Carly Gullickson

Springfield rallies to top New York Sportimes

Springfield’s doubles tandem of Jean Anderson and Rik DeVoest won the last five games of their doubles match against John McEnroe and Travis Parrott to defeat the host New York Sportimes, 20-17, in World TeamTennis action on Randall’s Island in New York tonight.

The Sportimes (6-4) had won eight straight games to take a 17-15 lead and appeared headed for the win before Anderson and DeVoest pulled out the victory for the Lasers (3-6).

DeVoest started things for Springfield, edging Jesse Witten in a tiebreaker, before the women’s duo of Carly Gullickson and Lilia Osterloh extended the Lasers’ margin to 10-5 with a 5-1 triumph in the second event. Gullickson then teamed with DeVoest to edge the Sportimes’ Marquee team of Martina Hingis and John McEnroe, 5-4.

But Hingis swept the women’s singles event, 5-0, over Osterloh (with Gullickson replacing her in the fifth game), to pull the Sportimes to within a single point at 15-14.

Second-place New York visits Kansas City on Saturday to take on the Exporers, led by Bryan Brothers, then play two matches in Albany on Monday and Tuesday before concluding the regular season at home vs. first-place Washington and Serena Williams on Wednesday. Springfield returns home to take on Philadelphia on Saturday.

World TeamTennis at New York

Springfield Lasers 20, New York Sportimes 17

Men’s singles: Rik DeVoest (Spring.) def. Jesse Witten (N.Y.), 5-4
Women’s doubles: Carly Gullickson/Lilia Osterloh (Spring.) def. Martina Hingis/Katie O’Brien, 5-1
Mixed doubles: Carly Gullickson/Rik DeVoest (Spring.) def. Martina Hingis/John McEnroe, 5-4
Women’s singles: Martina Hingis (N.Y.) def. Lilia Osterloh (Carly Gullickson substitution, game 5), 5-0
Men’s doubles: Jean Andersen/Rik DeVoest (Spring.) def. John McEnroe/Travis Parrott 5-3

WORLD TEAM TENNIS ROSTERS FINALIZED IN DRAFT

NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 16, 2010) – The defending World TeamTennis Champion Washington Kastles selected American Bobby Reynolds with the top overall selection in the 2010 WTT Roster Player Draft held today from WTT headquarters in New York City.  Players from 16 countries were selected in Tuesday’s Roster Draft as teams completed their lineups for the League’s 35th season beginning July 5.

Last month, teams selected an all-star lineup of marquee players including Martina Hingis (New York Buzz), Andy Roddick (Philadelphia Freedoms), Venus Williams (Washington Kastles), Serena Williams (Washington Kastles), James Blake (Boston Lobsters), Anna Kournikova (St. Louis Aces), Lindsay Davenport (St. Louis Aces), Maria Sharapova (Newport Beach Breakers), John McEnroe (New York Sportimes) and Kim Clijsters (New York Sportimes).

Reynolds, who was ranked as high as No. 63 in singles and No. 46 in doubles in 2009, is making a comeback after returning from a left wrist injury that sidelined him for the final three months of the ATP Tour season.  Reynolds joins a Kastles squad that includes Venus Williams, Serena Williams, former WTT Female MVPs Angela Haynes and Rennae Stubbs, along with 2009 Male MVP Leander Paes.

American Scoville Jenkins joins Martina Hingis on the New York Buzz lineup. Hingis, who will play the entire season for the Albany-based Buzz, is also joined by Sarah Borwell of Great Britain and rising US amateur Alex Domijan who played for the Buzz in 2009.

Jarmila Gadjosova Groth, the 2007 WTT Female Rookie of the Year, returns to Kansas City for her second WTT season.  The Explorers picked up Groth in the first round and added her husband Sam Groth with their fourth round selection.

The Sacramento Capitals picked up the 2009 Female MVP Vania King in a deal that sent their first-round draft pick Carly Gullickson to the Springfield Lasers.  This will be the second WTT season for Gullickson, who won the 2009 US Open Mixed Doubles Championship.

In other first round action, the Boston Lobsters protected fan favorite Jan-Michael Gambill while the New York Sportimes kept their rights to Robert Kendrick.

The World TeamTennis Pro League, which celebrates its 35th season this July, includes teams in 10 markets throughout the U.S.  Each team will play a total of 14 matches during the three-week regular season, July 5-22.  The top two teams from both the Western and Eastern Conferences advance to the WTT Conference Championships on July 23 with the winners playing for the WTT Championship on July 25.  Teams in the Western Conference are the Kansas City Explorers, Newport Beach Breakers, Sacramento Capitals, St. Louis Aces and Springfield Lasers.  Teams in the Eastern Conference are the Boston Lobsters, New York Buzz, New York Sportimes, Philadelphia Freedoms and Washington Kastles.

The WTT Pro League was co-founded by Billie Jean King in the early 1970s.  Each team has a coach, two male and two female players who play singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches.

For details on the complete draft results and the 2010 schedule, visit www.WTT.com.

WTT ROSTER DRAFT – March 16, 2010 – NEW YORK, N.Y.

