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The 2016 PowerShares Series Tennis Circuit Kicks Off Friday In Chicago

The PowerShares Series, the tennis circuit for champion players over the age of 30, will kick off its 10th anniversary season for 2016 Friday, April 8 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. The kick-off event for the 12-city tour will be highlighted by 57-year-old John McEnroe, the 2014 PowerShares Series points champion, returning to the venue where he won his 77th and final ATP singles title with a famous final-round win 25-years-ago over younger brother Patrick McEnroe in 1991. McEnroe will be joined in Chicago by rival and former Davis Cup teammate Andre Agassi, the 2012 PowerShares Series points runner-up, as well as James Blake, the 2015 points runner-up, and PowerShares Series rookie Mardy Fish, a late replacement for Jim Courier, who was forced to withdraw from the event with a lower-back injury.

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

Ticket and VIP experiences information – including play-with-the pros opportunities – can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com. The full 2016 schedule with player fields are listed below;

 

April 8                       Chicago  (UIC Pavilion) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

April 9                       Charleston (Family Circle Tennis Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mardy Fish

April 14                    St. Louis (Chaifetz Arena) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

April 22                    Memphis (Landers Center) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

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 + 2 Players 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, 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. 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.

 

American Teenagers Win Singles Wild Card Tournaments For Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tournament

 

Two American teenagers, Adam Ambrozy of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Pietro Rimondini of Boca Raton, Fla., were awarded main draw wild card entries into the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Vero Beach, Fla., April 22-May 1, by virtue of winning wild card tournaments last weekend in Orlando and Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., respectively. Both players will seek their first ATP World Tour ranking points later this month at The Boulevard Tennis Club.

Ambrozy, 18, defeated former 13-time member of the Venezuelan Davis Cup team Jonathan Medina in an incredible 3 hour, 28-minute final 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2 Monday in the final of the wild card tournament at the Tennis Resort at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney in Orlando. Ambrozy served for a straight-set victory at 6-5 in the second set, but faltered when trying to close out the title. He quickly lost the second-set tie-breaker 7-3 and was immediately broken in the opening game of the final set. After fighting off break points to go down a double-break in the final set, Ambrozy held serve en route to streaking to win the final six games of the match to close out the incredible victory. See the last two points of the match here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP8741iARbo&feature=em-upload_owner Ambrozy, who will attend Columbia University in New York City in the Fall, will be playing in only his second “Futures” level professional tournament.

Rimondini, 17, defeated fellow American Christian Langmo 7-6 (7), 2-0, retire (rib injury) Sunday in the final of the wild card tournament at BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Rimondini, who has committed to play college tennis at Cornell starting next season, will be playing in his third career Futures event in Vero Beach.

In the doubles wild card tournament in Orlando, Igor Schattan and Antonio Balau, both 17 from the Montverde Academy in Monteverde, Fla., won a six-team competition that was reduced to one-set matches due to rain, beating Americans Jack Najjar and Joseph Sopko 6-4 in the Sunday final. The Brazilian team won the last four games of the match, winning a sudden-death. three-all game point to end the match.

Ticket and sponsorship opportunities – all that benefit the non-profit Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation – are available for the event. For sponsorship opportunities, contact co-tournament director Tom Fish at [email protected]. Tickets are available for pre-sale at www.VeroBeachTennisTickets.com

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 at www.TennisVeroBeach.com

Milos Raonic Serving Woes Leads To One-Sided Loss To Novak Djokovic – Passing Shots with Kevin Craig

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

  • Ana Ivanovic was given the 2nd quickest loss of her career as Karolina Pliskova beat her 6-2, 6-0 in the third round of Indian Wells in 49 minutes.
  • In the men’s singles final in Indian Wells, Milos Raonic managed to win only three of 30 points on his second serve, leading to a 6-2, 6-0 defeat.
  • Andy Murray was beaten by a left-handed player other than Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2011 as Federico Delbonis beat him in the third round in Indian Wells.
  • At one point in the John Isner-Kei Nishikori fourth round match at Indian Wells, Nishikori’s average first serve speed was 108 miles per hour, while Isner’s average second serve speed was 115 miles per hour.
  • On a negative note for Isner, each of his last three losses have been decided by third set tiebreaks. In each match, Isner held match point and did not face a break point.
  • Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Nenad Zimonjic were able to saved eight match points in the semifinal win over the Bryan brothers in Indian Wells.
  • 16-year old Denis Shapovalov of Canada became the first player born in 1999 to win a match on the challenger level. This comes after Felix Auger Aliassime, also of Canada, became the first player born in 2000 to win a match on the challenger level last year. Shapovalov would also go on to become the first 16-year old to make a challenger semifinal since Stefan Kozlov made the semifinals at the Sacramento Challenger in 2014 as a 16-year old.

