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Schedule Announced For Davis Cup Finals In Madrid

The ITF and Kosmos Tennis have today announced the schedule for the Davis Cup Finals, taking place in Madrid from 18 to 24 November.

The group stage ties will take place Monday to Thursday. One quarter-final will be played on Thursday evening while the other three will be played on Friday, followed by the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday 24 November. All matches are best of three sets, with two singles and doubles match.

The Group B match between Croatia and Russia will begin proceedings on Centre Court, and will be followed closely by the Spanish fans, with Spain also in Group B.

Spain will first play on the afternoon of Tuesday 19 on Centre Court against Russia, following an exciting meeting between Argentina and Chile.

Number 1 seeds France will also play on Tuesday, in the morning session against Japan. This second day of competition will also see Canada take on USA.

A total of 18 teams are competing in six groups in the group stage. The six group winners plus the two best second placed teams, based on percentage of sets won, will progress to the quarter-finals.

The two lowest placed teams after the group stage will play in the Zone Group competition the following year. The 12 teams that finish in 5th to 16th position will compete in the Davis Cup Qualifiers in 2020. All four semi-finalists will automatically qualify for the 2020 Davis Cup Madrid Finals.

Davis Cup Madrid Finals Schedule:

Monday 18 November
Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Russia
Stadium 2 – Canada v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Colombia

Tuesday 19 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Chile
Stadium 2 – France v Japan
Stadium 3 – Kazakhstan v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Spain v Russia
Stadium 2 – USA v Canada
Stadium 3 – Australia v Colombia

Wednesday 20 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Germany
Stadium 2 – Serbia v Japan
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Spain
Stadium 2 – USA v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Australia

Thursday 21 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – France v Serbia
Stadium 2 – Germany v Chile
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Kazakhstan

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group D v Winner Group F

Friday 22 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group A v Runner Up (*)

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group B v Runner Up (*)
Stadium 2 – Quarter-final: Winner Group E v Winner Group C

Saturday 23 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Semi-final (top half)

Evening sessions:
Centre Court – Semi-final (bottom half)

Sunday 24 November
Time TBC
Centre Court – Final

(*) to be determined by draw

David Cup Finals Groups:
Group A: France (1), Serbia, Japan
Group B: Croatia (2), Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina (3), Germany, Chile
Group D: Belgium (4), Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain (5), Kazakhstan, Netherlands
Group F: USA (6), Italy, Canada

Sponsorships, Tickets, Tournament Kickoff Party Opportunities For Sale For Mardy Fish Tennis

Sponsorships, advance tournament tickets, and “Tournament Kickoff Party” opportunities for the 2019 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are available and selling fast as the annual USTA Pro Circuit event approaches April 29-May 5 at The Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach, Florida.

All opportunities are available for sale at www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org Proceeds for the event benefit 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, silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games and the newly named U.S. Davis Cup captain.

The popular Vero Beach band “Riptide” will perform for patrons at the official Tournament Kickoff Party Sunday, April 28 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. A special “shoot-out” mini tennis event, featuring world-ranked tournament players, also will highlight the party. Tickets, which includes two cocktails and food, are available for $60.

Sponsorships are available for as low as $250 and include signage and reserved seating, depending on the level of sponsorship. All sponsorship level details are available at www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org or by emailing co-tournament directors Tom Fish at [email protected] or Randy Walker at [email protected] Sponsorships that include on-court signage are due by April 8.

Tournament tickets for all sessions of the event are on sale for $100 with daily tickets costing $20 and tickets purchased after 5 pm on Monday, April 29 through Saturday, May 4 for sale for $10. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Matches will start each day at Noon, except for the singles final at 1 pm on Sunday, May 5. The full tournament schedule is found below.

