Blogs

Rafael Nadal Withdrawal Shocks Roland Garros

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

The biggest news of the day at the French Open on Friday wasn’t caused by something that happened on the court, rather by a decision made by nine-time champion Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard, who was the No. 4 seed in the event this year, announced that he had withdrawn himself from the tournament.

“This is one of the toughest press conferences of my career…If it wasn’t Roland Garros, I probably wouldn’t have taken the risks (of playing with an injury). It’s the most important event of the year for me,” said Nadal.

The cause of Nadal’s surprising decision was a left wrist injury that the Spaniard has been dealing with for the past “couple of weeks”, just another bullet point on a long list of injuries that have hindered his success in the past few years.

Nadal first felt pain in his wrist three weeks ago when he played in the quarterfinals of Madrid, but attempted to play through the pain in Rome, and then in Paris.

After beating Sam Groth and Facundo Bagnis in his first two matches in Paris, losing only nine games in the process, many began to believe that Nadal would be able to provide a tough challenge to Novak Djokovic in the latter stages of the tournament.

Unfortunately for Nadal and fans of tennis, there will not be a 50th meeting between the two great champions, as the pain in Nadal’s wrist continued to grow.

“I arrived here with a little bit of pain but I thought it was something I would be able to manage, but every day it got a bit worse,” said Nadal.

While many will be disappointed with his decision to leave the tournament, Nadal is doing what is best for him and his career as he is weary of the potential problems that would come from playing with his injured wrist.

“It’s not broken, but if I keep playing it’s going to be broken in the next couple of days,” said Nadal.

“To have won the tournament I would have had to play five more matches and the doctor told me that was 100 percent impossible,” said Nadal.

Nadal and his team hope that he will be able to play in Wimbledon and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure that happens.

“I need a couple of weeks with the immobilization. Then we’re going to do the treatment and we hope the treatment works well. We expect to recover quick,” said Nadal.

Nadal’s withdrawal grants fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers a walkover into the fourth round.

On the court, headlines were made by 23-year old American Shelby Rogers as she upset two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova by a 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-0 score line.

After racing out a hot start, converting on three out of four break points and saving the only one she faced in the first set, Rogers began to be challenged by Kvitova in the second set. The Czechwoman had a breakpoint in Rogers’ first service game of the second set but couldn’t convert, but did grab her first and only break of the match when Rogers was serving up a break at 4-3 and looked like it could be a turning point.

Kvitova went on to take the second set in a tiebreak, but was unable to carry the momentum over into the decider. Rogers stood strong and continued to play well as she had done all match, going up 0-40 in Kvitova’s first service game and breaking for an early lead. Kvitova had a look to break right back, but once again failed to convert on a break point, and that was ultimately where the match ended.

Rogers went on to break twice more, with a hold at love thrown in the middle, to close out the set and the match.

Rogers, the No. 108 player in the world, earned her first appearance in the fourth round of a major with her win over the No. 10 seed. The moment gave Rogers, and fans of American tennis, plenty to cheer for and be emotional about.

“It was incredible…I’m one that cries very easily and I think everyone saw that. I immediately started crying,” said Rogers.

Irina-Camelia Begu, the No. 25 seed from Romania, will be Rogers’ next opponent.

Tsonga Stages 0-2 Comeback To Earn 100th Major Win

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earned his 100th win at a major and advanced to the third round of the French Open on Thursday in Paris after battling back from a two set deficit against Marcos Baghdatis, earning the 6-7(6), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win.

Tsonga, who owned a 6-0 head-to-head record over Baghdatis, came into the match with plenty of confidence playing in front of his home crowd, but the experienced Cypriot was up to the task in the early stages.

In the battle of former Australian Open finalists, Baghdatis in 2006 and Tsonga in 2008, Baghdatis’ strategy was to utilize the drop shot as much as possible and make the Frenchman run all over the court. Throughout the first set, that gameplan worked perfectly for the Baghdatis, the former No. 8 player in the world, and it allowed him to have the confidence to go up an early break and eventually save a set point in the first set tiebreak before going on to win it.

The French faithful did not give up hope in the highest ranked French player as he showed signs of being able to battle back from the deficit, despite the fact that Baghdatis had been playing at such a high level. After going up a break early in the second set, all seemed to be right for Tsonga, but Baghdatis was able to break right back before going on to grab another break later in the set. A hold at love, including an ace at set point, gave the Cypriot a two sets to love lead, pulling him to within one set of his first third round appearance at the French Open since 2010.

