is taking longer.

The transition tour will be staged within a more localised circuit structure that reduces costs for players and tournament organisers. This will also increase opportunities for players from more countries to join the pathway and be supported in their transition to professional tennis.

The transition tour forms part of a new worldwide tournament structure that has been agreed between the ITF, ATP and WTA in order to address the current challenges at entry level. This structure is expected to reduce the number of professional players with ATP and WTA rankings from 3,000 players to approximately 750 men and 750 women.

The new transition tour tournaments, which will offer $15,000 in prize money, will replace the existing $15,000 men’s and women’s tournaments on the ITF Pro Circuit in 2019, and will award ITF Entry Points instead of ATP and WTA ranking points.

For more information on the ITF transition tour, watch this online video.

Ranking point systems

In women’s tennis in 2019, tournaments offering a minimum of $25,000 in prize money will continue to offer WTA ranking points. In men’s tennis in 2019, $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit events will offer both ATP ranking points (later rounds) and ITF Entry Points (all rounds); while the qualifying rounds of ATP Challenger tournaments will also offer both ATP ranking points (all events) and ITF Entry Points (events up to $125,000 in prize money). From 2020, it is anticipated that $25,000 men’s tournaments will also form part of the transition tour and offer ITF Entry Points only.

Many players will end up competing on both the transition tour and in ATP/WTA-ranking point tournaments, and will therefore have both a professional ranking and an ITF Entry Point standing.

Under the new structure, the two systems are linked with players able to use their ITF Entry Point standing to gain acceptance into professional events.

Reserved tournament places

In order that successful junior and transition tour players are able to progress more quickly to the next level, the different ranking systems will be linked to guarantee reserved places in tournaments as follows:

Men: reserved places for top ITF Entry Point-ranked players in the qualifying draws of ATP Challenger tournaments (up to $125,000 prize money level). The number of reserved places will be determined later this year following further research and monitoring.

Women: 5 reserved places for top ITF Entry Point-ranked players in the main draw of $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournaments.

Juniors: 5 reserved places in the main draw of transition tour tournaments for players in the Top 100 of the ITF Junior Ranking.

Play-down rules

The ITF, ATP and WTA will implement new ‘play-down’ rules to prevent higher-ranked players from competing in transition tour tournaments to maximise opportunities for other players. Currently anyone outside the Top 10 women or Top 150 men can play in $15,000 events. Under the new structure it is expected that most players with ATP and WTA rankings would choose to enter professional tournaments.

Introduction of new rankings in 2019

The implementation of the new ATP, WTA and ITF ranking systems will take place at the end of 2018.

Any ATP or WTA ranking points earned at $15,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournaments (as well ATP points earned in early rounds of $25,000 Pro Circuit events and Challenger qualifying draws) in 2018 will be converted into ITF Entry Points.

The ITF, ATP and WTA will run shadow rankings throughout 2018, so that all players can see what their professional ranking and ITF Entry Point standing would be under the new system.

Cheaper hosting requirements

More National Associations will have the opportunity to stage events due to the cheaper hosting requirements of transition tour tournaments. The tournaments will be shorter in length than Pro Circuit events and take place over seven days (including qualifying). There is no requirement to host three consecutive tournaments as per the current rule for Men’s Futures tournaments; and there is a reduction in officiating requirements. It is anticipated that this will increase the number of nations hosting tournaments in 2019, providing opportunities for more players.

ITF President David Haggerty said: “The new worldwide tournament structure in which we have collaborated with the ATP and WTA will help address the issues of transition between the junior and senior game, and enable more professional players to make a living. However it is vital that we do not reduce the chance for players of any nation or background to enter the professional pathway. The introduction of the transition tour will allow players to take the first steps towards becoming a future champion within a more targeted and affordable circuit structure.”

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “The new points structure from 2019 will lead to significant enhancements to the player pathway through men’s professional tennis, providing a seamless link for players to progress upwards into ATP Challengers and beyond. We look forward to the successful implementation of the new structure through our continued extensive collaboration with the ITF.”