Citi Steps Up To Support World TeamTennis At Forest Hills

The New York Empire announced that Citi will be the Presenting Sponsor for their 2016 home matches at venerable Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club, the home of the US Open for over 60 years.

“We are proud to have the power of Citi join us to bring back professional tennis for our inaugural season in Forest Hills,” said Empire General Manager Colleen Hopkins. “There are few brands more ingrained in the fabric of New York and their participation speaks volumes about where we all think the Empire will be going.”

“Citi is proud to deliver special experiences and unique access to our cardmembers in New York and around the world, and through this relationship, we are able to provide additional opportunities for fans to get closer to their favorite athletes,” said Jennifer Breithaupt, Managing Director, Media, Advertising and Global Entertainment, Citi. “Through Citi Private Pass, cardmembers can look forward to exciting offers at Forest Hills Stadium.”

Citi will serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the Empire with prominent baseline signage in Forest Hills Stadium along with VIP hospitality at all home matches. The 2016 season marks a return to professional tennis at one of the sport’s most historic facilities. The restored facility will be configured to seat 2,500 for six home matches from July 31 through August 13. Patrick McEnroe will serve as the coach of the Empire, and former US Open champion Andy Roddick will be a marquee player for the team.

The Empire schedule, promotions and full roster of players will be announced in the coming few weeks with the 2016 Mylan WTT Player Draft taking place in Miami on March 25.  For all other details on the Empire go to www.NYEmpireTennis.com or follow on Twitter (@nyempiretennis) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/NYEmpireTennis). To become a sponsor, purchase season tickets or to get more information, please email [email protected], visit www.nyempiretennis.com or call the New York Empire office at (844) 5-EMPIRE (844-536-7473).

About the New York Empire

The New York Empire will play their first season at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club. The restored facility will be configured to seat 2,500 for six home matches from July 31 through August 13. Patrick McEnroe will serve as the coach of the Empire, and former US Open champion Andy Roddick will be a marquee player on the team. The stadium hosted the US Open Tennis Championships a total of 60 times, first from 1915 to 1920, and then again from 1924 to 1977. In addition, the finals of the Davis Cup were held at the club 10 times, more than any other venue. Currently, the stadium is also used as a music venue for concerts. Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and Mumford & Sons headline the 2016 Forest Hills Stadium summer concert series.

About Mylan World TeamTennis

The New York Empire is one of six Mylan World TeamTennis teams that will compete in the innovative professional team tennis league for the King Trophy, the championship trophy named after co-founder Billie Jean King. For more information on Mylan WTT, visit www.WTT.com.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube:www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi

Main Draw Wild Card Events Announced For $10,000 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation announced it will hold two main draw “wild card” tournaments for its $10,000 U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit event – The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships – to be held April 26 – May 1 at The Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach, Florida.

The Tennis Resort at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida, former site of the ATP Tour’s U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships,  will host a wild card singles and doubles tournament at its facility April 1-3, while the BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida will host a wild card singles tournament also April 1-3.

Information on both events are outlined below. Entry fees benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com) and are partially tax deductible.