“He just played perfectly, tactically in the first two, and he pushed me to give the best of myself,” said Tsonga of Baghdatis’ play.

The high quality play from Baghdatis in the first two sets was all for naught, however, as Tsonga was able to battle back, as the majority of the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier expected. Baghdatis, who has struggled with fitness before, including in his epic second round encounter with Andre Agassi at the 2006 US Open, Agassi’s final professional tournament, began to show signs of decreasing energy as he began to make too many errors and relied on his drop shot too much to shorten points.

After dropping the third set, Baghdatis had a chance in the fourth to go up a break again, but Tsonga came up clutch and did not look back from there. Two breaks in the fourth and fifth sets came easily to Tsonga as he was able to eventually pull out the five-set win and advance to the third round where he will take on 2014 French Open semifinalist Ernests Gulbis.

Baghdatis never gave up on the drop shot throughout the match, finishing up by hitting 68 total. “Over five sets that’s a lot of running to the net, very tiring,” said Tsonga, who successfully came back from two sets to love down for the third time in his career.

On the women’s side, both Williams sisters won their matches easily with 6-2, 6-1 score lines. Serena beat Teliana Pereira of Brazil, while Venus defeated fellow American Louisa Chirico.

Venus, who is 15 years older than her opponent on Thursday, cited experience as the deciding factor over the young and talented Chirico. “Louisa has a lot of talent but I think I had the experience. Today, I was lucky that I’ve played 20 years here at Roland Garros…It’s not as much fun when you have to meet an American early on, but the best part is an American will go through,” said Venus.

Andy Murray Survives Against French Wild Card In Another Five-Setter At Roland Garros

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

French wild card Mathias Bourgue gave Andy Murray another scare at the French Open on Wednesday as he forced the two-time major champion to five sets. Murray, who had to come back from two sets to love down to beat Radek Stepanek in the first round, had to fight back from a two sets to one hole in the second round, eventually earning the 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win.

The No. 2 seeded Murray was not only battling the spirited wild card, but also the French faithful on Court Philippe-Chatrier who gave their full support to Bourgue throughout the match as he gave the crowd much more to cheer for than anticipated.

The match began as most would have expected as Murray raced out to a 6-2, 2-0 lead, but that was where the match turned on its head as Bourgue was able to roll off a six-game win streak, taking the set and leveling the match at one set all.

The Frenchman was able to battle back thanks to a dip in concentration for Murray that led to him making too many unforced errors. “It wasn’t like I was not there mentally, but I just couldn’t find the court,” said Murray.

Bourgue, a 22 year-old who is currently ranked No. 164 in the world, continued his hot streak into the third set and outplayed Murray, utilizing a variety of shots to get the job done.

The sense was present throughout the match that Murray would be able to battle back and find a way to pull out the win, like he has shown so many times before throughout his career. That was the case as Murray was able to begin controlling his shots more in the fourth set, limiting his unforced error count to just three in the set and finding a way to assert himself on the court.

The fifth set was more of the same as the much more experienced Murray continued his roll in the fifth set, attacking the youth and inexperience of Bourgue to earn two breaks and close out the match.

Murray highly praised the young Frenchman for his performance on Wednesday, but clearly stated his disappointment with his own level of play. “Today certainly wasn’t easy. I lost my way on the court today for quite a while…You can’t continue playing matches like that and then expect to win the tournament” said Murray.

The Brit will take on big serving Ivo Karlovic in the third round. Karlovic had a scare himself in the second round, as he was forced to play 22 games in the fifth set of his matchup with Australian Jordan Thompson, eventually pulling out the 6-7(2), 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-7(4), 12-10 win.

Another Frenchman in action on Wednesday was on the opposite end of the potential upset bid as Gilles Simon battled back from two sets to love down to beat Argentine Guido Pella, 4-6, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Pella, who is having a career year after having reached his career his career high ranking of No. 39 in March, raced out two a two sets lead and looked to be in complete control of the match. After going up a break in the third set and having a 3-1 lead, Pella was just three games away from his first third round appearance at a major, but the battle tested Simon needed to give his French faithful something to cheer for.

After going down 3-1, Simon won six of the next eight games, breaking Pella back to take the third set and keep the match alive.