ROUND 1:

  1. # WASHINGTON KASTLES: Bobby Reynolds
  2. NEW YORK BUZZ: Scoville Jenkins
  3. ST. LOUIS ACES: Andrei Pavel
  4. KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS: Jarmila Groth
  5. % SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Carly Gullickson
  6. BOSTON LOBSTERS: Jan-Michael Gambill (protection)
  7. ^ KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS: Ricardo Mello
  8. NEW YORK SPORTIMES: Robert Kendrick (protection)
  9. % SPRINGFIELD LASERS: Vania King (protection)
  10. WASHINGTON KASTLES: Leander Paes (protection)

ROUND 2:

  1. * PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Ramon Delgado
  2. NEW YORK BUZZ: Sarah Borwell
  3. ST. LOUIS ACES: Liga Dekmeijere (protection)
  4. KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS: Kveta Peschke (protection)
  5. SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Dusan Vemic
  6. BOSTON LOBSTERS: Eric Butorac
  7. NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS: Julie Ditty (protection)
  8. NEW YORK SPORTIMES: Jesse Witten (protection)
  9. SPRINGFIELD LASERS: Martin Damm (protection)
  10. WASHINGTON KASTLES: Rennae Stubbs (protection)

ROUND 3:

PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Noppawan Lertcheewakarn

NEW YORK BUZZ: Alex Domijan

ST. LOUIS ACES: Tripp Phillips (protection)

^ NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS: Lester Cook

% SPRINGFIELD LASERS: Rik de Voest

BOSTON LOBSTERS: Coco Vandeweghe

NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS: David Martin

NEW YORK SPORTIMES: Abigail Spears (protection)

SPRINGFIELD LASERS: Chani Scheepers (protection)

# PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Prakash Amritraj

ROUND 4:

PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Courtney Nagle

@ SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Riza Zalameda

ST. LOUIS ACES: PASS

KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS: Sam Groth

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Brett Joelson

BOSTON LOBSTERS: Raquel Kops-Jones (protection)

NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS: Marie-Eve Pelletier

NEW YORK SPORTIMES: Ashley Harkleroad (protection)

% SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: PASS

~ WASHINGTON KASTLES: Angela Haynes (protection)

DRAFT NOTES:

ROUND ONE:

# Philadelphia Freedoms traded their first round draft pick to the Washington Kastles for the Kastles’ third round draft pick and financial consideration.

% Sacramento Capitals traded Carly Gullickson and 3rd round draft pick position to the Springfield Lasers for Vania King and the Lasers’ 4th round draft pick position.

^ The Newport Beach Breakers traded their first round draft pick to the Kansas City Explorers for the Explorers’ third round draft pick and financial consideration.

ROUND TWO:

* The Newport Beach Breakers traded the rights for Ramon Delgado to the Philadelphia Freedoms for financial consideration.

ROUND FOUR:

@ The New York Buzz sold their fourth round draft position to the Sacramento Capitals for financial consideration.

~ The Sacramento Capitals have traded the rights for Angela Haynes to the Washington Kastles for financial consideration.

2010 WTT Pro League full rosters (including marquee and roster players)

BOSTON LOBSTERS: James Blake, Eric Butorac, Jan-Michael Gambill, Coco Vandeweghe, Raquel Kops-Jones.  Coach Bud Schultz.

KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS: Jarmila Groth, Sam Groth, Kveta Peschke, Ricardo Mello.  Coach: Brent Haygarth.

PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Prakash Amritraj, Ramon Delgado, Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, Courtney Nagle, Andy Roddick.  Coach:  Craig Kardon

NEW YORK BUZZ: Sarah Borwell, Alex Domijan, Martina Hingis, Scoville Jenkins.  Coach Jay Udwadia.

NEW YORK SPORTIMES: Kim Clijsters, Ashley Harkleroad, Robert Kendrick, John McEnroe, Abigail Spears, Jesse Witten.  Coach Chuck Adams.

NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS: Lester Cook, Julie Ditty¸ David Martin, Marie-Eve Pelletier, Maria Sharapova.  Coach Trevor Kronemann.

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Brett Joelson, Vania King, Dusan Vemic, Riza Zalameda.

ST. LOUIS ACES: Lindsay Davenport, Liga Dekmeijere, Anna Kournikova, Andrei Pavel, Tripp Phillips.  Coach: Rick Leach.

SPRINGFIELD LASERS: Martin Damm, Rik De Voest, Carly Gullickson, Chani Scheepers.  Coach: John-Laffnie de Jager.

WASHINGTON KASTLES: Angela Haynes, Leander Paes, Bobby Reynolds, Rennae Stubbs, Serena Williams, Venus Williams.  Coach: Murphy Jensen.


Tennis great Jack Kramer dies at 88: This Week in Tennis Business

From tennis legend Jack Kramer passing away at the age of 88 to a possible Justine Henin press conference this week to announce her comeback to US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro earning a winner’s paycheck of $1.6 million plus an additional $250,000 for finishing third in the Olympus US Open Series to Serena Williams being fined $10,500 for her outburst during her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters at the US Open, these stories caught the attention of tennis fans and insiders this week.