 

ORLANDO SINGLES AND DOUBLES WILD CARD TOURNAMENT

Site: Tennis Resort at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World  – 700 South Victory Way, Orlando, FL 34747

Website: www.TennisWDW.com

Entry Fee: $70 singles; $80 per doubles team Entries Close: March 28

Contact: Carlos Goffi ([email protected] (321 662 4170) and Randy Walker [email protected] (917 770 0843) To Enter: Email and email entry fees via paypal to [email protected]

 

PALM BEACH GARDENS SINGLES WILD CARD TOURNAMENT

Site: BallenIsles Country Club – 105 BallenIsles Dr, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418

Website: www.BallenIsles.org

Entry Fee: $65 singles (Singles only)

Entries Close: March 28

Contact: Trish Faulkner [email protected] (561-775-4777) To Enter: Sign up here on TennisLink http://www.mailermailer.com/rd?http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=184980 or email Trish Faulkner for details [email protected]

 

Winners of the singles and doubles wild card tournaments in Orlando and the winner of the singles wild card tournament in Palm Beach Gardens will have the opportunity to earn ATP points at the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championship and move their way up the ATP World Tour Rankings.

On February 22, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation announced it has taken over the management 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, will 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, 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.mffkids.org 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.

John Isner Makes Tennis History Again With Fastest Official Serve – Passing Shots with Kevin Craig

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

  • John Isner hit the fastest official serve in tennis history with a 157 mph serve late in the third set of his singles match on Sunday against Bernard Tomic. In the match, Isner hit 49 aces and zero double faults. The 49 aces is the second most in a Davis Cup world group match, as well as any four-set match. The most aces hit in a Davis Cup World Group match was by Ivo Karlovic in 2009 when he hit 78 aces, and the most aces hit in a four-set match was by Joachim Johansson who hit 51 aces in the 2005 Australian Open. Sam Groth hit a 163 mph serve in a Challenger in South Korea in 2012, but not recognized by the ATP as an official record due to the inconsistent nature of the type of radar used on the Challenger level. Isner also made tennis history winning the longest match ever played, 11 hours, 5 minutes against Nicolas Mahut 70-68 in the fifth set.
  • Marcos Baghdatis surpassed Bjorn Borg for the record of longest Davis Cup win streak. Baghdatis has now won 36 singles rubbers in a row with his most recent loss coming to Irakli Labadze in 2003.
  • Jarrko Nieminen of Finland and Emilio Gomez of Ecuador won their Davis Cup singles rubbers on Friday by a score of 6-0, 6-0, 6-0. It was the first time in history that there were two triple bagels in the same day for Davis Cup.
  • Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski won the first set and first match in the World Group in Poland’s Davis Cup history, defeating Carlos Berlocq and Renzo Olivo of Argentina in the doubles rubber.
  • The Czech Republic improved to 15-0 when Tomas Berdych wins a singles rubber on the first day and the doubles rubber with Radek Stepanek as they defeated Germany, 3-2.
  • Chile has now won five straight ties 5-0 since 2014. They have swept Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, and Colombia consecutively.
  • Andrey Rublev won a challenger in Quimper, France this week. The title is the 10th for teenagers on the challenger circuit since the start of 2015 after Taylor Fritz and Hyeon Chung each won three, while Alex Zverev, Jared Donaldson, Borna Coric, and now Rublev have one each.

Stan Wawrinka Wins Ninth Final In A Row, Djokovic Wins No. 700 – Passing Shots with Kevin Craig

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

  • Novak Djokovic earned his 700th career match win in Dubai, beating Jaziri in straight sets. He is now the third active player with 700 wins, behind Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
  • The 28-point tiebreak in Dubai that was played between Stan Wawrinka and Marcos Baghdatis was the longest in an ATP final since Andy Roddick beat Mardy Fish in San Jose in 2004, also playing a 28-point tiebreak.
  • Wawrinka’s title in Dubai extends his win streak in finals to nine after starting his career 4-9 in finals.
  • There were four finals played last week that involved a player with a one-handed backhand and a player with a two-handed backhand. All four of the players with one-handed backhands prevailed, including Dominic Thiem over Bernard Tomic, Pablo Cuevas over Pablo Carreno Busta, Wawrinka over Baghdatis, and Carla Suarez Navarro over Jelena Ostapenko.
  • Cuevas played seven left-handers in a row, including all five of his opponents that he beat en route to his title in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first player to win a title playing only left-handers along the way. Cuevas played Facundo Bagnis twice, Thiago Monteiro twice, Federico Delbonis, Nadal, and Guido Pella.
  • Nick Kyrgios held all 47 of his service games during his title run in Marseille before being broken in his first service game in Dubai.
  • Baghdatis served up a bagel to Roberto Bautista Agut in Dubai. The last time he had won a set 6-0 was against Andy Murray at the French Open in 2010. Baghdatis has won four 6-0 sets against players in the Top 20, but only won two of the four matches that included bagels.
  • Franko Skugor of Croatia won his first match on the ATP World Tour in six years in Dubai, beating Teymuraz Gabashvili in straight sets. His most recent win came in July of 2010 in Umag when he beat Filippo Volandri.