Steve Simon, WTA Chairman & CEO, said: “It is the goal of many talented young tennis players to compete on the WTA Tour. We support the restructuring of the pathway to professional tennis that is being announced by the ITF which is designed to simplify the forward progress of talented young players through different tournament levels. These efforts will provide more targeted job opportunities for players, and ultimately establish a clear pathway structure for players to move up to the WTA professional level.”

Former ATP Pros, Senior Aspirants Invited To Compete at Jack Kramer Club in Los Angeles March 1-4

Former ATP World Tour ranked tennis professionals and aspiring competitive players age 40 and over are invited to participate in a special senior prize money tennis tournament March 1-4 at the Jack Kramer Tennis Club in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

The Jack Kramer Club Past Masters Challenge will feature a 40-and-over singles tournament and a 50-and-over doubles tournament with prize money being awarded to singles and doubles semifinalists, finalists and champions. Prize money amounts will be determined based on a prize money pot that will be made up of tournament entry fees as well as fees raised through tournament competitors participating in pro-am, hit-with-the-pros sessions with patrons.

Former Top 50 professional 2000 U.S. Olympic team member Jeff Tarango, the new director of tennis at the Kramer Club, will be playing and hosting the event.

Players who ranked in the top 50 of the ATP singles rankings in their careers who enter the event will receive a bye into the singles semifinals of the event and if there are more than three who enter, they will receive a bye into the quarterfinals or another appropriate round based on the number of players of this level entered into the event. Former top 20 doubles players and their partners will be accorded the same in the doubles competition. All other entries, whether former ATP ranked players who did not receive a top 50 singles ranking or top 20 doubles ranking or are an aspiring competitive tournament players who did not receive a world ranking, will compete in a feed-in draw. ALL ENTRIES FOR ANY PLAYER WHO MEET AGE REQUIREMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED. THIS IS AN OPEN TOURNAMENT.Matches will be best-of-three FAST4 sets (first to four games, tie-breaker at 3-3, no-ad scoring)

“This is a fascinating grass roots effort to create some competitive playing opportunities for money for former ATP touring professionals,” said Tarango, who reached a career high singles ranking of No. 42 in 1992. “It’s very appropriate that we are hosting an event like this at the Jack Kramer Club as Kramer was perhaps the premier pro tennis promoter and many of the early pro events that he played in and later promoted had the competing players dividing portions of the profits of the event. I look forward to seeing many players competing at the Jack Kramer Club in March and hope that more of these type of events can be hosted in the future.”

To sign up for the event, go to this link: https://campscui.active.com/orgs/TennisGrandStand?orglink=camps-registration

Entries will close on Friday, February 23. Former Top 100 ranked ATP singles players will have entry fees waived if they participate in at least one one-hour pro-am, clinic or hit with the pros opportunity with amateurs or pay $95 “ante” entry fee to compete in the singles event. For all other entrants (whether former ATP ranked singles, doubles players or tournament players who did not earn ATP rankings), the entry fee (or “ante”) is $95 for singles and $150 per doubles team and players must be available to participate in at least one one-hour pro-am, clinic or hit-with-the-pros session.

Amateurs who would like to play in the one-hour pro-am, clinic or hit-with-the pros sessions will cost $90, which includes admission to the club for the day and admission to watch the matches. To sign up, click here: https://campscui.active.com/orgs/TennisGrandStand?orglink=camps-registration

All entry fees and pro-am fees go into a “prize money pot” that will be used to award prize money to the singles and doubles players. The more tournament entries there are and the most pro-am players there are, the more then prize money will be, so participating players are encouraged to promote and market the event themselves, encourage fellow players to enter the tournament or participate in the hit-with-the-pros events.