  • Tennis legend and the first executive director of the ATP Tour, Jack Kramer passed away at the age of 88 on Saturday at his Los Angeles home. Kramer, who won Wimbledon in 1947 and the U.S. Championships in 1946 and 1947, was the top ranked player in the world for most of the late 1940’s. “Jack Kramer was truly one of the greats of the game and was instrumental in the growth and development of the sport in so many ways, both on and off the court,” said ATP Executive Chairman and President Adam Helfant. “He was like a father figure to so many in tennis and his wisdom, enthusiasm and advice will be sadly missed. On behalf of everybody at the ATP, I would like to pass on our sincere condolences to his family.”

  • According to Belgian television station RTBF, former world No. 1 Justine Henin has ordered 14 racquets and may hold a press conference as early as this week to announce her return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

  • By winning the US Open men’s singles title on Monday evening, Juan Martin del Potro earned a winner’s paycheck of $1.6 million plus an additional $250,000 for finishing third in the Olympus US Open Series. Women’s champion Kim Clijsters earned a winner’s paycheck of $1.6 million. Men’s doubles champions Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy and women’s doubles champions Venus and Serena Williams each split a winner’s paycheck of $420,000. Mixed doubles champions Travis Parrott and Carly Gullickson spilt the winner’s paycheck of $150,000.

  • Serena Williams was fined the maximum $10,000 by the US Open for unsportsmanlike conduct following her tirade during her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters. Williams was also fined $500 for racquet abuse during her loss. The Grand Slam Committee is currently looking into the incident and could force more fines and a suspension.

  • Writing on her official website, Serena Williams says, “I want to amend my press statement of yesterday, and want to make it clear as possible – I want to sincerely apologize FIRST to the lines woman, Kim Clijsters, the USTA, and tennis fans everywhere for my inappropriate outburst.” “I’m a woman of great pride, faith and integrity, and I admit when I’m wrong.  I need to make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately and it’s not the way to act — win or lose, good call or bad call in any sport, in any manner. I like to lead by example.  We all learn from experiences both good and bad, I will learn and grow from this, and be a better person as a result.”

  • US Open officials announced that they are ready to start developing plans to build a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium but the final decision on when and if they actually will build a roof is a little bit away. The estimated cost to build a roof would be around $100 million. “We are substantially farther along the road of consideration than we were six months ago,” said Gordon Smith, Executive Director of the USTA. “It will be some time before there’s any decision made on whether or not to go forward with the roof.”

  • According to a study by Barclays and Professor Tom Cannon of the University of Liverpool, the British economy has increased by $405 million (UK) because of Andy Murray’s recent rise to No. 2 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. With Murray’s popularity rising at a fast pace, people are spending lots of money on everything from equipment to advertising to sponsorship. Cannon also mentioned in his study that the $1 billion (UK) spending gap between tennis and golf will soon close.

  • A LeRoy Neiman watercolor painting of Serena and Venus Williams, that was expected to be sold around $60,000, received no bids during a recent US Open auction in New York. The proceeds of some of the other items benefited USTA Serves, which funds community tennis programs and college scholarships.

  • Melanie Oudin’s magical run to the quarterfinals at the US Open was a ratings winner for ESPN2. About 2,324,000 viewers tuned in during Oudin’s loss to Caroline Wozniacki. The night before during the Venus Williams vs. Flavia Pennetta match and Rafael Nadal vs. Gael Monfils match, 2,128,000 viewers tuned in to watch.

  • BackOffice Associates, LLC, has announced that Melanie Oudin has signed a multi-year promotional partnership. BackOffice Associates, LLC, is the world leader in SAP data quality.

  • The organizers of the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 presented by Rolex are giving fans the opportunity to vote on which trophy they would like to see presented to the tournament champion. Malaysian manufacturer, Royal Selangor, has created three trophies that fans can vote for on the official tournament website. Each person who votes for the trophy will be signed up for a chance to win a trip to Malaysia to see the trophy being made.

  • At the recent Legends Ball held at the Cipriani on 42nd Street in New York City, the following awards were given:

      • Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon received the Joseph F. Cullman III award.

      • Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe accepted the Eugene L. Scott award for her husband, the late Arthur Ashe.

      • Martina Navratilova earned the Danzig award.

      • Fred Stolle received the Johnston award.

  • More than $130,000 was raised during a silent auction at the Legends Ball. $18,000 was raised for a hitting session with Monica Seles, $6,000 for a hitting session with Jim Courier and $15,000 for a men’s and women’s finals travel package to Wimbledon.

  • Roger Rasheed, coach of Gael Monfils, and Vlado Platenik, coach of Dominika Cibulkova, are spearheading a new organization called, Tour Level Tennis Coaches Association, to support coaches and trainers by offering them benefits, forms of insurance, financial services, job training and mentoring.

  • On September 11, CNN’s Tony Harris and Natalie Morales of The Today Show on NBC hosted a Breaking the Barriers reception to honor the National Junior Tennis League on the 40th anniversary of its founding by Arthur Ashe.

  • Rafael Nadal will not play Davis Cup this weekend for Spain’s semifinal tie against Israel due to an abdominal injury. Juan Carlos Ferrero will take Nadal’s spot on the roster.