Mardy Fish Name and Foundation On Vero Beach, Florida USTA Pro Circuit Event

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation announced it has taken over the management of the $10,000 “Futures” tennis tournament – one of the longest-running and best attended events on the U.S. Tennis Association Pro Circuit. The tournament – to be called The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships – will now 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, 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.

“This announcement is all about the future of Vero Beach – to continue this important event and keep it in this community that is so passionate about tennis and to use the tournament to help raise funds for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation which serves as an investment in the future of our community through the kids,” said Tom Fish, Chairman of the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation. “We salute Mike Rahaley for the amazing job he has done with this event that last 20 years and we look forward to continuing his legacy for years to come as the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships.”

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.mffkids.org 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.

“We are so appreciative to the USTA and Mike Rahaley for allowing the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation to take over this tournament and keeping it in Vero Beach,” said Mardy Fish. “Vero Beach is one of the most enthusiastic and sophisticated tennis communities in the country and we are looking forward to seeing this event continue to grow in the years to come. Most importantly, we are excited that the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation can use this event as a promotional and fundraising platform to benefit children in Vero Beach, Indian River County and beyond.”

The annual USTA Vero Beach Futures has an economic impact of approximately $500,000 per year on the Vero Beach local economy. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended events in the world on the “Futures” level of professional tennis tournaments.

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.

 

Roberta Vinci Becomes Oldest Top 10 Debutant – Passing Shots with Kevin Craig

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

  • The WTA event in Dubai this week was the first time that all eight seeds of a WTA or ATP event lost in their first matches.
  • The final in Rio de Janeiro between Guido Pella and Pablo Cuevas had the highest combined ranking of the two finalists in the history of ATP 500 level events. The final was also the first all-unseeded final since Valencia in 2011.
  • Roberta Vinci became the oldest player on the WTA to reach the Top 10 for the first time in their career. At 33 years and 4 days, Vinci leaps previous record holder Betty Stove who was 31 years and 100 days old when she cracked the Top 10 for the first time.
  • In Nick Kyrgios’ title run in Marseille, he became the first player aged 20 years old or younger to win consecutive matches against Top 10 players (Gasquet and Berdych) since Juan Martin Del Potro did so in the semifinals and finals of the 2009 US Open (Nadal and Federer).
  • Thiago Monteiro, a 21 year old Brazilian, made his ATP World Tour debut as a wild card in Rio de Janeiro, and became the first player ranked outside the Top 300 to beat a Top 10 player in his ATP debut since Corrado Borroni beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov in Rome in 1995.
  • In Rajeev Ram’s run to the final in Delray Beach, he beat Grigor Dimitrov along the way, increasing his unexpected head-to-head record against the Bulgarian to 4-0.
  • In John Isner’s loss to Pella in Rio de Janeiro, Isner hit the most aces in a best-of-three set match on clay that he has ever hit in his career, 31.
  • Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin won the doubles title in Delray Beach, beating Bob and Mike Bryan in the final. Marach and Martin saved six match points in the final, including coming back from 5-9 down in the match tiebreak.
  • Sander Groen played in the doubles event in Delray Beach this week. Groen has been in the ATP rankings for 27 consecutive years now, and helped Roger Federer win his first professional title, winning the doubles title in Segovia in 1999. Groen also holds the record for most partners played with throughout his career, as he has played with 172 different partners on the challenger circuit and World Tour level.
  • Marco Chiudinelli won the Wroclaw challenger this week, his first challenger title since 2009. In doing so, he won his 10th consecutive tiebreak.