The prize money breakdown is as follows:

 

Singles winner (40-and-over): 15 percent of the “pot” and runner-up gets 7.5 percent

Singles semifinalists get 4 percent of the “pot”

 

Doubles winner (50-and-over): 10 percent (split) of the “pot” and runner-up splits 5 percent

Doubles semifinalists split 2 percent of the “pot” each

 

Remaining portion of the pot goes to administrative fees, costs, the club/promoter

 

Schedule of Play

Thursday, March 1

Opening round singles and doubles matches starting at Noon (special requests for match times will be considered)

 

Friday, March 2

Second day of singles and doubles matches starting at Noon (special requests for match times will be considered, flexible)

Pro-Am/Hit-with-Pros/Clinic can be scheduled if needed

 

Saturday, March 3

Pro-Am/Hit-with-Pros/Clinic at 11 am

Doubles semifinals starting at noon (simultaneously or one after another) and final to follow at about 3 pm (FAST4 sets, can be flexible)

Third day of singles matches, quarterfinal matches to start at  1 pm or so (flexible)

 

Sunday, March 4

Pro-Am/Hit-with-Pros/Clinic at 11 am

Singles semifinals starting at noon (simultaneously or one after another) and final to follow at about 3 pm (FAST4 sets, can be flexible)

 

Founded in 1962 during the golden era of tennis by legendary tennis player and promoter Jack Kramer and famed tennis coach Vic Braden, the Jack Kramer Club was the created to be a hub for developing tennis champions in a family focused club environment. The club features 13 tennis courts, a fitness center, an Olympic swimming pool and an iconic South Bay clubhouse. The club was focused on building tennis champions and succeeded as Pete Sampras, Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport, Eliot Teltscher among others.

Roger Federer Claims 20th Major Title At The Australian Open

Roger Federer became the first male tennis player to win 20 major titles with a thrilling, topsy-turvy 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over Marin Cilic at the Australian Open.

Federer joins Margaret Court (24), Serena Williams (23) and Steffi Graf (22) as the only player to win 20 or more major singles titles.

Federer moves again farther away from his major rival Nadal, who won his 16th major singles title at the U.S. Open last September, in the men’s major haul.

It also marked his sixth Australian Open, tying him with Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson for the most ever among men.

“He continues to exhaust superlatives,” said Chris Fowler on ESPN of Federer and his greatness.

Federer arrived in Melbourne at the start of 2017 after an extended injury layoff and on a Grand Slam title drought that dated back to 2012 at Wimbledon. Having successfully defended his Australian title, Federer has now won three of the past five majors in a stunning career resurgence.

“I’m so happy. It’s unbelievable,” Federer said in the trophy presentation. “Of course, winning is an absolute dream come true — the fairytale continues for us, for me, after the great year I had last year, it’s incredible.”

At the age of 36 years, 173 days, Federer became the second-oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era after Ken Rosewall, who won the 1972 Australian Open at 37.

Federer is the only men’s player to win three different major titles at least five times (Wimbledon, Australian, U.S. Open) and two different major titles at least six times (Wimbledon, Australian Open). His win concluded a successful defense of the dramatic Australian Open final he won last year as a perceived washed-up No. 17-seed recovering from a knee injury who was down 1-3 in the fifth set against chief rival Rafael Nadal. It marked the first time he successfully defended a major title since the 2008 U.S. Open – a decade ago!

As documented in the “Days of Roger Federer” book by Randy Walker, the final against Cilic came exactly 11 years to the day when Federer broke into the double-digits in his Grand Slam tournament title haul with his 10th major title with a straight-set win over Fernando Gonzalez in Melbourne. It took Federer three-and-a-half years to win his first 10 majors and 11 years to win his second 10 majors.

Caroline Wozniacki Back To No. 1 With Australian Open Title

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced that Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki will reclaim the WTA World No.1 ranking when the official WTA rankings are released on Monday, January 29.

Wozniacki ascends to the No.1 spot for the first time since January 2012 after defeating the reigning World No.1 Simona Halep to lift her first Grand Slam trophy at the Australian Open on Saturday. Wozniacki’s return to the top of the game marks exactly six years since she held the top spot, the longest gap since computer rankings were introduced in November 1975.

Since the start of the 2017 season, Wozniacki has won 71 matches, more than any other player, and also owns the most wins on hardcourts within that period (52). During this successful run, she defended her title at the Toray Pan Pacific Open (Tokyo) and won the prestigious 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. She reached a further six finals last season and started her 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish at the ASB Classic (Auckland).