  • Roger Federer is scheduled to compete for Switzerland this weekend during their World Group Playoff match against Italy.

  • Andy Murray announced that he is fit to participate this weekend in Great Britain’s Davis Cup Zonal tie against Poland.

  • ATP World Tour CEO Adam Helfant said the tour is looking into an All-Star event for the players that will happen right before the Indian Wells Masters 1000 event. “We’ve talked to our players about it and our players are excited about it and committed to it,” said Helfant.

  • According to the Melbourne Herald Sun, former Australian tennis star Mark Philippoussis has sold his family house in Australia to pay off an outstanding mortgage. Philippoussis is still being sought out by American tax authorities for $500,000.

Mondays With Bob Greene: I can’t believe this happened

STARS

(US Open)

Men’s singles:

Women’s singles: Kim Clijsters beat Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 6-3

Men’s doubles: Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy beat Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles 3-6 6-3 6-2

Women’s doubles: Serena Williams and Venus Williams beat Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-2 6-2

Mixed doubles: Carly Gullickson and Travis Parrott beat Cara Black and Leander Paes 6-2 6-4

Boys’ singles: Bernard Tomic beat Chase Buchanan 6-1 6-3

Girls’ singles: Heather Watson beat Yana Buchina 6-4 6-1

Boys’ doubles: Cheng Peng Hsieh and Marton Fucsovics beat Julien Obry and Adrien Puget 7-6 (5) 5-7 10-1 (match tiebreak)

Girls’ doubles: Valeria Solovieva and Maryna Zanevska beat Elena Bogdan and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 1-6 6-3 10-7 (match tiebreak)

Men’s wheelchair singles: Shingo Kunieda beat Maikel Scheffers 6-0 6-0

Men’s wheelchair doubles: Stephane Houdet and Stefan Olsson beat Maikel Scheffers and Ronald Vink 6-4 4-6 6-4

Women’s wheelchair singles: Esther Vergeer beat Korie Homan 6-0 6-0

Women’s wheelchair doubles: Esther Vergeer and Korie Homan beat Daniela DiToro and Florence Gravellier 6-2 6-2

OTHER:

Alberto Martin beat Carlos Berlocq 6-3 6-3 to win the AON Open Challenger in Genoa, Italy

SAYING

“When I would have a dream, it was to win the US Open, and the other one is to be like Roger. One is done.” – Juan Martin del Potro, after beating Roger Federer and winning the US Open men’s singles.

“Five was great, four was great, too. Six would have been a dream, too. Can’t have them all. I’ve had an amazing summer and a great run. I’m not too disappointed just because I thought I played another wonderful tournament.” – Roger Federer, after losing the US Open men’s singles final to Juan Martin del Potro.

“I can’t believe this happened. Because it still seems so surreal that in my third tournament back I won my second Grand Slam. Because it wasn’t in the plan. I just wanted to come here and get a feel for it all over again, play a Grand Slam so to start the next year I didn’t have to go through all the new experiences over.” – Kim Clijsters, who won her second straight US Open women’s title four years after her first title.

“I think that I’ll learn that it pays to always play your best and always be your best and always act your best no matter what. And I think that I’m young and I feel like in life everyone has to have experience that they take and that they learn from, and I think that’s great that I have an opportunity to still b e physically fit to go several more years and learn from the past.” – Serena Williams, after losing her semifinal to Kim Clijsters after receiving a point penalty on match point.

“I cannot really tell that I was playing bad. She was playing good.” – Kateryna Bondarenko, after losing to Yanina Wickmayer.

“Today, I could’ve been better in pretty much every part of my game, whether it was mental, forehand, backhand, return.” – Andy Murray, after losing his fourth-round match to Marin Cilic.

“I lost it myself because I made so many unforced errors. So many unforced errors, you can’t win against anybody. No chance.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, after committing 69 unforced errors in her three-set loss to Caroline Wozniacki.

“I was thinking, every point, do the same, try to put the ball in the court. When you fight that way to the final point, you have many chances, and that’s what happened today.” – Juan Martin del Potro, after his quarterfinal win.

“I think the biggest weapon can be mental toughness. It doesn’t have to be a stroke or a shot or anything like that. If you’re mentally tough out there, then you can beat anyone.” – Melanie Oudin, after beating Maria Sharapova to advance to the fourth round.

STARTING NEW ERA

By winning the US Open, Juan Martin del Potro became only the third player to beat both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the same tournament. He also became the first player this year to defeat the world’s top three players, having also beat Andy Murray in Madrid, Spain. Del Potro is the first South American to be in the US Open final since fellow Argentine Guillermo Vilas won in 1977, and the first South African to be in a Grand Slam final since Fernando Gonzalez of Chile lost to Federer in the 2007 Australian Open.

SO SWEET, SO WRONG

After he ran onto the court to kiss Rafael Nadal, a New York City man, Noam U. Aorta, was arrested and charged with trespassing. Aorta jumped out of the stands after Nadal beat Gael Monfils in a fourth-round match. “For me it wasn’t a problem. The guy was really nice,” Nadal said. “He said, ‘I love you,’ and he kissed me.” District Attorney Richard Brown called it “particularly disturbing” since Aorta made physical contact with Nadal, noting that Monica Seles was stabbed in 1993 by a spectator who jumped out of the stands in Hamburg, Germany.

