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Qualifier Jared Donaldson Reaches Third Round In Breakthrough Major

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

American qualifier Jared Donaldson reached the third round of the US Open on Thursday as he defeated Viktor Troicki of Serbia in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3 6-3.

Not only does the win for Donaldson send him into the third round of a major for the first time in just his second appearance, but it will also propel him to a new career high ranking inside the Top 100.

Coming into the US Open, Donaldson was in fine form as he qualified for the tour level events in Washington, D.C. and Toronto, while totaling five tour level main draw wins. Two of those came over Fabio Fognini and Nicolas Almagro, and he was surely expecting to receive a wild card into the US Open.

When the list of wild cards was announced, though, the 19-year old, who is coached by Taylor Dent, was snubbed and was forced to win three matches in the qualifying tournament. With a chip on his shoulder and the feeling that he still had something to prove, he won his three qualifying matches with ease, not dropping a single set and only getting taken beyond 6-3 twice.

After that impressive run in qualifying, the No. 122 player in the world continued to impress as he pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the opening round, beating the No. 12 seed David Goffin in four sets, including a bagel in the fourth set.

With risen expectations on his shoulders, Donaldson, who only has one challenger level title and three futures level titles to his name, showed no signs of extra stress or pressure as he strolled into the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and left with a routine win over a perennial Top 40 player in Troicki.

After going down an early break in the first set and staring down a 4-1 deficit, Donaldson started to show off the good form that he had been displaying all summer, winning six of the next eight games, including two breaks, to take the first set.

From the point in the first set when it was 4-1 in Troicki’s favor, Donaldson clearly became the better player as it looked like he was the veteran on the court and Troicki was the teenager. The American quickly found himself up a double break in the second set, breaking the No. 35 player in the world in his first two service games of the set.

Troicki would get one break back, but it did not phase Donaldson as he was able to break back later in the ninth game to close out the set and grab a two sets lead.

In the third set, Troicki kept it much tighter and even had a look at two break points early on. The American was able to fight those off at 1-1, though, and didn’t look back. Donaldson would go on to break for a 4-2 lead before fighting back from a 0-30 whole in each of his next two service games to close out the straight sets win.

Donaldson will either face fellow American Donald Young or Ivo Karlovic in the third round.

Donaldson

Ryan Harrison Shocks Milos Raonic To Reach US Open Third Round

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Ryan Harrison upended the No. 5 seed and 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic in the second round at the US Open on Wednesday, 6-7(4), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1.

“This is the tournament you dream of growing up,” said Harrison. “This has been a really special year. I’ll never forget it.”

Harrison’s younger brother Christian also qualified for this year’s US Open, so this event had already been a special one for the Harrison family. Ryan’s performance on Wednesday on the new Grandstand Court only helped to sweeten the already great experience.

The 24-year old American, who has been on a great run of form this summer, got off to an impressive start and made it clear that he would not back down to the powerful Raonic. After getting an early break for a 3-2 lead, Harrison, the former No. 43 player in the world, was broken right back but kept his composure to force a tiebreak in the first set. Raonic, though, looked to take charge of the match at that point as he raced out to a 4-1 lead before eventually taking the tiebreak and the set.

Once again, though, Harrison, who finished with 48 winners, was able to keep his composure early on and not back down. The No. 120 player in the world got out to an early break and held a 4-1 lead before seeing six set points on Raonic’s serve at 5-3. The Canadian was able to fend all of those off, though, before breaking Harrison in the next game, looking like he had fought off the effort from Harrison.

That was not the case, though, as the theme of the match continued. A mentally tougher Harrison fought back again, breaking in the 12th game of the set to level the match.

“It’s mental maturity, a little bit of stabilization with everything around me that is allowing me to play with a sense of calm and also with excitement,” said Harrison of his new mental toughness that helped him battle through adversity in the first two sets to keep the match tight.