Pella’s upset bid was far from over, though, as he broke in the first game of the fourth set and held a 4-2 lead before Simon was once again able to break late in the set to get back on serve, eventually forcing a tiebreak. The Argentine’s hopes looked to be crushed in that fourth set tiebreak as Simon raced out to a 5-0 lead and eventually won 7-4 to force a deciding fifth set.

The battle continued into the fifth set as each player was forced to battle in their service games, including at 2-2 where Simon had two break points and took advantage of the second one to begin his closing out of the match.

When the Frenchman served for it at 5-4, Pella showed just how much of a battler he is. A 22-point game ensued and Pella had a look at three break points, but Simon was too good and came up clutch as he saved all of them and finished off the comeback win to the delight of the Parisian crowd.

Simon’s epic win sets up a battle in the third round with Viktor Troicki.

Kerber and Azarenka Upset As Murray Survives At Roland Garros

Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber was upset on Tuesday at the French Open by Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, highlighting the biggest upset so far this year in Paris.

Kerber, the No. 3 seed in the event, had the unfortunate luck of drawing Bertens who was on a seven match win streak and had won 18 of her last 21 matches, dating back to March.

The Dutchwoman was able to continue her good run of form into Paris, as she got off to a hot start, breaking Kerber in just her second service game of the match. From there, Bertens, the No. 58 player in the world, only lost four points on her serve to close out the set, and broke the German again for a comfortable first set win.

Kerber looked to bounce back in the second set, as she fought through getting taken to deuce in her first two service games while Bertens cruised through hers. In the sixth game of the set, though, the tides appeared to turn as Bertens played one poor service game and Kerber jumped all over it, breaking at love for her first lead of the match. Bertens was able to break back in the next game, but Kerber kept her composure and broke once more before closing out the set comfortably, taking the match to a decider.

Bertens didn’t let the disappointment of dropping the second set get to her and, unlike most upset bids, was able to stave off the late fight of the more experienced player. Bertens broke in Kerber’s first service game of the third set, but Kerber certainly did not allow her to cruise to the win. While serving at 3-1, Bertens fought off two break points to hold before saving one more at 5-3, as she was able to close out the match and book her spot in the second round.

Berten’s opponent in the next round will be Camila Giorgi of Italy, who defeated Frenchwoman Alize Lim, 6-3, 6-2.

Another notable player to exit the French Open was No. 5 seed Victoria Azarenka, as she was forced to retire while losing in the third set against Karin Knapp with a knee injury.

On the men’s side, Andy Murray was able to fight back from two sets to love down in his match that was suspended from Monday against Radek Stepanek, 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5. After dropping the first two sets to the experienced Czech, Murray fought back to win the third set and was up 4-2 when play had to be stopped for the night.

When play resumed on Tuesday, Murray was able to close out the fourth set, saving two break points along the way, and force a deciding fifth set that was much tougher than he would have hoped.

Murray had very few problems on his serve throughout the set, but Stepanek fought hard on his service games and gave the Brit very little to work with. That was the case until he served at 5-5 and Murray was finally able to break through, breaking at 30-40 for the chance to close out the match.

Murray, the No. 2 seed, was taken to deuce by Stepanek, but was able to close out the win in the end and force a matchup with French wild card Mathias Bourgue in the second round.

 

Djokovic, Nadal or Murray – Who Will Win The 2016 French Open?

The second Grand Slam of the year has started – and there‘s a big buzz about the victor-to-be already. Will we continue to see the same legendary players snatching their consecutive titles, or could we hope for a bit of fresh air in terms of a new star? Let‘s take a look at who‘s the most likely to win French Open.

 

A Debut Title for Djokovic?

While it may sound hardly likely that any title could be a first for a player like this, all tennis fans know that the only Grand Slam that Djokovic is yet to win is Roland Garros.  He managed to go to the finals thrice – and was defeated by Rafael Nadal in 2012 and 2014 and by Stan Wawrinka in 2015. Could this finally be his year?

According to the UK-licensed bookie TonyBet, it absolutely can: the odds for his outright win are 1.80, which is way ahead of anyone else. It’s only fair, too, as the world’s #1 has double the points that #2 Murray managed to collect, and he’s been in incredible form for a ridiculously long time.

Djokovic started off his season with a sixth Australian Open title, and while he did have a blip in his performance when he lost to Jiri Vesely in Monte Carlo, it seems to have gone away. He won Madrid Masters against Murray and even though the Scot managed to then stop him in Rome finals, the Serb remains a powerful contender.

Could Rafael Nadal Make a Phoenix Comeback?