The Dane first captured the No.1 ranking on October 11, 2010 and became the 20th woman overall and the first representing Denmark. Her second and most recent stint at the top lasted 49-straight weeks from February 2011 to January 2012. Including this upcoming week, Wozniacki will sit at No.9 on the all-time list for weeks at No.1, with 68.

At the start of the 2018 Australian Open, six players had a chance at leaving Melbourne Park with the No.1 ranking. By capturing her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne, the Dane ensures her ascension to the top spot.

“It was a dream come true to rise to World No.1 in 2010, but, to do so again after so many years really makes me proud,” said Wozniacki. “To become World No.1 again after winning my first-ever Grand Slam here in Melbourne is one of the happiest and proudest moments of my career.”

“This is a special moment for Caroline and I congratulate her on this deserving feat,” said WTA CEO and Chairman Steve Simon. “Caroline’s journey and career has been remarkable and inspiring to fans around the world. Her hard work and determination has paid off and we at the WTA are very proud to see her attain the very special ranking of World No.1.”

Wozniacki will be presented with the WTA World No.1 Trophy, the focal point of which is a silver “star-map” tennis ball that represents the tennis universe. All world No.1s, past and present, are depicted by a diamond in the sky, which represents each champion’s mark on the sport.

Click here to read more on Wozniacki’s historic achievement.

Wozniacki is one of 25 players to reach the pinnacle of women’s professional tennis since the computer rankings were created in 1975.

Wozniacki Shakes Off “Greatest Ever To Not Win A Major” Label With Australian Open Victory

Caroline Wozniacki shock off the label of the greatest woman tennis player of all time to never win a major title by dramatically winning the Australian Open women’s final with a 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4 win over Simona Halep.

Despite being ranked No. 1 in the world for 67 weeks, winning 27 previous singles titles in her career and playing 43 major tournaments, Wozniacki had not been able to break through and win her elusive major title. She lost in the final of the 2009 and 2014 US Opens and also painfully lost a Australian Open semifinal in 2011 to Li Na, despite holding match point. She was also a big favorite in a U.S. Open semifinal as the No. 1 seed in 2010 against Vera Zvonareva, only to lose.

To win her elusive major title, Wozniacki had to battle the top seed Halep, herself hungry for her first major championship, making for an amazing subplot in the final. To boot, both Halep and Wozniacki had both saved match points in previous matches en route to the final. Wozniacki was down 5-1 in the final set and saved two match points in her second-round, 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over Croatia’s Jana Fett. Halep saved match points in two matches en route to the final, three in her 15-13 in the third set win over American Lauren Davis in the third round and four in her 9-7 in the third set win over Angelique Kerber in the semifinals. Halep would have been the first player to ever save match points in two matches in win a major title. She badly turned her ankle in her opening round match against Australia’s Destanee Aiava, which she also had to overcome during her run to her third major final. Halep had previously lost the 2014 and 2017 French Open finals.

The win returns Wozniacki to the No. 1 ranking, replacing Halep. She last ranked No. 1 in 2012, a span of six years which is the biggest hiatus between ranking No. 1 in the history of tennis..

She is also the first player from Denmark to win a major singles title.

Michael Stich, Helena Sukova Elected To International Tennis Hall of Fame

Germany’s Michael Stich, a Wimbledon champion and former world No. 2, and Czech tennis legend Helena Sukova, a 14-time major champion in doubles and mixed doubles, have been elected to receive tennis’ ultimate honor this year-induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

On Thursday evening, a celebratory announcement of the Class of 2018 will take place on Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open, when other Hall of Famers and tennis legends will gather on court to celebrate Stich and Sukova’s election into the Hall of Fame.

Stich and Sukova will be officially inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on July 21, during Hall of Fame Weekend in Newport, Rhode Island.

In becoming Hall of Famers, Stich and Sukova join an elite group of just over 250 individuals hailing from 23 nations who have received the honor, which recognizes their careers as being among the most accomplished and impactful in the history of tennis.

Both Sukova and Stich will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Player Category. This is not a year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame’s other two categories – Contributor and Wheelchair.