Raonic was able to fight through that stumble late in the second set as he jumped out to an early break lead in the third. The match completely turned after just a couple games in the set, though, as the Wimbledon finalist began to feel some physical issues.

After calling the trainer for an issue with his wrist, Raonic began to limp around the court, allowing Harrison to break back to get back on serve before once again breaking in the 12th game to take a two sets to one lead.

“The left arm, the right forearm there towards the end of the third, both quads, a little bit hip flexor on the left. It was just catching me all over,” said Raonic.

The match was well over as the fourth set began as Raonic clearly had nothing left in the tank. After a surprising hold to start off the set, Raonic was broken in his next two service games while Harrison lost just two points on serve in the whole set, including a hold at love in the final game. A fine recipe for Harrison to close out the match and earn his best career win, putting him in the third round of a major for the first time.

“I’m excited that emotionally and from an execution standpoint I was able to put enough in play and be aggressive enough to take the win,” said Harrison, who was able to break the big serving Raonic seven times in the match. “I’m still young. I’m 24. I’ve got a-ways to go, especially with guys playing well into their 30s now.”

While Raonic’s injury played a factor in Harrison winning the match, nothing can be taken away from the American’s performance on Wednesday, as well as throughout the entire summer, as he has earned a spot back in the Top 100 for the first time since January of 2014.

“He’s been playing well…I didn’t create this pressure for myself or this kind of stress on myself…he did that,” said Raonic of Harrison’s performance.

Harrison, who had previously beaten Raonic in Indian Wells in 2011, will take on Marcos Baghdatis in the third round of the US Open.

Serena Williams Will Play With New Wilson “Autograph” Racket Starting In Australia In 2017

Wilson Sporting Goods announced that it will honor 20-year veteran Advisory Staff Member Serena Williams with an Autograph tennis racket.

The Blade Serena Williams (SW) 104 Autograph racket marks only the 16th time in the brand’s 102-year history, and only the second time in the last 38 years, that it has celebrated an athlete with Autograph racket. Serena will debut her new racket at the start of the 2017 season in Australia.

“I’ve played with Wilson rackets since I was a young girl, and to now hold an Autograph racket of my own is a great moment,” said Serena Williams. “I am just thrilled that players of all ages around the world will be able to play with a Wilson racket that bears my signature. This racket feels like me – it reflects my passion, perseverance and drive – and I hope it energizes and encourages those that play with it to always chase their dreams.”

The 2017Blade SW 104 Autograph racket features the new design DNA for Wilson performance tennis rackets. This design includes a simple, bold, and clean aesthetic that features a specially engineered, high performance paint never used in the tennis industry before called Black Velvet. This matte paint provides a smooth, soft, light-absorbing finish Wilson created to significantly improve the “feel,” or tactile experience, a player has when the racket is in his/her hands. This new dimension of “feel” is a unique innovation in the performance tennis rackets space.

The racket also features strong electric green accents, a signature look from the Blade franchise, at the three and nine o’clock positions on the racket’s frame.

To customize her Autograph racket, Serena William chose to add special gold accents to the design, including her signature, initials and the Blade name in gold chrome letters. The racket features a red Wilson-branded butt cap.

The Blade SW 104 Autograph racket is constructed with the latest racket technology from Wilson LABS, the innovation hub at Wilson, including a revolutionary material called Countervail®.  With Countervail in a tennis racket, players feel less fatigue, recover quicker and experience better control – without sacrificing stiffness, feedback, or feel.

Steve Johnson, John Isner Endorsed Gluten-Free ArrowBars Now Available At TennisExpress.com

Arrowbar, the gluten free energy bars endorsed by top American tennis players Steve Johnson and John Isner, are now available for sale at TennisExpress.com

The delicious bars, that are available in Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Honey Oat, are available at www.TennisExpress.com

The ArrowBar is a new gluten-free, all-natural, high performance energy bar, developed by athletes for athletes and active people, that provides a filling, 200-calorie boost of quick and long-lasting energy. Johnson, the new No. 1 American tennis player in the world and a bronze medalist in men’s doubles at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, as well as U.S. No. 2 John Isner are among the endorsers for ArrowBar. Former world No. 4 and U.S. Davis Cup hero James Blake as well as 17-year-ATP Pro Michael Russell are also endorsers of the product.