If Djokovic seems to have disproportional amounts of trouble at French Open, Nadal is the exact opposite. He’s got nine titles, of which four and then five were consecutive, although Rafa did struggle last year and only went through to the QF. If there’s a Grand Slam he can rule though, it’s this one: can we expect the old Nadal back?

The TonyBet bookies think that he’s got a fair shot at this as they’ve given him the odds of 4.75 at winning his tenth Roland Garros. The world’s #5 has been having struggles with his form since 2014 when he suffered an injury, and his first Grand Slam of 2016 ended in the first round.

However, since then he’s managed to win Monte Carlo and Barcelona, although he did lose to Murray in Madrid Master’s SF and to Djokovic in Rome’s QF. Nadal seems to have gained at least some of his form back, and the upcoming tournament will really be a good show of that. And who knows – maybe he’ll finally win another Grand Slam title!

Andy Murray to Keep Climbing?

The Scottish player had a pretty good season last year – even though he didn’t bring home any Grand Slam titles, his form was pretty good and he managed to push Britain’s national team to the first Davis Cup trophy in 79 years. Could Murray go on to win his first French Open?

Even though the furthest that world’s #2 has managed to go in this tournament before is semi-finals, TonyBet bookies seem to have a reasonable amount of faith in him. The odds for Murray winning Roland Garros are at 4.90 which is just a smidge behind what Nadal got. Obviously, Djokovic remains a force to be reckoned with, but even he can fall.

The Serb has already been a big hurdle for Murray this year, beating him at the finals of Australian Open and Madrid Masters. However, the Scot managed to win against Djokovic at Rome finals, which is definitely a very good sign – although it remains clear that this is one of the scariest opponents he could face.

Still, we never know what surprises may strike us. A dark horse win is always a possibility, and we have seen that plenty of times in the past. While Djokovic, for example, absolutely dominates the ATP ratings, that doesn‘t mean he‘ll get every title. In any case, there‘s a lot to look forward to in the French Open, so make sure to not miss it!

Germany’s Jonas Luetjen Wins Singles, Doubles Titles At Mardy Fish Tennis Event In Vero Beach

Jonas Luetjen, a 25-year old German three years removed from playing college tennis at the University of Mississippi, won both the singles and doubles titles at the $10,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships Sunday at The Boulevard Tennis Club.

Luetjen won the first pro singles title of his career defeating 21-year old Martins Podzus of Latvia’s Davis Cup team 7-6(4), 6-3 in front of a crowd of over 300 enthusiastic and appreciative fans. After 45 minutes of rest, he then partnered 16-year old Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic to win the doubles title over the No. 1 seeds Deiton Baughman of Carson, Calif., and Anderson Reed of Daphne, Ala., a 10-point tiebreaker deciding the 6-1, 5-7, {10-8} decision.

“It’s obviously a great feeling…it’s a very special day for me,” said Luetjen, ranked No. 912 in the ATP World Tour singles rankings and the last player directly accepted into the main draw of the tournament.

A resident of Schessel, Germany, Luetjen became only third player in the 21-year history of the Vero Beach event to win the singles and doubles titles in the same year, joining Australian John-Patrick Smith in 2012 and American Doug Flach of the United States in 1996.

The singles final started off very tight as the first two games lasted 26 points.

“I got actually really lucky in the first set to stay in it. He started so well,” said Luetjen, who had to fight off five break points in his first service game.

The rest of the set was mostly straightforward from there as only two more games went to deuce, and the set had to be decided by a tiebreak.

Luetjen raced out to a 3-0 lead in the tie-breaker and didn’t look back. He would go up 6-2 before Podzus made a mini-comeback to get the score back to 6-4, but that would not be enough as the German won the next point to take the set.

Podzus, ranked No. 632 in the ATP World Tour rankings, showed some more fight early in the second set as he earned a break to go up 2-1. Luetjen, though, was able to break at love in the next game to get back on serve and everything went his way from that point on. Another break at love in Podzus’ next service game gave Luetjen a 4-2 lead and he would eventually go on to serve out the match at 5-3 for the win.

Luetjen essentially called his shot this week, as he told a German-born Vero Beach resident Henry Doehla after his first-round win that he felt like he could go all the way and win the title.
“I came here and first day I practiced on clay I had a great feeling,” said Luetjen.“I always have a positive mindset.”