“I’m very pleased to congratulate and welcome Michael and Helena in to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Michael’s laser focus and the versatility in his game made him a Wimbledon champion, and today, those skills and accomplishments make him a Hall of Famer. Helena put up outstanding results at all four Slams, the Olympics, and in WTA competition for nearly two decades,” stated Hall of Famer Stan Smith, who also serves as president of the Hall of Fame. “Being elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame ensures that their careers and accomplishments will forever be distinguished as being among the greatest in our sport’s history. It’s a well-deserved honor for Helena and Michael, and we look forward to celebrating with them in Newport in July.

“It’s quite an honor to become part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. I’m humbled to be included among this elite group of tennis athletes, many of whom I so greatly admired and was inspired by throughout my career,” commented Stich.

“Tennis has a storied history in the Czech Republic, and that history certainly played an important role in my tennis upbringing and my approach to the game. I grew up in a tennis family and being in awe of the accomplishments of legends like my mother, Vera, as well as Jan Kodes and Martina Navratilova. It was truly my joy and privilege to compete for my country, on the WTA tour, and among the greatest tennis players in the world. Today, I’m incredibly honored to be selected for the Hall of Fame, where the sport’s greatest in history are honored,” remarked Sukova.

Michael Stich, Germany

Germany’s Michael Stich was a versatile player with a full arsenal of skills that enabled him to achieve a ranking of world No. 2.

The highlight of Stich’s Hall of Fame career came in 1991 when he won the Wimbledon title, skillfully battling past two past champions and grass court stars in Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker. A year later, he partnered with John McEnroe to win the doubles title at Wimbledon in a 5 hour match that spanned two days. Stich made two more finals appearances at Grand Slam tournaments-at the US Open in 1994 and the French Open in 1996.

A skilled player at both the baseline and the net, Stich was successful on all surfaces throughout his career. In 1991 and 1993, he won professional tournaments on all four surfaces.

Stich appeared in 31 finals and won 18 career singles titles, including particularly momentous victories at season-ending events. In the 1992 Grand Slam Cup, Stich defeated Stefan Edberg, Richard Krajicek, Pete Sampras, and Michael Chang to win the title. A year later, he closed the season with wins over Michael Chang, Jim Courier, and Pete Sampras to capture the ATP World Championship title.

Stich was an accomplished representative of Germany throughout his career. At the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, he partnered with Boris Becker to win the Gold Medal in doubles. In 1993 Davis Cup final, he won all three points versus Australia to win the title for Germany.

Today, Stich is the Tournament Director for the German Open, an ATP 500 event in Hamburg. In 1994 he created the Michael Stich Foundation, a robust charity focused on programs aimed at HIV and AIDS awareness, as well as helping children in need.

Helena Sukova, Czech Republic

Helena Sukova, of the Czech Republic, was the world No. 1 ranked doubles player for 68 weeks and she won 14 Grand Slam tournament titles in women’s doubles and mixed doubles over the course of her career. Sukova also had a noteworthy singles career, achieving a career high of world No. 4 and reaching the final two times each at the Australian Open and the US Open. In all, she won 69 doubles titles and 10 singles titles.

Sukova achieved a career Grand Slam in women’s doubles, winning four titles at Wimbledon, two at the US Open, and one each at the Australian Open and the French Open. She partnered with her younger brother Cyril Suk III to win three mixed doubles titles at Grand Slam tournaments (2 Wimbledons, 1 French).

Hailing from a prominent Czech tennis family, Sukova thrived in the sport from an early age. Her mother, Vera, was the 1962 Wimbledon finalist, and her father Cyril Suk II was the head of the Czech Tennis Federation. Sukova was just 16 years old when she first cracked the WTA top-75 for the first time. Bolstered by a big forehand, a well-developed all-around game, and tremendous consistency, Sukova built a successful career that spanned nearly three decades, winning titles in her teens, 20’s, and 30’s.

Throughout her career, Sukova complemented the major titles with moments of extraordinary brilliance in which her tenacity as a competitor was undeniable. At the 1984 Australian Open, after losing the first set in a semifinal match versus Martina Navratilova, Sukova powered back to win the match, snapping Navratilova’s record-setting 74-match winning streak in the process.