Wednesday April 24 – Saturday, April 27
Pre-Qualifying singles event
Main draw doubles “wild card” event
Times TBD, (Free to public)

Monday, April 29
Qualifying singles
Noon start with at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Tuesday, April 30
Qualifying singles finals
Main draw doubles
Main draw singles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Wednesday, May 1
Main draw singles
Main draw doubles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Thursday, May 2
Main draw singles
Main draw doubles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Friday, May 3
Main draw singles – quarterfinals
Main draw doubles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Saturday, May 4
Main draw singles – semifinals
Main draw doubles – final
Noon start with first singles semifinal followed by second singles semifinal, followed by the doubles final

Sunday, May 5
Main draw singles – final
1 pm start

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships is the USTA’s $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament played in Vero Beach since 1995 and is regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended entry-level professional events in the world.

Some of the past competitors at the USTA Vero Beach Futures 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 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and most recently world No. 50 player and teen sensation Denis Shapovalov, who played in Vero Beach in 2016. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Seven former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young, Ryan Harrison and Frances Tiafoe.

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,200 children in 15 elementary schools, six middle schools and two after school centers in Indian River County, Florida by funding 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.

In His Latter Years, Roger Federer Can Accept Losing Just As Much As Winning

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

Since his comeback in 2017, after sitting out for the latter six months of the 2016 season with a knee injury, Roger Federer has been riding on the wave of unpredictability to the fullest. Not that it was not the case before the ill-fated 2016 season, but his professional timeline has come to be cleanly divided along the ever-in-vogue theme of before and after.

That Federer turned back time and continued to do that for much of 2017, and for extended portions in 2018, which included him adding a couple of more weeks to his already existing record as the world No. 1, then, extinguished the idea of the Swiss player being done for good on the ATP Tour. Alongside, it also left many wanting more from him in terms of his results – as if seeking a reassurance that the Federer of old, harking back to his peak in the early 2000s, had finally returned.

Reality, however, has been quite different from such labeling. For while, Federer did seem to control time at the start of 2017, it caught up with him as the months sped by. And across these months, the two have been engaged in the tussle that marked Federer’s career right up to the time his knee gave away.

What we now see when he takes to the courts is a tangible demonstration of him trying to wrestle time trying to reassert his say over an entity that answers to none. Ergo, the display of good days and bad days of play in matches.

Euphoria of him holding aloft his 100th title at the Dubai Open left behind any naysaying the Australian Open fourth-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas – who, incidentally was the same player who had ended his two-year run of dominance at Melbourne Park – but it only briefly covered the weaknesses in his game, which once again made themselves known at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, especially in the final.

The title in Dubai conveniently camouflaged the fact that it took Federer a couple of matches to settle in, in the tournament. It also tamped down on the certainty that the 37-year-old had started to miss a step or two, even though he more than made up for it with experience-filled subtlety and shrewdness. And while, Federer did well to make it to the Indian Wells final, this dissonance proved to be one time too much.

The aftermath of the result in Indian Wells has heightened the murmuration of dismay around the 20-time Slam champion. And though it has not yet risen to the level as seen before-2016, it is no less vehement than how it used to be then. This cacophony of scepticism growing louder, then, forms the crux of the matter at hand. As to Federer being held to such high standards which essentially omit the basic fact that he is human like others – prone to getting beaten and sidestepped by time – which include facing losses, as an athlete.

One aspect where Federer has made his peace with time can then be seen in how he puts his defeats in perspective. Where before, the champion in him scoffed at losses as if he were unable to bear that stain clotting his otherwise pristine scroll of wins, he now understands that defeats are the other side of victories and there is nothing wrong in accepting them as such. ‘

Federer’s statements in his post-final press conference in Indian Wells reiterated as much. “Maybe that’s why I’m okay with it…, because I felt like I’m actually playing, you know, good tennis. Like, in Australia, I wasn’t too down on myself because I feel like my game is there, my body is there.” He added, “I think when you feel that way, you know, you take it more, how do you say, positively? I don’t know how to explain, but it’s just not as dramatic. Whereas, when you’re hurt and things are difficult and, you know, that maybe those hurt more. I’m not sure.”

When seen from this context, Federer’s career has come to epitomise If’s verse that is well-known among the sport’s followers. And if, Roger Federer can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same, why cannot the world, too?

