40th anniversary

Tennis Etiquette- Where Has it Gone?

By Kimberly Minarovich

The 2009 US Open concluded and has added another chapter in the tennis history book. Juan Martin de Potro ended Roger Federer’s reign as five-time defending US Open champion to win his first major title. Kim Clijsters’ comeback not only gave her a second trophy, but also put her on record to become the second woman after Evonne Goolagong to win a major after in almost three decades after returning to the game after motherhood.

We honored Arthur Ashe by inducting him into the US Court of Champions. We remembered the contributions made by Jack Kramer after his death. We celebrated the 40th anniversary of Rod Laver’s 1969 Grand Slam sweep (For more on his life story, refer to The Education of a Tennis Player, by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, published by New Chapter Press.)

But, with all of this remembering, have we forgotten our tennis etiquette? Sadly, it seems as though we have. The recent surge in popularity has brought in a record number of attendees to the US Open in 2009 (about 1million for the entire tournament). Unfortunately, these spectators are not only newbies to the game, but are also newbies to tennis etiquette, which has been so closely associated with this gentlemen’s sport.

During this year’s tournament, I was struck by the number of attendees who were infants and toddlers. While I was watching Tommy Haas’ match on one of the outside courts, I was stunned to see a mother carrying two toddlers – one on her back and another slung across her chest. Thankfully for Tommy and the rest of us sitting on the small, intimate court that it was naptime for those little ones. But, what about the ones who wail, scream and cry during match play when their parents are sitting so close to the court? Kids under a minimum age are not allowed to attend live concerts and Broadway performances – both are also live events. So, why are they allowed onto the grounds? I am not shutting kids out of the game, but would mind boosting attendance at Arthur Ashe’s Kids Day! It is no secret that US tennis is losing its competitive edge. So, are we starting these kids young by bringing them to the courts while they are still in diapers? I was so curious why any parent would subject their little one to the hot blazing sun and the crowds that I asked a young couple who opted to bring their two month old to the men’s semi final matches which began with Rafa at noon and ended with Federer’s victory over Novak Djokovic over seven hours later. The father glared at me and said that he had two words for me. “F&%k off!” he told me. (And people were outraged over Serena’s language?) His display of sportsmanship was not ideal. I retaliated and had three (not two!) words for him. “Get a babysitter,” I shot back.

And, what about the cell phones, iPhones, and Blackberrys that ring during match play? And, the ensuing conversations that take place during match play! Are you joking? Should an announcement be made to turn these devices off before of after the rules of the challenge system are detailed? Maybe so.

How about those fans strolling around the stands when a player is in the middle of a first serve? Well, some of those fans look like they should stroll more, but around the track and not around Arthur Ashe Stadium Court. Has waiting for a changeover become a pastime like the all-white tennis garb that was clad by players of yesteryear? I’d like to bring both of those pastimes back, actually! After such poor etiquette from that the last fan that I questioned, I did not dare to ask another fan why that hot dog and beer were so necessary at that very moment rather than in a mere ten or fifteen minutes. Maybe the ushers can help us out on this front. Please do a better job keeping the fans in their seats (our in the waiting areas) during match play. If that is not possible, please direct these people to CitiField across the boardwalk. Maybe they are better suited to sit over there.

In all seriousness, let’s do our part to preserve the integrity of the game. But, the USTA can also help by changing some of the rules and reminding us all of proper tennis etiquette. They acted quickly towards Serena’s behavior so let’s hope they act quickly on improving the behavior of some of the fans. Off-court and on-court etiquette should be back in the sport.

Hip-Hop Icon Jay-Z Designs Limited Edition Arthur Ashe Tee

FLUSHING, N.Y., September 1, 2009 – The USTA announced today that hip-hop icon and Grammy Award-winning artist Jay-Z has designed a t-shirt featuring Arthur Ashe that will be sold at the 2009 US Open. The limited edition Jay-Z t-shirt celebrates the USTA National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network’s 40th anniversary, and proceeds from the shirt will benefit the NJTL and the Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS. The shirt will be available on-site at the Octagon and the Arthur Ashe Endowment Booth, and online at USOpen.org and ArthurAshe.org.