Another career highlight was the 1993 US Open, when Sukova won an incredible 17 matches over the two weeks. She partnered with Todd Woodbridge to win the mixed doubles title, and with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario to upset defending champions Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva for the women’s doubles title. In singles that year, Sukova battled past Martina Navratilova and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario to book her spot in the final, where she fell to Steffi Graf.

Sukova was an outstanding representative for her country, as an integral part of the Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic Fed Cup teams for 13 years. She was a playing member of four championship teams (1983, 1984, 1985, 1988). Additionally, she won two Silver Medals at the Olympic Games, partnered with Jana Novotna (1988 and 1996).

Sukova retired in 1998, and has stayed highly active in sports administration in the Czech Republic. She earned a doctoral degree as a psychologist at Palacky University.

Class of 2018 Induction Ceremony

The Class of 2018 will be officially inducted on July 21, during Hall of Fame Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Tickets for the Induction Ceremony will go on sale on March 5. In addition, the class will be celebrated in a tribute exhibit in the museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which will open in June and be displayed for one year.

For additional information, please visit www.tennisfame.com

About the International Tennis Hall of Fame

Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is a non-profit institution that preserves and promotes the history of tennis and celebrates its champions, thereby serving as a vital partner in the growth of tennis globally. The Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on a seven-acre property that features an extensive museum that showcases the history of the sport and honors the 247 Hall of Famers; 13 grass tennis courts and an indoor tennis facility; and a rare Court Tennis facility. Annually in July, the venue hosts the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open for the Van Alen Cup, an ATP World Tour event. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame and its programs, visit tennisfame.com.

Will A First-Time Major Women’s Winner Be Crowned At The Australian Open?

The Australian Open may seem destined to crown a first-time major singles champion in women’s singles in 2018.

With Serena Williams out of the field following the birth of her daughter, shocking first-round losses by Venus Williams and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens as well as the defeats of the likes of Maria Sharapova, Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova, leaves Angelique Kerber as the only player left in the field who has won a major title. Kerber, the 2016 Australian and U.S. Open champion, however was nearly upset in the fourth round Monday, escaping Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan 4-6, 5-7, 6-1.

The women’s singles field is wide open with fans having to check the website and mobile app for CrownBet the fastest growing online sports and racing wagering business in Australia, for the latest odds.

The two favorites are the top two seeds, No. 1 Simona Halep and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, who by a strange curious statistic, are the top two seeds at the season’s first Grand Slam tournament despite having never winning a major tournament. Halep, however, did reach the French Open final on two occasions, losing in 2014 to Maria Sharapova and last year to the young upstart Jelena Ostapenko. Despite being the No. 1 seed, Halep has a long history of unsuccessful battles against her nerves on the biggest stages.

Wozniacki, like Halep, has achieved the world No. 1 but has only reached two major finals, both at the U.S. Open in 2009 and 2014. She has won a healthy number of singles titles (27), including the year-end championships last year in Singapore so she can seen as a bigger “big match” player.

Madison Keys may be on a collision course with destiny this week as the 22-year-old American showed brilliant form in defeating Caroline Garcia of France, one of the most in-form players on the WTA Tour, by an easy 6-3, 6-2 scoreline. Keys may be channeling the disappointment and feelings of the “agony of defeat” from her loss to friend and fellow American Sloane Stephens in last year’s U.S. Open final. Pete Sampras, the 14-time major singles winner, said that his loss to Stefan Edberg in the 1992 U.S. Open was so difficult for him to digest that it spurred him on to victories in many other major finals. This could perhaps be the same situation for Keys, who is being fueled by her U.S. Open final-round loss. To boot, she has the Hall of Famer Lindsay Davenport in her camp as her coach. Keys is also seeded No. 17 which is the same seeding that Roger Federer had in 2017 when he claimed the men’s crown.

Also flying under the radar is Karolina Pliskova, the big-serving Czech star and former world No. 1, who could face Halep in the quarterfinals. Pliskova lost a tough U.S. Open final to Kerber in 2016 and getting more used to playing in the later rounds of majors and could be a dark horse pick to win the title by week’s end.