Indian Wells Kicks Off 30th Year of ATP Masters 1000 Tennis

The 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California ushers in the 30th year of the ATP Tour branding these elite events as “Masters 1000” events. Remember when they were called “The Super Nine?”
Indian Wells is one of seven of these such events that have been part of this elite status since the start of the modern-day ATP Tour in 1990, along with Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome, Canada, Cincinnati and Paris.

Both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are vying for a record-breaking sixth Indian Wells title and Djokovic will also be looking to equal Rafael Nadal’s record of 33 ATP Masters 1000 titles. Nadal also seeks a sixth trophy overall in the desert, but he has only won three singles at Indian Wells to go with two doubles titles.

Last March in Indian Wells, Novak Djokovic lost his opener to 109th-ranked qualifier Taro Daniel of Japan. Djokovic returns in 2019 as the world No. 1 and champion of the last three major tournaments and two of the last three ATP Masters 1000 events. Djokovic has not played since winning his seventh Australian Open title on January 27.

Federer held three championship points to make it six titles in Indian Wells before losing to Juan Martin del Potro in 2018. Federer enters the event on a hot streak after winning the 100th title of his career in Dubai on March 2 defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. Federer has defeated 50 different opponents for his 100 titles — 25 of whom are now retired. A fascinating stat regarding Federer and his chief rival Nadal – this marks the first time these two are playing at the same ATP Tour event (non Grand Slam event) for the first time since the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. Federer is on a five-match win streak against Nadal, including a 6-2, 6-3 victory at 2017 Indian Wells. The two rivals could meet in the semi-finals on 16 March.

Chris Kermode ATP Exit Is The Latest Chaotic Move In Men’s Pro Tennis

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

At this point, men’s tennis seems to be a cacophony of chaos. To add to it, the hard-pressing matters are not only being played out both prominently but look to be raging just as intensely within the sport’s inner recesses. The problem is, however, that neither there is a way to pinpoint the origins of this problem nor there is an effective solution in sight.

The ousting of Chris Kermode as Association of Tennis Professionals’ Chief Executive Officer therefore has several connotations as it has various implications. But the one question it raises, first and foremost, is why now when the sport is said to be ostentatiously flourishing? In that respect, the whole “he said-he said-they said” turn of events that is being played out in the aftermath of the ATP Board Meeting in Indian Wells does not enumerate much beyond the offering of reasons as to why things happened the way they did.

So what purpose does the currently ongoing clamouring – of trying to pin the blame on Novak Djokovic and other members of the Player Council and/or on the Player Representatives – serve? For, despite the earnestness of everyone involved – both first-hand and as onlookers into the matter – there are no answers available even as pertinent scepticisms – read, vis-à-vis Justin Gimelstob’s controversial presence in the decision-making – have abounded.

The one aspect that needs to be peered into and pored over deeply, but which has been quieted down, is where does men’s tennis go from here? At the same time, the stakeholders – be it players or those responsible for its managerial side – need to introspect on what can only be considered as a failing of the sport despite its much-bandied-about successes. In isolation, this is bad news. But it worsens when juxtaposed with the mess the International Tennis Federation has inflicted upon itself.

The open rebellion dotting the ITF’s periphery by several national tennis boards, its members and (deprived) players following its Transition Tour muddle should have cautioned the ATP in a timely manner. Yet, even as the ITF finds it difficult to justify its recent actions, which have seen an unequal bartering of the Davis Cup to a soccer player, the returns from which – when filtered to its core – are non-existent to the tournament’s growth and continuity, the ATP did as it felt right.

But in trying to do what was right, the ATP came across as short-sighted, imposing restrictions on the entirety of the men’s game.

Beyond 2019, following the end of Kermode’s term, men’s tennis will have to start over from scratch. The Briton’s business acumen – giving men’s tennis widespread marketability and in turn, leading to enhanced profitability – would be a thing of the past. In the sport’s annals, it would not be a pause but a definite stopping point.
Then, whoever takes over from Kermode, will not only have the onus of living up to the standards set by his predecessor (while attempting to better it) but will also need to live up to the expectations of these stakeholders of the domain who had insisted on making the change, in the first place. Just as along those of whom – including Djokovic – who spoke about administrative changes being necessary will also be at the receiving end of scrutiny, with enquiries flowing about whether the so-called alterations netted positive results.