SAFINA STILL ON TOP

Serena Williams lost the chance to move back into the number one spot on the women’s tennis tour. The American could have replaced Dinara Safina on the top of the rankings if she had successfully defended her US Open title. Instead, she lost to eventual champion Kim Clijsters in the semifinals and, consequently, will remain in the number two spot.

The US Open was the third tournament back for US Open champion Kim Clijsters since she ended her two-year retirement. And you need to play three tournaments to get a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranking. In this week’s rankings, Clijsters is number 19 in the world.

SEASON-ENDING QUALIFIERS

The world’s top doubles team, Cara Black and Liezel Huber, are the first to qualify for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, which will be held October 27-November 1 in Doha, Qatar. It will be the third trip the final Championships for Black and Huber, having clinched the title in the last two years. The top four doubles teams will compete for the title. Two players have already qualified for the eight-player singles competition, Dinara Safina and Serena Williams.

STANDING FOR ELECTION

Doubles players will get a chance to shine in the 2010 International Tennis Hall of Fame ITHF) balloting. The ITHF announced the names of the 12 nominees for possible induction into the Newport, Rhode Island, shrine next year, including Beatrizs “Gigi” Fernandez, Natasha Zvereva, Todd Woodbridge, Mark Woodforde and Anders Jarryd. On the ballot in the Master Player category are Owen Davidson, Peter Fleming and Bob Lutz, while the Contributor category has four nominees: wheelchair tennis pioneer Brad Parks, coach Nick Bollettieri, Lawn Tennis Association chairman Derek Hardwick and Japan’s Eichi Kawatei. Voting for the 2010 ballot will take place over the next several months with an announcement of the induction class scheduled for January. The Class of 2010 induction ceremony will be held July 10 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.

SUGIYAMA RETIRING

Ai Sugiyama is ready to say sayonara. The Japanese veteran says she will probably retire at the end of this year, concluding her 17-year career. She once was ranked as high as number eight in the world. “I am normally the type that can picture what the near future holds, but to be honest at this moment in time, I can’t see myself competing next season,” Sugiyama told Kyodo news. She won six WTA Tour singles titles and doubles championships at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. She lost in the Australian Open final this year.

SPECIAL MOMS

When Kim Clijsters won the US Open, she became the first mother to win a Grand Slam tournament singles title since Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley captured Wimbledon in 1980. But Clijsters wasn’t the only mother competing at America’s premier tennis event. Sybille Bammer of Austria lost in the first round to Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, while Rossana de los Rios of Paraguay fell to 14th-seeded Marion Bartoli in her first-round match. After the birth of her baby, Bammer climbed as high as number 19 in the world and won at Prague, Czech Republic, earlier this year. De los Rios has won six ITF singles titles since giving birth to her daughter in 1997.

SAD WEEK

Sloane Stephens was looking forward to the US Open junior girls tournament, where she was seeded fourth. But just before junior play got underway, Stephens’ father, former NFL running back John Stephens, died in a car accident. The 16-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, took a day off to fly to her father’s funeral in Louisiana, then returned to win her second-round match. But she lost her next outing to Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 4-6 6-1 6-0. “I was trying to focus and do things I should have done, but mentally I wasn’t there,” she said. The youngster had reconnected with her father three years ago and she had met him only a handful of times, but the two had developed a relationship over the telephone.

SISTER ACT

Venus and Serena Williams won their 10th Grand Slam tournament women’s doubles title, beating the top-seeded team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber. The sisters have never lost in a Grand Slam tournament once they’ve reached the final. “Hopefully that’s a record that won’t end yet,” Serena said. It is their first US Open doubles crown since 1999, and the sisters are now halfway to the record set by Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver.

SUITE NEWS

As far as fans were concerned, Melanie Oudin didn’t outstay her welcome at the US Open. That’s not true about her New York City hotel room. The 17-year-old from Marietta, Georgia, was one of the biggest surprises of this year’s final Grand Slam event, reaching the quarterfinals before being eliminated. But she outstayed her hotel reservation at the Marriott in Manhattan, according to SportsBusiness Journal. Her management company quickly got her a room at the Intercontinental Hotel. Oudin, who was not seeded, was not expected to play in the second week of the US Open. So the room she shared with her mother was apparently reserved for someone else. “Obviously we will not be sending any of our players back to that hotel (the Marriott),” Oudin’s agent, BEST Tennis president John Tobias, told the Journal.

STILL RELEVANT

He won the first US Open in 1968 and the main stadium at America’s premier tennis tournament is named for him. But it wasn’t until this year that Arthur Ashe was inducted into the US Open Court of Champions, which honors the greatest singles champions in the history of the 128 years of the US Championships/US Open. Ashe joined prior inductees Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Althea Gibson, Steffi Graf, Billie Jean King, Jack Kramer, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Molla Bjurstedt Mallory, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Bill Tilden and Helen Wills. An international panel of journalists selects the inductees annually. Former President Bill Clinton participated in Ashe’s induction ceremonies.