That positive mindset earned Luetjen his first professional singles title and will see his amount of ATP ranking points more than double as he earned 18 ranking points for the title and he came into the week with only 17.
“It also gives me a great confident boost,” said Luetjen, who will be playing in another USTA Pro Circuit Futures level tournament in Tampa next week.

“First set, maybe I could beat him, but in the second, no chance. He played so good,” said Podzus, who was looking to extract revenge on Luetjen who beat him in the doubles tournament in Vero Beach, as well as in a Futures level qualifying match back in 2011.

“Unbelievable shots everywhere,” said Podzus of Luetjen’s performance. “I’m very tired now.”

In the post-match presentation ceremony after the singles final, Tom Fish, the co-tournament director and the chairman of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the new organizers of the event, unveiled the Mike Rahaley Cup trophy, named for the event’s founder, who retired from running the event last year. The trophy features all the singles champions at the event since its first year in 1995 and will be soon be fitted with Luetjen’s name.
The doubles final was also an exciting affair decided by a margin of only two points.

“I enjoyed a little sandwich and just carried the momentum,” said Luetjen, of his break between the singles and doubles final.

After an easy first set for the Europeans, the Americans fought back in the second set and won three deciding points in a row late in the set (a sudden-death point played a deuce, which is a feature now in professional doubles matches) to force a deciding 10-point tie-breaker played in lieu of a third set to determine the championship.

In that third set tiebreak, everything went the way of the server in the beginning before Baughman and Reed won a return point to get a mini-break. Kecmanovic and Luetjen quickly answered right back with a mini-break of their own to get back on serve at 5-5, and would later win three points in a row to open up an 8-6 lead. The Americans could not fight their way back from that deficit, as Kecmanovic and Luetjen won the tiebreaker 10-8.

Luetjen was happy with the doubles title, but was happier for his partner Kecmanovic as it was his first professional title, earning him his first ATP doubles points.

“I’m so happy for him to get his first title, he’s so young,” said Luetjen of Kecmanovic, who won the prestigious Orange Bowl junior title late last year. “I’m sure he’ll have many of those through his career.”

Said Kecmanovic, “I played really good. We both played really good in tough points and I’m just happy to get the win today.”

Baughman, the 20-year old American who played in the main draw doubles tournament at the U.S. Open in 2015, gave a lot of praise to Kecmanovic and Luetjen.

“Credit to them today,” he said. “Obviously Jonas was playing well all week. He came up clutch when he needed to and Miomir was playing insane. They made us work and it was a great doubles match.”

Many of the players praised the organization of the event and the facility at The Boulevard Village and Tennis Club as the tournament came to a close.

“This week is very awesome, awesome crowd, very nice tournament,” said Podzus. Added Luetjen, “It’s a very nice facility, I love it here.”

Philippoussis Wins Tulsa Championships On PowerShares Series

Mark Philippoussis won his second PowerShares Series title in as many nights Saturday, defeating both Andy Roddick and Jim Courier for a second straight night to win the Tulsa Championships at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Philippoussis, who won in Memphis in his 2016 PowerShares Series debut the previous night, beat Courier 6-3 in the one-set championship match to earn his sixth career title on the North American circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.  To advance to the final, Philippoussis beat Roddick 6-3, one night after beating him 7-5 in the semifinal match in Memphis.

Philippoussis broke Courier in the second game of the set and was never threatened on serve in the match. Against Roddick, he dug himself out of a 0-40 hole in his first service game and broke serve in the eight game to forge his way to victory.

Courier advanced to the championship match with a 7-5 win over John McEnroe.

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match and, for the second straight year, players make their own line calls with assistance of electronic line-calling.

The remaining 2016 PowerShares Series schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;

 

July 17                  Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame) – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Marat Safin, + 1 TBA

August 21             Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

August 25, 26       New Haven (Yale University) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

November 4          Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish and TBA

November 5         Denver (1stBank Center) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake and TBA

December 1          Orlando (Amway Arena) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

December 3          New York (Barclays Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

 

In 2015, Andy Roddick won the PowerShares Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Mark Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $4 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world.  For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.powersharesseries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA

Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit horizonmedia.com.

ABOUT INVESCO POWERSHARES

Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its lineup of more than 140 domestic and international exchange-traded funds, which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With franchise assets of nearly $100 billion as of October 2, 2015, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us at invescopowershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

ABOUT POWERSHARES QQQ

PowerShares QQQ™, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 Index®, is one of the largest and most traded ETFs in the world. Under most circumstances, QQQ will consist of all of the stocks in the index which includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization.