Djokovic is well-within his rights now to decline commenting on what his personal choice was in the voting to truncate Kermode’s role. But at that unspecified point in the future – if it does come to pass – if the changes were not to work, him and the others who were a part of the present-day decision-making would need to justify themselves as to whether their good intentions came through for the lowest-ranked player as much as for those in the top-tier. It may also be the questions that popped up in the Chris Kermode’s non-continuing-as-the-CEO melee are answered, one way or another.

Pancho Segura’s Great Nephew Matthew Segura Once Again Wins Mardy Fish Wild Card Tournament

Matthew Segura of Apopka, Florida, the great nephew of Tennis Hall of Fame tennis legend Pancho Segura, defeated fellow 18-year-old American Perry Gregg of Chicago 7-6 (0), 6-4 in the final of the “Wild Card” tournament for the 2019 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships ITF World Tennis Tour event on Friday, March 1 at the Sea Oaks tennis club.

It marked the second straight year that Segura won this specially-created tournament where the winner is awarded a main draw wild card entry into the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, Vero Beach’s $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour professional tennis tournament that has been held since 1995. Segura will be among 32 players from around the world who will compete in the main draw of the event April 29 – May 5 at The Boulevard tennis club. Last year, Segura defeated Jack Vance of Henderson, Nevada 6-3, 6-4 in the championship match at Sea Oaks to earn a wild card into the 2018 event, where he lost in the first round to Nico Mejia of Colombia. One of the top junior players in the nation, Segura plays ambidextrously, hitting right-handed and left-handed and also using two-handed forehands and backhands just as his great uncle Pancho did during his Hall of Fame career.

En route to the title at Sea Oaks, Segura beat 39-year-old Brian Battistone in the round of 16 in what is believed to be the first ever pro tennis match played between two ambidextrous players. In the semifinals, he beat Jack Vance by the exact 6-3, 6-4 scoreline from their 2018 Sea Oaks final. In his two tournament appearances at Sea Oaks, Segura has won all nine matches in straight sets.

The full completed draw and schedule can be seen on TennisLink here:
https://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=235635#&&s=7Draws3 Thirty-two players from 11 states and three different countries were represented in the event. The event featured daily crowds of several hundred fans.

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation will also host a qualifying wild card tournament – or a pre-qualifying event – and a main draw doubles wild card event at The Boulevard Tennis Club April 24-27. To enter and for more information, go here on the UTR website: https://www.myutr.com/events/3744 Entries for these events are open to anyone, but players must have an ITF Ipin number in order to play in the official qualifying or main draw events, if they win these two tournaments.

Proceeds from these events benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, the former top 10 tennis star and the newly-named U.S. Davis Cup captain.

Tournament tickets and sponsorships for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are now on sale and can be purchased at www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org Daily tickets cost $20 with daily “night” tickets purchased after 5 pm cost $10. Season tickets for all sessions cost $100. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures. Detailed sponsorship information can be obtained by emailing Tom Fish at [email protected] or Randy Walker at [email protected]

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.

Las Vegas, Orlando Are New World TeamTennis Franchises

World TeamTennis is growing to a league of eight teams for its upcoming 44th season after the league announced expansion franchises in Las Vegas and Orlando will begin play in July.

WTT jointly announced its 59-match regular season – seven home matches and seven away matches for each team – in 2019 will run from July 14-31. The 2019 WTT playoffs, to be hosted by Orleans Arena (at the Orleans Hotel and Casino) in Las Vegas, begin with the league’s semifinals on Aug. 2 and conclude with the WTT Finals on Aug. 3. To view the entire 2019 day-by-day schedule, click HERE.