SET FOR DOHA

US Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki and Elena Dementieva are the latest to qualify for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, which will be held October 27-November 1 in Doha, Qatar. The world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams will compete for the Sony Ericsson Championships title and a share of the record Championships prize money of USD $4.45 million.

STAYING IN TOUCH

Fans attending the US Open sent a record number of emails and text, picture and video messages from in and around Arthur Ashe Stadium the first week of the tournament. “US Open fans are letting their fingers do the talking this year as increasing numbers of Verizon Wireless customers use Smartphones and PDAs to stay in touch with their homes and offices,” said Michele White, executive director-network for company’s New York Metro Region. “The number of data connections established by Verizon Wireless customers in and around the tennis center during the busiest hours of the event last week was 80 percent higher than last year while voice traffic was down.”

STRONG SPORT

Despite the gloomy global economy, the women’s tennis circuit is doing just fine, thank you. Stacey Allaster, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, said they have lost just one title sponsor in 2009 and have added two new tournaments in 2010. “The bottom line is we want to be a credible product, consistently delivering to fans and sponsors, and in 2009 our athletes have done that,” Allaster said. Of the tour’s 51 title sponsors, only one has dropped out, and that is “an incredible success story for women’s tennis,” she said. Tournaments have been added in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia, while the Los Angeles event has moved to San Diego.

SHAMEFUL ACTIONS

Three teenagers have been convicted in Malmo, Sweden, for rioting outside a Davis Cup tie between Israel and Sweden in March. The three Swedish males, aged 17 to 19, were sentenced to community service for juveniles. Two of them were also ordered to pay USD $19,020 for sabotaging a police vehicle. The three were among 10 people arrested after protesting Israel’s offensive in Gaza. The court had previously sentenced two others to 9 and 15 months in prison. No spectators were allowed to watch the matches after Malmo officials said they could not guarantee security. The International Tennis Association (ITF) fined the Swedish tennis federation USD $5,000 for that decision and banned Malmo from staging Davis Cup matches for five years.

SAY IT AIN’T SO

A media report that he and his wife are living in fear amid crime and poverty in the Bahamas has brought an angry response from Lleyton Hewitt. The 2001 US Open champion told a newspaper that the report in an Australian magazine was “absolute rubbish.” Hewitt said he and his family have had “fantastic experiences” in the nine months they have lived in a gated community on New Providence island. “For us it’s a fantastic place to raise a young family.”

SAYS YOU, SAYS ME

You knew it had to happen. Novak Djokovic and John McEnroe took turns imitating each other during an impromptu US Open moment. Following his victory over Radek Stepanek, Djokovic called McEnroe down from his television booth, then mimicked the mannerisms and serving style of the four-time US Open champion. He tossed his racquet onto the court and screamed at an imaginary umpire. Once McEnroe arrived on court, he unbuttoned his white shirt, rolled up his sleeves and, using a borrowed racquet, bounced the ball repeatedly, imitating Djokovic’s pre-serve habits. Two years ago, Djokovic delighted the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd by impersonating Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova, among others. “What I’ve done in 2007 with those impersonations and tonight playing with Johnny Mac, I think that’s what the crowd wants, especially in these hours,” Djokovic said. “I think these night matches are very special.”

SKIPPING SCHOOL

Her exciting run to US Open quarterfinals kept Melanie Oudin in New York City doing what she wants to do. She doesn’t do the ordinary high school things, like going to the junior prom or homecoming, or even hanging out with friends at the mall. “She doesn’t do any of that kind of stuff, and she’s OK with it,” said Katherine Oudin, Melanie’s mother. “I know she misses the normal life a little, but she does not regret it at all. Zero. She’s totally OK with it because she knows this is what she’s wanted her entire life.”

SOCKING IT AWAY

Each of the singles champions here at the US Open will take home USD $1.6 million, a nice tidy sum in any language. Going into the year’s final Grand Slam tournament, Roger Federer has earned USD $36 million over the past 12 months. His three Grand Slam wins – 2008 US Open, French Open and Wimbledon – and other tournament play netted him USD $8 million. And when he won his first-round match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this year, he became the first player to surpass USD $50 million in career earnings on the court. The 28-year-old Federer has 10-year endorsement deals with Nike, Rolex, Wilson and Swiss coffee machine maker Jura. His Nike contract extension that he signed in 2008 is worth more than USD $10 million annually. Maria Sharapova is close to Federer in off-court earnings. The Russian earned USD $22.5 million over the past year despite missing most of the season with a shoulder injury.

SUED

The US Tennis Association (USTA) has been sued by a New York City documentary filmmaker who claims the ruling tennis body discriminates against wheelchair players by refusing to sell broadcast licensing rights to their matches. Brooklyn, New York, filmmaker Alan Rich is a lawyer who is representing himself and seven handicapped players. He has been filming a documentary about the players called “Fire in the Belly.” Rich contends that because the major networks covering the tournament – CBS, ESPN and Tennis Channel – do not cover wheelchair events, he should be given the rights. USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said his organization limits filming of matches to the three television companies that have contracts with them. He said that two years ago, Tennis Channel aired the wheelchair finals competition live and produced a half-hour highlights show of the tournament.