“The ArrowBar gives me the nutrients I need without comprising taste,” said Johnson. “There’s nothing better on the market than ArrowBar. When I am looking for the competitive edge I need, there is only one thing I reach for.”

The ArrowBar is also offered for purchase online at www.ArrowBar.com Bars are available in boxes of 12 for $24.99 with free shipping.

Wilson Promoting ULTRA Racket Franchise

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., is in the midst of promoting a new high performance racket franchise called ULTRA.  Wilson Labs, the innovation hub at Wilson, developed the ULTRA collection for the All-Courter, or player that hits from all corners of the court, who seeks a racket that is easy to swing, yet provides strong power and offers great maneuverability and comfort. Wilson Advisory Staff Member and Spanish tennis standout Feliciano Lopez is playing with the ULTRA on tour in 2016.

“As we visited courts all over the world to talk with All-Courter players – of all ages — about what they needed from a racket, our Wilson Labs team quickly realized versatility, power and ease were key,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager of Wilson Racquet Sports. “To engineer that experience, we delved into our best designs for inspiration and created a modern racket with a unique frame geometry and state-of-the art materials and construction. For our athletes, the result is a racket that is easy to handle, feels effortless with every stroke, and yet is very, very powerful.”

The ULTRA racket features octagon geometry inside the frame and rounded geometry outside the frame. This innovative frame design was inspired by the Company’s new, cutting-edge BURN® FST racket geometry, which allows players to swing faster with less effort. The racket’s frame is complemented by premium High Performance Carbon Fiber to deliver power in every stroke. The racket is also lightweight and its Cushion Foam handle offers optimal shock absorption for comfort.

The ULTRA franchise consists of four racket models: 97, 100, 103S and 108. The ULTRA 97 combines the precision from a mid-plus headsize with easy power. This racket is smooth and its forgiving feel makes it perfect for both the advanced singles and doubles player.  The ULTRA 100 is best for intermediate to advanced All-Courters, while the ULTRA 103S is designed for intermediate level players who love the game and are looking to improve their performance. With Spin Effect™ Technology creating explosive spin and High Performance Carbon Fiber providing tons of power, the ULTRA 103S makes the game easier for a wide range of playing styles.

The ULTRA 108 is designed for the All-Courter who is building or mastering their basic tennis skills; it is ideal for the doubles player. This racket features a more traditional rounded frame geometry. It has a large oversize head and a big, comfortable sweetspot to provide high power.

The ULTRA is the second All-Courter collection to emerge from the Company’s PlayerID system. The UTLRA line will be available at specialty retailers and on www.wilson.com on December 15  The line will retail for $229.00 (USD).

ABOUT THE WILSON PLAYERID SYSTEM

The Wilson PlayerID system allows tennis players to easily identify the appropriate Wilson performance racket model based on their individual style of play.

Through extensive player research, Wilson identified three core playing styles in relation to the modern tennis game:

  • Baseliner – the player who battles from the baseline with consistency and speed
  • Attacker – the player who attacks the ball early to dictate play inside the baseline
  • All-Courter – a versatile player, who hits from all corners of the court

After identifying which playing style they belong to, athletes can quickly narrow their racket search by model type and weight. Every performance racket for Wilson will correspond with one of the three playing style segments, streamlining the racket selection process and ensuring a player’s equipment is best suited for his or her style of play.