“The addition of two new franchises in Las Vegas and Orlando signifies the continued growth of World TeamTennis and the embracement of the league’s exciting fan-friendly team format,” WTT CEO Carlos Silva said. “We look forward to many of the top players in the world creating new rivalries, and renewing old ones, as they compete for the King Trophy during the 2019 season.”

Orlando’s team name will be the Orlando Storm and it will play its home matches at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus in Lake Nona, Fla. The Orlando Storm will be coached by Scott Lipsky – a 2011 French Open mixed doubles champion and winner of 16 ATP doubles titles – with Jocelyn Davie serving as the General Manager.

Las Vegas’ team will be known as the Vegas Rollers, and it has secured the Orleans Arena as its home venue. The Vegas Rollers will be coached by Tim Blenkiron – a 1997 NCAA Division I Doubles national champion at UNLV and coach for WTA player Asia Muhammad – with Sally Dewhurst serving as the General Manager.

Orlando and Vegas will begin to fill out their squads at the WTT Draft on March 12 in Indian Wells, Calif.

“The addition of two new teams in two strong markets is a positive move for WTT for 2019 and for the future,” WTT co-founder Billie Jean King said. “This expansion is not only good for the league, it also is another indication of the importance of bringing our brand of tennis to new audiences and our commitment to growing the sport at all levels.”

WTT introduced professional team tennis to the world in 1974, with Billie Jean King famously serving as its co-founder. The new teams in Orlando and Las Vegas join the league’s existing franchises – New York Empire, Orange County Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, Springfield Lasers and Washington Kastles – for play in July 2019.

Among the notable 2019 WTT season-opening matches on July 14, Springfield will open up defense of its 2018 WTT title at home against Philadelphia in a rematch of the 2018 WTT Finals, while Orlando and Vegas play each other in Lake Nona, Fla.

Among the schedule highlights in the 2019 WTT season are the following marquee and rival matchups:

 Springfield Lasers and Philadelphia Freedoms play each other at Springfield (Missouri) July 14 and at Philadelphia later in the month in a pair of 2018 WTT Finals rematches.
 Expansion teams Orlando Storm and Vegas Rollers square off at Orlando on July 14 and at Vegas on July 30.
 New York Empire and Washington Kastles play a home-and-home series on the consecutive nights – at New York July 19 and at Washington on July 20.
 2017 WTT Finals foes Orange County Breakers and San Diego Aviators continue their Southern California rivalry in Newport Beach, Calif. on July 20 and in Carlsbad, Calif. on July 26.
 Orange County Breakers and Springfield Lasers – WTT’s last two champions – face off in Newport Beach on July 22 and at Springfield July 30.

WTT completed its 2018 season on Aug. 5 as the Springfield Lasers, WTT’s longest-running franchise, defeated the Philadelphia Freedoms in the WTT Finals at Drexel University in Philadelphia to capture the King Trophy and its first WTT championship in its 23-year history.

In 2018, each of WTT’s teams incorporated select tennis stars from the ATP and WTA tours – including seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and 13-year WTT veteran Venus Williams, 2019 Australian Open and 2018 U.S. Open women’s singles champion Naomi Osaka, 2017 U.S. Open women’s champion Sloane Stephens, and twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the most decorated doubles team in tennis history.

WTT is one of five active U.S. pro sports leagues which has been in operation for over 40 years, along with the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. For more information on World TeamTennis, please visit www.wtt.com.

About “World TeamTennis” (WTT)
World TeamTennis showcases the best in professional tennis with the innovative team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s. Recognized as the leader in professional team tennis competition, WTT features many of the world’s best players competing annually for the King Trophy, the League’s championship trophy named after King. Since the League’s debut, virtually every major champion of the Open era has played WTT, including Andre Agassi, Venus and Serena Williams, Pete Sampras, Stefanie Graf, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, Bob and Mike Bryan, Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Naomi Osaka. Owned by innovator Fred Luddy, entrepreneur Eric Davidson and tennis icon Billie Jean King, WTT’s 44th season plays from July 14 to July 31, with the league semifinals set for Aug. 2 and the finals Aug. 3. Learn more about the history and league champions of World TeamTennis on the history page.