The design is part of Jay-Z’s Rocawear clothing line, which the musician founded in 1999.

“I am thrilled that someone of Jay-Z’s stature would take part in this project,” said Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Arthur Ashe’s widow who remains active in the USTA NJTL network and other charitable endeavors associated with her late husband’s legacy, including ArthurAshe.org. “This shirt will honor the legacy of my husband and remind people of his contributions to both the sport of tennis and this country’s underprivileged youth.”

Arthur Ashe’s legacy will be celebrated on Thursday, September 10, when he is officially inducted into the US Open Court of Champions at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. That day also will feature the 40th anniversary celebration of the NJTL network, which Ashe co-founded in 1969 with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder.

For more information on the Jay-Z tee, go to USOpen.org.

NJTLJay-Zdesignedshirta

Rod Laver Memoir “The Education Of A Tennis Player” Published By New Chapter Press On 40th Anniversary Of 1969 Grand Slam

NEW YORK, N.Y., August 24, 2009 – New Chapter Press today announced that in the 40th anniversary year of Rod Laver’s second Grand Slam, it will publish the Australian’s memoir of his historic 1969 achievement – THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER.

Written with Hall of Fame journalist and historian Bud Collins, THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER is Laver’s first-hand account of his 1969 Grand Slam season, capped off by his 7-9, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over fellow Australian Tony Roche in the final of the U.S. Open on September 8. Laver also writes about his childhood and early days in tennis, his 1962 Grand Slam and offers tips on how players of all levels can improve their game. He also shares some of the strategies that helped him to unparalleled success on the tennis court.

THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER is available immediately via tennis retailer TennisWarehouse (www.TennisWarehouse.com or [email protected] or directly from New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com or [email protected]). The book will also by available at the U.S. Tennis Association Bookstore during the 2009 U.S. Open August 31 to September 13 and via traditional book retailers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia by early 2010. Special limited edition hard-cover editions of the book are available for $29.95, while paperback copies are for sale for $19.95.

Originally published in 1971, THE EDUCATION OF A TENNIS PLAYER was updated by Laver and Collins in 2009 with new content including his recovery from a near-fatal stroke in 1998. The memoir features descriptions of Laver’s most suspenseful matches and memorable portraits of his biggest rivals Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Tony Roche and Pancho Gonzalez.

“I am delighted that The Education of a Tennis Player is back in circulation and available for a new generation of tennis fans,” said Laver. “Winning the Grand Slam for a second time in 1969 seems just like yesterday and this book brings back a lot of memories of the great matches and exciting times. I hope people enjoy reading my story.”

Laver captured 11 major singles titles during his career, including Wimbledon in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969. After joining Don Budge as the only man to win a Grand Slam by sweeping all four majors in 1962, Laver turned professional where he, along with fellow pros Hoad, Rosewall and Gonzalez, were banned from playing the “amateur-only” major tournaments. When the “Open Era” of tennis began in 1968, Laver netted another five major singles titles, including his Grand Slam sweep of all four in 1969. Laver won nearly 200 singles titles during his career and was inducted into the International Tennis of Fame in 1981.

Collins, himself a 1994 inductee in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, first met Laver in 1956 at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston during the U.S. National Doubles Championships. Thirteen years later, the two collaborated on the book that was only to be published if Laver won the Grand Slam. Collins is best known for his colorful television commentary – and his colorful wardrobe – as well as his columns in the Boston Globe. Collins currently works as a commentator with ESPN2 and Tennis Channel.

“Rod Laver is one of the greatest treasures we have in tennis and The Education of a Tennis Player is one of our sports most important literary works,” said Collins. “Rod was always so humble and gracious, but he could play tennis like a hurricane. He was as a great a champion as we have ever had in tennis and one of the all-time nicest guys.”

New Chapter Press is also the publisher of THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS by Bud Collins, THE ROGER FEDERER STORY: QUEST FOR PERFECTION by Rene Stauffer and BOYCOTT: STOLEN DREAMS OF THE 1980 MOSCOW OLYMPIC GAMES by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli among others. More information on New Chapter Press can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com.