ABOUT WILSON

Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a subsidiary of Amer Sports, is the world’s leading manufacturer of sports equipment, apparel and accessories. Wilson is the global leader in performance tennis and uses player insights to develop products that push tennis equipment innovation into new territories. Through its dedication to creating products that enable athletes at every level to perform at their best, Wilson has earned its place as a leader in sporting goods for over a century.

Serena Williams Ties Steffi Graf 22-Major Open-Era Record With Wimbledon Win

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Serena Williams captured her 22nd major championship on Saturday as she was able to defend her Wimbledon title, beating Angelique Kerber in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3.

Williams, who has been the No. 1 player in the world for well over the past three years, had been attempting to tie Steffi Graf’s mark of 22 major titles since she won the Wimbledon title in 2015, but a semifinal appearance at the US Open followed by two runner-up performances delayed her efforts. Now that the American has grabbed No. 22, though, she currently sits just two major titles behind the record holder Margaret Court, who won 24 in her career.

“It’s been incredibly difficult not to think about it. I had a couple of tries this year…but it makes the victory even sweeter to know how hard I worked for it,” said Williams of her 22nd major title.

In a rematch of the 2016 Australian Open final in which Kerber won in three sets, the 34-year old Williams looked to be the one to get off to a fast start as she had three break chances in the second game of the match. The German, though, was able to fight each of those off, and actually looked like the more comfortable player on serve from that point on.

That quickly changed in the 12th game, though, as Kerber, the 28-year old who was playing in just her second major final, served to take the set into a tiebreak. Williams was able to crush a few returns when it mattered most, opening up a 15-40 lead which gave her a look at two set points. After missing out on the first, Williams, who hit 39 winners compared to Kerber’s 12, capitalized on the second with an un-returnable backhand to take the set.

The second set was completely dominated by the servers as there was only one break point in the first seven games. Williams, though, has always been able to turn her level of play up a notch or two when she needs to the most, and, just like in the first set, that is what she did in the second.

With Kerber serving at 3-4, Williams fought back from a 40-15 deficit and won four points in a row to break and set up an opportunity to serve for the title. Three unreturned serves later, Williams, who hit 13 aces, found herself at championship point.

A brief rally ensued before Williams was able to come to the net and put away an easy forehand volley for the win. Falling to the court in joy, the American had just placed herself in the record books again as she earned her seventh Wimbledon title.

“It’s an honor to play on Centre Court and a great feeling,” said Williams, who faced just one break point in the match. “This court definitely feels like home.”

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Roger Federer Adds To Wimbledon Legacy With Comeback Win Over Marin Cilic

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Roger Federer added to his legacy with one of the most entertaining and astounding wins of his career on Wednesday at Wimbledon as he came back from two sets down to defeat Marin Cilic, 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3.

“Today was epic,” said the former No. 1 player in the world.

Federer, who is in search of a record eighth Wimbledon title and first major title since 2012, not only was down two sets, but also down 0-40 midway through the third set, as well as being down three match points at various times throughout the fourth set.

“I fought. I tried. I believed…At the end I got it done,” said Federer, who turns 35 in just over a month. “For me the dream continues. I couldn’t be happier.”

The 17-time major champion made it sound simple, but the comeback was one for the history books as he earned his 10th win from a two set deficit.

A straightforward first set that saw no breaks and just two break points, both on Cilic’s serve, required a tiebreak to separate the two. It was the 2014 US Open champion who capitalized, racing out to a 5-0 lead on Centre Court before eventually taking it 7-4.

The second set was slightly less straightforward, as Cilic, who had been 52-0 in matches where he was able to take a two sets lead, was able to earn the first break of the match for a 2-1 lead before fighting off a break point in the next game to consolidate. There were no issues from there for the Croat as he lost just two points in his next three service games to close out the set and put himself just one set away from the Wimbledon semifinals.