SIMON REPLACED

Jeremy Chardy will play Davis Cup for France against the Netherlands. Chardy replaces Gilles Simon, who has a knee injury. France plays the Netherlands for a spot in next year’s World Group. The French team also includes Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and doubles specialist Michael Llordra. Chardy originally had been selected as an alternative. That role now goes to Julien Benneteau.

SCRIBE AWARDS

Sixteen writers were honored at the US Open by the US Tennis Writers Association in the 10th annual USTWA Writing Contest. William Weinbaum and John Barr of ESPN.com won first place in Hard News/Enterprise for their story about the controversial match between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vassallo Arguello. Other first-place winners were: Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, Column/Commentary; Cindy Shmerler, TENNIS Magazine, Feature Story (Pro); Stephen Tignor, TENNIS Magazine, Feature Story (Non-Pro); Filip Bondy, New York Daily News, Game Story (Pro); and Paul Fein, TennisOne.com, Service Story.

The USTWA announced the election of its board of directors at its annual meeting at the US Open: Cindy Cantrell, Tennis Life; Paul Fein, freelance writer; Ann LoPrinzi, The Times of Trenton (New Jersey); Richard Kent, freelance writer; Jim Martz, Florida Tennis; and Art Spander, The (San Francisco) Examiner. Fein, Kent and Spander are new to the board. The officers will be determined by the board.

SHARED PERFORMANCE

Genoa: Daniele Bracciali and Alessandro Motti beat Amir Hadad and Harel Levy 6-4 6-2

SITES TO SURF

Davis Cup: www.DavisCup.com

Quebec: www.challengebell.com

Guangzhou: http://sports.21cn.com

Bucharest: www.bcropenromania.ro/

Metz: www.openmoselle.com

Hansol: www.hansolopen.com

Tashkent: www.tashkentopen.uz

Saint Malo: www.opengdfsuez-bretagne.com

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$150,000 Pekao Open, Szczecin, Poland, clay

WTA

$220,000 Bell Challenge, Quebec City, Canada, hard

$220,000 Guangzhou International Women’s Open, Guangzhou, China, hard

DAVIS CUP

World Group Semifinals

Croatia vs. Czech Republic at Porec, Croatia

Spain vs. Israel at Murcia, Spain

World Group Playoffs

Chile vs. Austria at Rancagua, Chile; Belgium vs. Ukraine at Charleroi, Belgium; Brazil vs. Ecuador at Porto Alegre, Brazil; Netherlands vs. France at Maastricht, Netherlands; South Africa vs. India at Johannesburg, South Africa; Serbia vs. Uzbekistan at Belgrade, Serbia; Sweden vs. Romania at Helsingborg, Sweden; Italy vs. Switzerland at Genova, Italy

Americas Zone

Group I Playoff: Peru vs. Uruguay at Lima, Peru

Group II Final: Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Asia-Oceania Zone

Group I Playoff: China vs. Thailand at Jiaxing, China

Group II 3rd Round: Philippines vs. New Zealand at Manila, Philippines

Europe/Africa Zone

Group I Playoffs: Slovak Republic vs. FYR Macedonia at Bratislava, Slovak Republic; Great Britain vs. Poland at Liverpool, Great Britain

Group II 3rd Round: Latvia vs. Slovenia at Jurmala, Latvia; Finland vs. Cyprus at Salo, Finland

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$650,000 BCR Open Romania, Bucharest, Romana, clay

$650,000 Open de Moselle, Metz, France, hard

WTA

$220,000 Hansol Korea Open, Seoul, Korea, hard

$220,000 Tashkent Open, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, hard

$100,000 Open GDF Suez de Bretagne, Saint Malo, France, clay

SENIORS

Trophee Jean-Luc Lagardere, Paris, France, clay

For Julie Ditty, US Open Run Is A Sign Of Things To Come

After struggling with self-doubt about whether she belonged with the top girls on the WTA Tour, Julie Ditty is starting to produce the results that her former coach, Pat Van der Meer, said she is more than capable of.

Julie Ditty’s fairytale run continued on Friday at the US Open with a second round win in the Women’s Doubles event. According to Van der Meer, results like these are just a sign of things to come.

“I really believe that Julie has the ability to start reaching the quarterfinals and better in doubles at the Grand Slams on a regular basis,” said Van der Meer. “She’s just as good as any of the other girls out there.”

Ditty and fellow American Carly Gullickson defeated the team of Tathiana Garbin and Tamira Paszek 7-5, 6-4, marking the first time that either Ditty or Gullickson have reached the third round at a Grand Slam. Attacking Garbin’s weak service deliveries, the pair broke Garbin three times and came back from 4-2 in the second set.

Gullickson was the star player in the match, attacking the net throughout the match as she frequently poached across the net for winning volleys. Ditty said that Gullickson’s strong play helped carry them to victory on Court 8.

“She was really helping me out on the court today,” said Ditty. “I was struggling out there, but sometimes you have to win ugly and I’m just really happy to be in the third round.”

While many of the doubles teams competing at the US Open choose to play from the baseline, Ditty and Gullickson have adopted a more traditional form of doubles play. Both players served and volleyed on their first serves and looked for opportunities to attack the net throughout the match.