2019 Invesco Series QQQ Schedule Announced

The Invesco Series QQQ, the North American tennis circuit for champion players over the age of 30, announced its full remaining 2019 circuit of events, featuring 10 total events, concluding in Austin, Texas. The 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit will also again partner alongside ATP and WTA events in Charleston, S.C., and Newport, R.I. The series of one-night tournaments, featuring two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set final-round match played between tennis legends, will feature for a fifth straight year players making their own line-calls with the assistance of electronic line-calling.

The 2019 Invesco Series QQQ schedule is as follows:

Newport Beach, CA – January 26 (Newport Beach Country Club): Tommy Haas def. Andy Roddick 7-6 (2)
Tampa, FL – April 4 (Innisbrook Resort): John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish, James Blake
Charleston, SC – April 6 (Volvo Car Open): Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Jim Courier, Mats Wilander
Maui, HI – May 5 (Royal Lahaina Resort): John McEnroe, Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas, Michael Chang
Newport, RI – July 21 (International Tennis Hall of Fame): Players TBA
Boston, MA – September 7: Venue and Players TBA
Toronto, ON – September 26 (Mattamy Athletic Centre): Players TBA
Orlando, FL – Date and Venue TBA: Players TBA
Los Angeles, CA – Date and Venue TBA: Players TBA
Austin, TX – November 15: Venue and Players TBA

The 2019 schedule already kicked off in January in Newport Beach, California at the Oracle Champions Cup with Tommy Haas defeating Andy Roddick 7-6 (2) in the one-set championship match.

Each Invesco Series QQQ event also features special VIP experiences, including hit-with-the-pros opportunities and special back-stage access. All ticket, experience and event information can be found at www.InvescoSeries.com
In 2018, Blake won his first Invesco Series QQQ year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.

In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four PowerShares Series titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.
In 2015, Roddick won the 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. 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 InvescoSeries.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
Invesco Ltd. is an independent investment management firm dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. NYSE: IVZ; invesco.com. Invesco Distributors, Inc. is the US distributor for Invesco Ltd. and is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.

Will We See More Of The New Acapulco Nick Kyrgios?

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

In the end, Nick Kyrgios made it look easy in his straight-set title-win over Alexander Zverev in Acapulco. And just like that, he shifted the narrative from how he made his life difficult on-court with his behavioral eccentricities to how effortless he made it seem, as if to reinforce the credibility of his talent all over again. But the takeaway is, did Kyrgios intend for the latter to happen? And, if he did, would he stick with this in the upcoming events or revert to what had been his type (until before Acapulco)?

But the thing is – it does not matter either way. So, when there is talk about him replicating his recent results further along the way or of him living up to his prodigious capabilities, there is a passing over of external expectations onto him. This also creates unnecessary and unwanted obligations for him to do well so as to fulfil promises invoked under his name by the audiences – thereby creating a vicious cycle of presumptions and disappointments.

Come to think of it, then, Kyrgios has had no part to play in this cyclical display of unfulfilled expectations. All along, while these have played around him – since he first defeated Rafael Nadal at 2014 Wimbledon – he has been true to himself. In trying to make him change, to make him conform to stipulations – well-established and therefor, expected – the audiences are doing him a disservice and yet again, piling up their notion of an ideal player on his shoulders.

Contextually, then, Kyrgios is no different to other people – in everyday life – with ebbs and flows to match. A random someone finds it harder to make it to his line of work, or finds innumerable faults with it. Yet, there is a dogged continuance in the same work in order to prioritise other aspects of the said someone’s life. Because that is how it has to be. So, why is it surprising when Kyrgios – a youngster – cribs and mouths off about his profession and yet, finds a way to make it work, when he does? If this were not enough, with Kyrgios’ each achievement, a parallel develops in which not only his performance but also his persona is dissected.

After his win in Acapulco, Kyrgios admitted that there were changes he needed to bring about enhance his career. “I’m very lucky to be in this position. I need to be way more disciplined, way better professionally and do the right things. I don’t even have a coach, so maybe I start there,” Kyrgios said, while sharing that he had been jet-skiing a few hours before playing the final. What he said and he choose to do proved Kyrgios’ contradictoriness. As it showed well-established precedents – not only set by other players in the sport but also in general, in life – had their limits, and their exceptions.