 

 

Shenzhen, China To Become New Host City For WTA Tour Finals

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced its selection of the city of Shenzhen, China to host the WTA Finals, the most prestigious event on the WTA calendar, from 2019 through 2028.

Gemdale Corporation, one of China’s largest and leading real estate developers, submitted the winning bid. The company’s bid includes building a state-of-the-art venue in the city’s downtown area, with seating for 12,000 people, and record prize money of $14 million for the Top 8 singles players and Top 8 doubles teams, double the previous purse.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that the dynamic city of Shenzhen has been chosen to host the WTA Finals, the WTA’s crown jewel season finale, for the next decade,” said Steve Simon, WTA CEO and Chairman. “This will easily be the largest and most significant WTA Finals deal in the 45 years since the WTA was founded and promises to take the event to a spectacular new level.”

“Shenzhen is an exciting, fast-evolving metropolis of 68 million people and staging the WTA Finals there will ensure the WTA’s global fan base goes from strength to strength,” added Micky Lawler, WTA President. “As China’s new generation of players follow in the footsteps of Li Na, the local fans will have their own national heroines to cheer, but we also know from our existing events in the region led by the China Open that they will support all of the stars of the WTA with tremendous enthusiasm.”

“Shenzhen is honored to have been selected as host for the WTA Finals,” said Liu Fengning, General Manager, Shenzhen Gemdale Sports Industry Co., Ltd. “This world class event will attract local and foreign tennis fans and add to Shenzhen’s reputation as an outward-looking and vibrant global city. We embrace the WTA’s values of inclusiveness and equality, and are grateful for the opportunity to add to China’s tennis legacy by staging an event that encourages young generations to take up the sport.”

Billie Jean King, pioneer and founder of the WTA, remarked, “It is absolutely incredible to witness the growth of the WTA season-ending event and Shenzhen will be a fantastic home for the WTA Finals. The first Finals were played in 1972, in Boca Raton, Florida, before the WTA was formed, and had $100,000 in total prize money. The record setting $14 million purse set for Shenzhen reflects the global strength of our sport and how Shenzhen and China have embraced women’s tennis.”

Sam Stosur, WTA Player Council member, former World No.1 doubles and World No.4 singles commented, “I am really impressed by the sheer magnitude of the offer that Shenzhen has made. The increased prize money and the construction of an amazing new stadium with naming rights is incredible. But significantly, the financial backing and government commitment is an exceptional investment in the WTA that will help us to develop women’s tennis in all corners of the world for years to come. It’s an exciting day and time for me and for all of our WTA players.”

WTA World No.1 Simona Halep, who was runner-up at the WTA Finals in Singapore in 2014 and won the Shenzhen Open in 2015 and 2018, said, “I have chosen to start my season in Shenzhen for a few years now, and I am thrilled that the city has been selected to stage the WTA Finals.” Halep added, “It’s a fascinating and friendly place, with some of the best tennis fans in the world. I know the WTA’s partners in Shenzhen will deliver a wonderful and memorable experience for the players, fans and sponsors.”

2019 will mark the 49th staging of the WTA Finals (with the inaugural staging in 1972). There have been 21 different winners in the event’s history with champions from 13 different nations including Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.

Shenzhen is set to become the 10th different city – and the second in Asia – to host the WTA Finals following Boca Raton (1972-1973), Los Angeles (1974-1976, 2002-2005), Oakland (1978), New York City (1977, 1979-2000), Munich (2001), Madrid (2006-2007), Doha (2008-2010), Istanbul (2011-2013) and Singapore (2014-2018).

Since 2008, when the WTA began its strategic priority to grow the brand and tournament footprint in China and the wider Asia-Pacific region, attendance, broadcast and digital exposure have soared as new audiences have embraced the sport.

A new record was set on the ground at the WTA Finals in 2017 as the event welcomed 133,000 fans, the largest attendance over the four years in Singapore. Overall, WTA social media initiatives increased fan engagement globally, with total social video views growing from 22.9 million in 2016 to 27.8 million in 2017.