 

Philippoussis Kicks Off 2016 PowerShares Series With A Bang With Memphis Win

Mark Philippoussis made his 2016 PowerShares Series debut Friday night beating Andy Roddick and Jim Courier back-to-back to win the Champions Showdown Memphis title at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss.

Philippoussis upset Roddick 7-5 in the opening one-set semifinal match, becoming only the second player to ever beat Roddick on the PowerShares Series. He then beat Courier 6-3 in the one-set championship match to win his fifth career title on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players.

“I had good rhythm,” said Phillippoussis of his winning evening. “I was connecting on my groundstrokes and the serve was there. I had a lot of fun out there.”

Philippoussis won the first and final PowerShares Series titles in 2015, beating Andre Agassi in the final of Salt Lake City in the opening event of the Series, then capped the season in Vancouver in the Series finale, defeating Pete Sampras in the final. He also won titles in 2010 in Boston and Surprise, Arizona.

His semifinal upset of Roddick was described by some observers as the best on the Series in a long time, maybe ever, as two of the fastest servers in the history of tennis exchanged blistering serves and rocket forehands in a display of tennis reminiscent of their ATP World Tour days. Roddick took an early 3-1 lead but Philippoussis was able rally back from 3-3. Philippoussis saved two break points at 4-4 with a service winner and an ace before holding and eventually breaking Roddick’s serve to close out the upset victory.

Philippoussis joins James Blake as the only players to defeating Roddick on the PowerShares Series, Blake beating Roddick in the semifinals of Houston in 2014 and last year in the semifinals of Boston and Cincinnati.

To advance to the final, Courier defeated John McEnroe 6-4.

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match and, for the second straight year, players make their own line calls with assistance of electronic line-calling.

The remaining 2016 PowerShares Series schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;

 

April 23                Tulsa (BOK Center) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

July 17                  Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame) – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Marat Safin, + 1 TBA

August 21             Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

August 25, 26       New Haven (Yale University) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

November 4          Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish and TBA

November 5         Denver (1stBank Center) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake and TBA

December 1          Orlando (Amway Arena) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

December 3          New York (Barclays Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

 

In 2015, Andy Roddick won the PowerShares Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Mark Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

 

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based producer of proprietary events and promotions founded in 2004 by former world No. 1 and Hall of Fame tennis player Jim Courier and former SFX and Clear Channel executive Jon Venison. In 2005, InsideOut launched its signature property, the Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $4 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world.  For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.powersharesseries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

 

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA

Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit horizonmedia.com.

 

ABOUT INVESCO POWERSHARES

Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its lineup of more than 140 domestic and international exchange-traded funds, which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With franchise assets of nearly $100 billion as of October 2, 2015, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us at invescopowershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

 

ABOUT POWERSHARES QQQ

PowerShares QQQ™, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 Index®, is one of the largest and most traded ETFs in the world. Under most circumstances, QQQ will consist of all of the stocks in the index which includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization.

Rafael Nadal A Bigger Threat To Win Roland Garros After Monte Carlo Win

It is the ninth time that Rafael Nadal has won the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The win has increased Nadal’s French Open odds. He was crowned champion last Sunday after he won 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 against Gael Monfils in the final. He is now the second favorite to win the championship in Paris. It was an extra special day as Prince Albert II along with Princess Charlene watched from the royal box to see Nadal win a 28th trophy on the ATP tour.

It was the first win for Nadal in nearly two years. The 29-year-old went on a record winning streak of 46 matches unbeaten at the Monte-Carlo Country Club between 2005 – 2012. His run came to an end when Novak Djokovic beat him in the final in 2013.

The win puts Nadal back in the frame for the French Open. His form has suffered in recent years due to injuries and age taking its toll. He showed though at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters that he is back to his best. Many experts are making French Open tennis predictions that he will make the final.

The last time that Nadal won a competition on the APT World Tour was in August 2015. He won in Hamburg beating Fognini in the final.

The final between Nadal and Monfils lasted two-hours and 45 minutes. It was an epic battle and to begin with it looked like Monfils would be victorious. He made great shot selections when it mattered most, and his defensive side of the game was exceptional. Nadal hit his stride though and to pull the victory out of the bag.

Nadal proved he is back to full fitness at long last, and it was his energy that won it for him. Monfils was worn out having to return all of Nadal’s powerful baseline shots. After winning match point, Nadal was extremely emotional falling to his knees. You could tell exactly how much it meant to the player from Spain.