Once again, the servers dominated in the third set as only five points went against serve in the first six games of the set. It was in that always crucial seventh game, though, that Cilic looked to be just a few points away from the finish line. At 3-3, the No. 9 seed earned a 0-40 lead on Federer’s serve before the Suisse, who hit 27 aces and zero double faults in the match, somehow worked out of that hole and used the momentum to break in the next game for a 5-3 lead. A comfortable hold in the next game signaled to Cilic and the tennis world that Federer wouldn’t go down that easily.

“That switched the momentum,” said Cilic, discussing his missed opportunities at 3-3.

The fourth set, like the first, saw no breaks, but there was a multitude of chances for both players throughout. Each had to fight out of a 15-40 hole early in the set to hold before Cilic had a 30-40 lead in consecutive Federer service games, one at 5-4 and one at 6-5, meaning both opportunities were match points. The Croat again was unable to convert on the big points, leaving the door open for Federer to stage an epic comeback.

The tiebreak was full of breathtaking and tense moments as the players were never separated by more than two points and it required 20 points to be decided. After fending off another match point at 6-7 in the tiebreak, Federer rattled off four of the next six points to shock the Croat and force a deciding fifth set.

After an early challenge in the decider from Cilic, Federer settled in and looked like the potential greatest player of all time that so many have grown to love over the course of his career. After pressuring Cilic’s serve to no avail at 3-2, he repeated the act at 4-3 and was successful this time, setting up an opportunity to serve for the match. No mistakes were made as Federer held to 15, thanks to two aces, for the win and set up a date with Milos Raonic in the semifinals.

“To be out there again fighting, being in a physical battle and winning it is an unbelievable feeling…it was an emotional win,” said Federer, who is hoping to become the oldest major title winner since Ken Rosewall won the Australian Open at the age of 37 in 1972.

“It’s great winning matches like these, coming back from two sets to love. It’s rare. When it happens, you really enjoy them.”

“Amazing Sensation” For Juan Martin del Potro In Wimbledon Upset Of Stan Wawrinka

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Juan Martin del Potro continued his impressive run at Wimbledon on Friday, knocking out the No. 4 seed and two-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3, to enter the third round.

“I feel alive,” said del Potro after his impressive win.

Del Potro, the former world No. 4 and 2009 US Open champion, used a protected ranking to get into the main draw due to the various wrist injuries and procedures he has dealt with over the past few years.

Three separate left wrist operations left the Argentine out of the major tournaments for the past two years, but he has returned with a vengeance and looks like he is already reclaiming that status as a perennial threat to win major titles.

“It’s an amazing sensation for me. I was so happy on court,” said del Potro, who will take on the No. 32 seed Lucas Pouille of France in the third round.

Del Potro, currently ranked No. 165, got off to a shaky start, allowing Wawrinka to break in just his second service game of the match for a 3-1 lead. The first set was straightforward from there as both players looked to gain confidence throughout, especially del Potro, who was able to have a look at two break points when Wawrinka served for the set, but could not capitalize on them.

The 2009 US Open champion carried that momentum over into the second set, breaking Wawrinka at the same stage that the Suisse broke him in the first set, in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead. Wawrinka pressured del Potro late in the set, but the Argentine held his nerve to level the match at one-set all.

The third set saw an early exchange of breaks as del Potro broke first for a 2-1 lead but fell into a 0-40 hole in his next service game and was unable to battle back, getting broken at 15. Neither player had any chances on return as the set needed a tiebreak to be decided. From 2-2, del Potro reeled off four points in a row for a 6-2 lead and didn’t look back, putting himself just one win away from his biggest win since October of 2013 when he was ranked No. 5 and beat then No. 1 Rafael Nadal in Shanghai.

Each player had their chances in the fourth set, but del Potro was the one capitalizing on big points. After forcing Wawrinka to deuce in two of his first three service games of the set, del Potro earned a break point late and converted it to take a 5-3 lead. There were no issues for the Argentine in serving out the match as he held to 15 for the win.

“I’m enjoying tennis again. I don’t know if I can be in the top positions again, but if not, I will be happy just to be playing tennis again,” said an emotional del Potro.