In fairness, it would be wrong to say that these quirks would work each time. But in sport as in life, nothing is a given. Wins and losses are par for the course, and for each time Kyrgios has been (rightfully called out) for his lack of efforts, observers also need to equally righteously appreciate his committed performances while letting him be. Tennis needs its share of mercurialness and it would be a poorer place without Kyrgios in it.

India – Pakistan Davis Cup Controversy Brings Politics, Once Again, Into Sports

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

In crises, there is no better arbitrator than sports. Yet, paradoxically, sports (and sportspersons) are the first to be in crosshairs when political discourses go awry. The fallout brought about by flawed politics on sportspersons emerges in various forms, too.

There was Adolf Hitler who spun the narrative of Aryan superiority at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by disallowing participation of Jewish athletes. If that could be regarded as an exercise in moderation (by Hitler’s standards), Middle-eastern violence spilt over before the world when Palestinian terrorists abducted Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Interspersed along the way, then, are the other eventualities involving the non-participation of players – both forced and voluntary – in certain countries.

The latter bias is experienced by Israeli athletes who are often regarded as anathema by their Islamic neighbours in the Middle-east. It is also faced by sportspersons hailing from two nations in the Indian sub-continent – from India that gives the region its name and its immediate neighbour to the west, Pakistan – wanting to travel across the border for tournaments. And, this has been reiterated in the wake of the recent act of terrorism.

The suicide attack on India’s paramilitary forces on 14th February, in Kashmir, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) led to the death of 44 personnel. Even as the nation mourned for its dead, numbed and shocked by the audacity of the attack, calls grew louder asking for a fitting response. And, once it emerged that the bomber – a radicalised Kashmir-native – belonging to a terrorist outfit hailing from across the border, beyond calling out for the engagement of the Indian army, clamouring also grew asking for a blanket ban in all bilateral activities involving Pakistan.

Several Bollywood producers and actors have announced their decisions to stop upcoming movies from being released in the west-Asian country. But the louder impact has been on the sporting front, with Pakistani shooters not being granted visas to play in the Shooting World Cup (starting 23rd February) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) contemplating asking for a ban on Pakistan cricket team’s participation at the Cricket World Cup, to be played in England in May this year.

Narrowing the scope of this problem from other domains to tennis, this frustration also looks likely to spread over to the upcoming Davis Cup Group I tie between Pakistan and India, in Islamabad, in September. Prior to the attack on Indian soil – and on Indian soldiers – the All India Tennis Association (AITA) had cautiously admitted that India would be travelling to Pakistan rather than forfeit it and incur stringent penalties from the ITF. However, the wave of nationalistic fervour going around in the country has made it imperative – and near-impossible – for the AITA to take a like-minded call as the other sporting bodies of the country regardless of the consequences it would have to face.

So, why would Indian tennis – and the rest of the Indian sporting authorities – want to put their reputations on the line? Beyond India, then, why does every nation want to put the onus on sports as an entity to bear the burden of avenging politics?

Shallow as this seems, it is, however, not hard to understand why this has endured for so long.

Between the two nations, sports is about demonstrating nationalism – not just patriotism – as it is about displaying jingoism. When a team or a player enters a sporting arena, their presence ceases to be about the team or the player in isolation but becomes a part of the whole – the country, so to speak. To that end, references to the team or the player’s nationality are sought to be put out in the more beyond cursory acknowledgement. And while it is not right, those who are keen to hype up nationalistic references beyond tokenism in such manner, don’t consider it wrong in any way.

Then, perhaps, it is because of the latter mindset that sports finally makes itself known as a leveller unlike any other. Its spirit was truly reflected in the likes of Luz Long who helped Jesse Owens sprint away to Olympic glory before Hitler’s eyes at the Berlin Games as in tennisdom, it emerged the strongest in the teaming up of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.