Sam Querrey Beats Rajeev Ram In Delray Beach Final

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

In the first all-American final on the ATP tour since April of 2015, Sam Querrey defeated Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-6 in the Delray Beach Open final. Playing in good conditions with a neutral crowd, Querrey proved to be the better player on the day, crushing his serve and simply playing at a more consistent level throughout the match.

The first set saw Ram jump out to a quick lead by breaking Querrey in the first game of the match. This was a surprise in itself as Querrey came from not facing a single break point in the semifinals against Juan Martin Del Potro, to being broken in the first game of the final. Querrey was not phased, though, as he managed to break right back in the next game to get back on serve. Aside from one game at 3-3 where Querrey was taken to deuce, the set was straightforward until Ram served at 4-5. After going up 40-15 in the game, Ram dropped four consecutive points as Querrey managed to break to win the set, 6-4.

The second set got off to a similar start as the first as Ram opened it up by breaking Querrey, this time at love. Ram was able to consolidate in his first service game of the set, but came across trouble serving at 2-1. Querrey managed to fight back from 40-30 to win three points in a row to get the break and level the set at 2-2. This time, both servers were able to see things through to the tiebreak with only a few hiccups along the way. Ram saved a break point at 2-3, while Querrey double faulted on consecutive points after going up 40-15 in his 5-5 service game. Both players were able to hold their nerve in those respective situations, though, sending the second set to a tiebreak.

Ram got off to a good start in the tiebreak, jumping out to a 3-0 lead and eventually holding a 5-2 lead. From there, Querrey managed to win three points in a row to get back on serve in the tiebreak, before saving a set point with an ace at 5-6. After the second change of ends with the score at 6-6, Querrey earned a match point and took advantage of it by hitting an impressive running forehand passing shot that just barely clipped the baseline to win the title.

Querrey and Ram both stated in their press conferences that they felt a little nervous throughout the match, mostly because of the fact they know each other so well. Querrey claimed that what got him through the match and to the title was simply the willingness to win, as he claimed that he had to resort to “ugly tennis” to get the win. Playing at a level below his best yet still managing to win a tournament gives Querrey loads of confidence as he heads into an important part of the season with the Indian Wells-Miami double coming up.

The title for Querrey is his eighth on the ATP World Tour, six of which have come on American soil, but his first since the summer of 2012. The win will cause Querrey’s ranking to jump to No. 43 in the world, the highest his ranking has been since September of 2015.

After a down season in 2015 in which Querrey lost in the first round of half the events he played in, he has been able to get off to a decent start this season, making the veteran American feel great about where his game is right now. The title in Delray Beach was preceded by a semifinal run in Memphis where he was only stopped by Kei Nishikori in a three-setter. Looking forward, Querrey has plenty of room for his ranking to improve in 2016 as he has very little to defend. Other than trying to defend two finals appearances, both of which will come before Wimbledon, he only has second round points to defend for the rest of the year, which Querrey is one bright side of “having a crappy year.”

For Ram, he is disappointed to have lost in the final, but making it that far was surely a pleasant surprise for him. Battling past Bernard Tomic in the first round, fighting back from a set and a break down in the quarterfinals against Benjamin Becker, and beating Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals will be enough for Ram to look back at this week as a huge positive, although he did state that “you never come into a tournament hoping to lose in the first round” when asked if he was pleased with his run this week.

Not only are the match results impressive for Ram, but he will also now jump to a new career high ranking of No. 60, blowing past his previous career high of No. 78. This run will give Ram the confidence needed to continue his success throughout the rest of the 2016 season as he will look to defend his title in Newport in the summer and attempt to finish in the Top 100 in back-to-back years for the first time in his career.

Ram stated that he feels as if he is currently playing the best tennis of his career and has high hopes for the rest of the 2016 season. His plan for the rest of the year is to see where he is ranked after Miami and schedule accordingly his events in Europe. He wants to be well rested for the grass court season and North American hard court swing in the summer, the time of the year in which he feels that he plays his best tennis.

After an event in which many people around the tennis world expected Kevin Anderson, Del Potro, and Dimitrov to have the best weeks, it is two Americans who come out on top and head into the rest of their seasons with confidence.