Looking forward to his third round encounter with Pouille, del Potro said “I don’t know if I will be tired or not because I just finished my biggest match after my comeback, but I will try to be ready for that challenge.”

With the top two seeded players, Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem, out of their section of the draw, Pouille and del Potro will be looking to continue their journeys at Wimbledon and take advantage of an opened up portion of the draw.

John Isner, James Blake, Stevie Johnson, Michael Russell Among Partners In New Gluten-Free Energy Bar “ArrowBar”

Top American tennis stars John Isner and Stevie Johnson, as well as former ATP Pros James Blake and Michael Russell, are among the partners in a newly-launched gluten free energy bar called “ArrowBar.”

The ArrowBar is a new gluten-free, all-natural, high performance energy bar, developed by athletes for athletes and active people, that provides a filling, 200-calorie boost of quick and long-lasting energy. The ArrowBar is now offered in two flavors – Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Honey Oat – and are available for purchase online at www.ArrowBar.com. Bars are available in boxes of 12 for $20.99.

Isner and Johnson are eating the ArrowBar while training and competing at Wimbledon this week. Isner is the top-ranked American player on the ATP World Tour, a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team since 2010, a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and a Top 20 player since 2010. Johnson was a member of the 2015 U.S. Davis Cup team, a two-time NCAA singles champion and is expected to be nominated for the U.S. Olympic Team that will compete in Rio this summer.

“Many people know me as a pro tennis player but most don’t know that I am an avid golfer, basketball player and fisherman who loves to be active,” said Isner. “No matter what my days calls for, there’s one thing I always lean on to keep my energy level high – ArrowBar. I truly believe that anyone who is active and cares about what they put in their body will love the long lasting energy and great taste of ArrowBars.”

“The ArrowBar gives me the nutrients I need without comprising taste,” said Johnson. “There’s nothing better on the market than ArrowBar. When I am looking for the competitive edge I need, there is only one thing I reach for.”

Blake and Russell, who combined to play 31 years on the ATP World Tour, were instrumental in the initial creation of the bar. Russell, who played on the ATP World Tour until age 37, was known for his fitness and diet and personally provided consultation about the nutritional composition of the product, testing the bars in practice and competition at the end of his ATP career. Blake, the former U.S. Davis Cup star and former world No. 4, was also involved in the early testing of ArrowBar, also using the product while training and competing in the New York City Marathon in 2015.

“ArrowBar is the only nutrition bar designed for athletes by athletes – it tastes great, has all natural ingredients and is easy to digest, since it is Gluten-free,” said Russell, who said he tried every nutrition bar imaginable during his 17-year professional tennis career. “Whether I am deep in the fifth set, crushing a gym workout, or just looking for a nutritious, great tasting snack, ArrowBar provides the energy and nutrients my body needs.”

Said Blake, “I wish the ArrowBar had been developed sooner because I trust the process with which it is made. The ingredients are natural and beneficial to any athlete or anyone looking for nutrients to help get them through the day. It helps me still when I work out, play tennis, play golf, or just run around with my kids. It’s not a bar that I feel like I’m forcing down either. The taste makes it so easy to eat the bars on a daily basis.”
The ArrowBar name comes from founding partner Mark Arrowsmith, a former University of Miami tennis player who is now the Director of Tennis at the Eagle Landing Country Club in Orange Park, Florida just outside of Jacksonville where he also runs an annual $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit men’s Futures-level professional tennis tournament. Arrowsmith and two other University of Miami varsity athletes – tennis player Andrew Golub and baseball player Rob Goldberg – are the founding partners of the company. Golub was a four-year varsity tennis player for the Hurricanes – and voted captain of the team on two occasions – and now runs Golub Tennis, one of the most successful tennis academies in Florida, helping more than 120 players earn college scholarships. Goldberg, a varsity baseball player at Miami received both his Bachelor’s Degree and Law Degree in Coral Gables. He has worked in numerous projects in commercial real estate and advertising.