Ray Ruffels, who has helped coach Ditty throughout the summer, said the more conventional doubles play they have used will help them in the long run.

“Part of the reasons so many players stand back is because the volleying at the women’s level is pretty poor overall,” said Ruffels. “There’s so many specific shots like drop volleys or short angles that you can use against a team who is at the baseline. Because both Julie and Carly are so good up at the net, there’s no reason why they can’t be successful playing the way they are right now.”

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Ditty said that she and Gullickson have also been successful this week because of their strong friendship. The pair first met when Gullickson, as a 12 year old, would train with Ditty at Vanderbilt University, where she was an All-American NCAA player. While both Ditty and Gullickson have been competing together on tour for the last few years, this is the first time they have played doubles together.

“I almost feel like she’s my sister,” Ditty said. “We have a great friendship off the court and you always want to play with somebody that you get along with.”

Finishing up her first full year of competing exclusively on the WTA Tour, Ditty said that she has struggled with the higher level of competition.

“It’s been a real eye opener to me,” said Ditty after her first round win on Wednesday. “The girls at this level are so much stronger and they have the belief that they belong out here, which is something I struggle with at times.”

After winning three titles and compiling a 29-13 record in 2007 on the USTA Pro Circuit, the tennis equivalent of Triple A in baseball, Ditty has gone 2-15 in main draw matches on the WTA Tour in 2008, with the majority of her wins this year coming in the qualifying rounds.

“It was really important for Julie to make that jump to the next level,” Van der Meer. “She was getting too comfortable playing in the same tournaments.”

In the final tournament of her first 12 months on the WTA Tour, Van der Meer said the mental and technical aspects of Ditty’s game are beginning to come together.

“We’ve told her so many times how good she is and I think she’s finally starting to get that confidence,” said Van der Meer. “She’s starting to use her left-handedness by incorporating slice and topspin more as well. It might be too late this year because the season is winding down, but I really believe that Julie is ready to have a breakout year on tour next year.”

For Julie Ditty, A Career First At Age 29

At an age where many of her contemporaries have long since retired, Julie Ditty is producing the best results of her career.

In front of a standing room only crowd on Court 5, Ditty won a round in a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. Teaming with fellow American Carly Gullickson, the wild card pair beat the team of Tamarine Tanasugarn and Yaroslava Shvedova 7-5, 6-1.

“It feels awesome,” said Ditty. “We were one out from getting directly into the main draw, so I’m glad we were able to take advantage of being wild carded in.”

Displaying more tactical doubles skills than their opponents, who were pinned at the baseline throughout the match, Ditty and Gullickson regularly put away winning volleys as they attacked the net throughout the contest.

After breaking Shvedova’s serve to take a 2-0 lead in the second set, they broke her serve once again to consolidate their lead. A service winner by Gullickson on their first match point at 5-1 sent them into the next round, where they will take on the team of Tathiana Garbin and Tamira Paszek.

Although this is the first time that Ditty and Gullickson have paired up in doubles, Ditty said they’ve known each other for more than a decade.

“I’ve known her since she was 13,” Ditty said. “When I was on the team at Vanderbilt, she would come to hit with us because she was based out of Nashville. She’s a great girl and we have a lot of fun together out on the court.”

After years of toiling away on the challenger circuit, Ditty has produced the best results of her career in the last 12 months. She cracked the top 100 for the first time, reached the semifinals at a WTA event in Quebec City, and competed in the singles main draw at three Grand Slam events in 2008.

Despite her rapid progression, Ditty said that her first full year on the WTA Tour has shown her just how much she needs to improve.

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“It’s been a real eye opener,” Ditty said. “I’m still kind of feeling my way through it. Everybody is so much stronger physically at this level and they have the belief that they belong here, which is something I struggle with at times. I’ve really had to improve my level of play and my fitness considerably just to be able to contend.”

Part of Ditty’s late blooming status on the tour is due to the fact that she didn’t turn professional until the age of 22, opting to gain a degree in early childhood education from Vanderbilt University while remaining of the top NCAA in the country. Fellow Americans Venus Williams and Jill Craybas are the only other players in the top 100 with college degrees.

Many of the American teenagers competing at the US Open, including Melanie Oudin and Asia Muhammad, have already turned professional, therefore foregoing their opportunity to play college tennis. While both Oudin and Muhammad spoke of the need to face stronger competition and utilize their talent tennis, Ditty said she has no regrets about finishing her education.

“If I had to do it all over again, I would in a second,” Ditty said. “I loved the experience of being able to compete on a team and have your friends around. Once you get on the tour, you’re by yourself all year and don’t have anybody cheering you on.”

In addition to gaining the college experience, Ditty said her years at Vanderbilt have allowed her time on tour to be less stressful.

“It takes the pressure off me a little bit because in the worst case scenario, I have a degree to fall back on. For a lot of these girls out here, this is their one shot. They can always go back to college afterwards, but they won’t be able to college tennis and probably won’t be able to receive a scholarship.”

Having already achieved a career milestone in winning her first main draw match at a Grand Slam, Ditty will look to beat her own personal best result when she plays her second round match on Friday.