Monfils was graceful after the game saying the better man won on the day. He left Nadal played unbelievably well, and there was nothing he could do to counter it.

It was a staggering 100th final at tour-level that Nadal has competed he. The Spaniard has managed to win 68 of them.  It is the sixth time that a player has reached 100 finals in Open Era on the ATP Tour. He is just a single trophy away from beating the record of most titles on clay-court. The record for the Open era is set by Guillermo Vilas and stands at 49. With the event in Paris on clay-court Nadal’s French Open odds of beating the record have tumbled. It could be a magical tournament for Nadal if he can carry on his form from Monaco.

It is going to be interesting in Paris to see if Nadal or Djokovic will make it to the final and claim the crown. It is hard seeing past them both when making French Open tennis predictions. If Nadal wins, he will beat the record and if Djokovic wins he will claim the only trophy missing from his cabinet. Hopefully the effects of Nadal’s recent loss in Australia won’t be affecting him, and both players bring their best game

Ivan Lendl’s Lefty “John McEnroe Double” Practice Partner To Be Honored In Vero Beach

Kriegler Brink, Ivan Lendl’s left-handed sparring partner in Vero Beach, Florida, is moving on from teaching tennis to pursue a job in finance and being honored at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships during its Pro-Am and Kick-Off Cocktail Party Monday, April 25 at The Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach.

Brink, the assistant tennis pro at Quail Valley Club, recently announced that he will be moving to Dallas, Texas this month where he will pursue a job in finance, real estate or insurance. A popular participant at the annual USTA Vero Beach Futures event since 2011, Brink will not participate this year in the tournament, now called The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, but will play in the pro-am event as a “going away” party to help raise funds for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation.

Kriegler was known as the left-handed sparring partner for Hall of Fame tennis legend and Vero Beach resident Ivan Lendl, who frequently trained with the left-handed Kriegler in anticipation of matches with his left-handed rival John McEnroe in senior tennis events around the country, most notably their match at Madison Square Garden in 2011. Brink was a former No. 1 singles and doubles junior in South Africa and a standout player for Texas Christian University, where he finished his four-year career not losing a singles match in dual-match play his junior and senior years. He worked as an assistant pro at The Moorings Yacht & Tennis Club in Vero Beach from 2010 to 2012 before moving to work at Quail Valley. He played in the USTA Vero Beach Futures five times, with his best result coming in 2011 when he reached the singles semifinals in memorable fashion, defeating current world No. 149 Dennis Novikov in the first round and current and former top 300-ranked player Daniel Kosakowski in the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion and Mexican Davis Cup team member Daniel Garza in the semifinals.

Brink listed his 2012 exhibition match with Lendl in Vero Beach as one of the best favorite memories in Vero Beach, writing in an email, “When Ivan Lendl was coaching Andy Murray, a couple days after they won Wimbledon together, I came up with the idea to ask my good friend Ivan if he will play an exhibition at Quail free of charge, to raise money for my permanent residency. I ran it through the leaders at Quail and they thought it was a great idea!  I called Ivan up to congratulate him on helping Andy win Wimbledon and asked him, he was happy to help any way he can! It was a member only event and the tickets were not cheap but when the members found out that the money is going to help me get my Green Card, if I remember correctly the tickets sold out within 2 days and had a big waitlist. It was the most fun night because it is always fun to hit tennis balls with Ivan.”

Pro-Am slots, where patrons can play doubles with Kriegler and ATP-ranked tennis pros from around t world competing in the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, are for sale for $150 per person (90 percent tax deductible). Entrants will get two hours of doubles tennis – playing with a rotation of competing pros – and will include cocktails and heavy appetizers. Entrants will also receive two tickets for any main draw session of the tournament (April 26-May 1) and a gift bag. The 90 percent tax deductible fee for non-players who just want to attend, watch and enjoy cocktails, appetizers and fun – and say good-bye and good luck to Kriegler – is $80 per person, and also includes one ticket for the main draw of the tournament. A 18-and-under kids ticket for the night will also be available for $40. To reserve a spot, email Randy Walker at [email protected]

“Kriegler has been a big part of the tennis community here for the last six years and our pro-am event will be like a going-away party for him to help raise funds for our Foundation, which is a very thoughtful gesture,” said Tom Fish, tournament director for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships. “Kriegler is a tremendous young man with a bright future in the corporate world. Some company is going to be very lucky when they hire him. We will miss him in Vero Beach.”