Said Arrowsmith, “As a former player and coach, I was always aware of the lack of options for athletes who wanted long lasting energy without chalky aftertastes or having to choke down something that didn’t taste good. While playing college tennis our options were very limited, and it seemed like the options hadn’t improved much since. That is why we set out to create an energy bar that simply does what it says; provide sustained energy while tasting great. I believe that anyone who demands results from their active lifestyle will love ArrowBars.

Said Golub, “From playing at a high collegiate level myself to talking to high level professional tennis players, I knew there was a need for a clean energy source during competition. The goal was to create a product that was easy to eat, that wouldn’t fall apart or melt in your bag and that wouldn’t be tough to digest and sticky on your hands. We accomplished all of those things with ArrowBar and kept the label extremely clean. As a team, we are all very proud to bring this bar to the market and we know this is a need for all active people”

Said Goldberg, “While I do not play competitive sports any longer, my health and staying active are both very important to me. I had always felt that I did not have a good option when it came to the nutrition bars on the market, whether it be prior to a workout or to just get through a long night at the office. When my friends told me five years ago that they noticed the same problem with the people they coach we all agreed that there must be a way to provide a better option, and with that ArrowBar was born. It has been a long road, but it is because we did not want to go to the public with anything less than what we believe to be the best that we can provide. We are very happy with the product that we have created and we know that everyone else will be as well. We couldn’t be happier to launch ArrowBar to the world.”

ArrowBars

Rod Laver To Coach at “Tennis Fantasies” in New Braunfels, Texas October 16-21

Rod Laver, often considered the greatest tennis player of all-time, has committed to coaching at the 2016 edition of Tennis Fantasies with John Newcombe and the Legends.

The 2016 Tennis Fantasies with John Newcombe takes place from Sunday, October 16 to Friday, October 21 at the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas.  The ranch is located 30 miles from San Antonio.

Tennis Fantasies is the longest-running, most comprehensive fantasy tennis camp in the world.  Started in 1988, this male-only event takes place only one week a year.  Approximately 80 campers play on teams under the eyes of Grand Slam champions.  In addition to coaching during singles and doubles matches, campers receive tactical and technical instruction and spend time with the legends virtually round-the-clock, including all meals and ample time at the ranch’s Waltzing Matilda Room.

Laver made his Tennis Fantasies debut in 2014 and is primed to return for a second time.

“Competition, camaraderie and community were the cornerstones of my career,” said Laver, “so the chance to replicate that with dozens of recreational players and my lifelong mates was a real treat.  I’m looking forward to having that experience once again.”

Laver is the only player in tennis history to have won all four major singles titles in a calendar year on two occasions (1962 and 1969).  All told, Laver won 11 major singles titles, including four at Wimbledon.  His brilliant, shotmaking game has inspired such notables as John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Pete Sampras.

In addition to Laver, there will be 13 coaches at Tennis Fantasies in 2016, including six Hall of Famers: John Newcombe, Roy Emerson, Fred Stolle, Mark Woodforde, Owen Davidson and Charlie Pasarell.  Rounding out the staff are seven legends: Marty Riessen, Rick Leach, Brian Gottfried, Dick Stockton, Luke Jensen, Murphy Jensen and Ross Case.  All told, the Tennis Fantasies coaching staff has won more than 150 Grand Slam titles.

“We first started this event nearly 30 years ago and have built a very special community,” said Newcombe. “It’s fantastic, for example, that we have a repeat rate in the 70 percent range.  In a way, the mix of match play and friendship among campers and legends has helped all of us create the atmosphere of the days when we were all traveling the world.  People leave blood on the court trying to beat one another – and then sit down and eat their meals together.”

For more information about Tennis Fantasies, contact Steve Contardi at 1-800-874-7788 or email him at [email protected]