Starting in 2016, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation is the new operator of the $10,000 “Futures” tennis tournament in Vero Beach, one of the longest-running and best attended events on the U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit. The tournament, now called The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, benefits the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, a former top 10 tennis star, U.S. Davis Cup hero and silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games. The event was managed for 20 years by Vero Beach tennis teaching professional Mike Rahaley, who made the annual Vero Beach stop one of the crown jewels on the USTA Pro Circuit. The 2016 tournament will be held April 22 through May 1 at The Boulevard Tennis Club.

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,100 children in 15 elementary schools and six middle schools in Indian River County, Florida by providing after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends.” Mardy Fish recently completed his ATP professional tennis career at the 2015 U.S. Open, highlighted by a career-high ranking of No. 7, six ATP singles titles, eight ATP doubles titles and an Olympic silver medal in singles at the 2004 Olympics. He reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and was a mainstay on the U.S. Davis Cup team from 2002 to 2012.

Some of the past competitors in Vero Beach have gone on to succeed at the highest levels of professional tennis, winning major singles and doubles titles, Olympic medals and Davis Cup championships and earning No. 1 world rankings. Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who attained the world No. 1 ranking and helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007 competed in Vero Beach in 1999. Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who reached the second round of the Vero Beach Futures in 1995, won the Australian Open seven years later in 2002. Nicolas Massu, the 1998 singles runner-up in Vero Beach, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, beating Fish in the gold medal singles match. Kyle Edmund, the 2013 champion in Vero Beach, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Other notable former competitors in Vero Beach include former world No. 2 Magnus Norman, former world No. 4 Tim Henman, 2016 Australian Open semifinalist Milos Raonic among others. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Six former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young and Ryan Harrison.

Tickets for the qualifying rounds of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships from April 22 – April 25 will cost $10, while tickets for the main draw of singles and doubles from April 26 – May 1 will be $20. Season tickets that include both the qualifying and main draw events cost $100. Advance tickets can be purchased at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures and by going to the website www.TennisVeroBeach.com

Sponsors and supporters of the 2016 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are as follows

 

Grand Slam Sponsors

SorensenRealEstate.com

Boston Barricade

Laser Spine Institute

George E. Warren Corp.

Indian River Medical Center

Syde Hurdus Foundation

PNC Bank

 

Backhand Sponsors

John’s Island Real Estate

Coastal Van Lines Storage

Indian River Press Journal / TCPalm.com

Barbara Ettinger

Dr. Larry Landsman

Dr. John Sarbak

Citrus Grillhouse

White Orchid Day Spa

Gene Simonsen

Michael & Kathleen Pierce

Center Court

Publix

 

Forehand Sponsors

Rosato Plastic Surgery Center

Kay C. Betancourt, DMD

Jeff & Rosanne Susi

Mello Financial

Jean Ueltschi

Sam & Susie Bell

Cravings

Sue Powell Rentals

William Barhorst

Peter Bernholz Family

Don & Linda Proctor

The Whole Person Project, Inc.

Ocean Drive Plastic Surgery

Ocean Drive Elite Physiques

Huryn Construction

Riverside Café

Barker Air Conditioning

Bill & Laurie Stewart

Steve McCloud / Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

Coggin BMW of Ft. Pierce / Mercedes of Ft. Pierce

Twig Swim & Sportswear Shop

Osceola Bistro

 

Supporting Sponsors and Patrons

The Moorings Yacht & Country Club

New Leaf Designs

A Pampered Life / Disney Spa

Carpe Antiperspirant Hand Lotion

Robert Kowalczyk

Win Detergent

Calvetti & Company

NewChapterMedia.com

Steve Hardin

Aurelija Merrill

Carol Donnelly

Roy & Tish Wissel

Boast

Hutchinson’s Florist

Casey’s Restaurant

Chelsea’s Market

Tennis Resort at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney

Publix

Sassy Boutique

Quail Valley Club

Bottle Shop

Sebastian Roadhouse Restaurant

Busy Bee

Twig

Veranda

Avanzare

Maison Beach Gifts

Center for Advanced Eye Care

Diamond Resorts International

Monreal London

Rock City Gardens

Quail Valley Club

Tina Simone Company

Pogues, Inc.

Kevin Healy, M.S., D.S.

Chiropractic Nutrition and Wellness

Treasure Coast Sports Commission