grass court

ROGER FEDERER: PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

By Peter Nez

Roger Federer is in Halle, Germany this week playing his typical warm up tournament before Wimbledon (Germany’s only grass court event) where the latest news reports that Roger has signed a lifetime contract with tournament organizers, meaning he is committed to the event as long as he is playing professional tennis. “It’s a sort of marriage,” Roger quipped about the lofty contract with the Gerry Weber Open. And while the entire media world is buzzing over Rafael Nadal’s fifth Roland Garros title he attained last Sunday by smearing the red clay with Robin Soderling’s face, nicknamed Rockin’ Robin, after his blistering ground strokes that sound like cannon fire when struck, who appeared more like a subdued Canary tweeting rather than Rockin’- and big headlines announcing the ‘Return of the King of Clay’ and ‘Rafa is back!’, referring to his reacquisition of the top slot in men’s tennis, there is another king, of another surface, some would say the true king going quietly into the night, preparing for a Wimbledon defense, and maybe something else…


 

One thing that is amazing about Roger, among many other things, is his ability to put things in perspective, and shrug off losses that most players would never be able to bounce back from. Andy Murray comes to mind, whom after losing to Roger in the Australian Open final this past January, hasn’t been the same player since. Novak Djokovic, another top player, who won his first slam in 2008, has been hampered by uncharacteristic losses and henceforth hasn’t been able to muster a similar run at any of the subsequent slams. Andy Roddick, after losing to Federer in the epic 2009 Wimbledon final, lost to John Isner in the following slam (US Open) in a startling fashion. After attending the Annual ITF awards dinner in Paris, following his defeat to Soderling in the quarterfinals of the French Open a week ago, which garnered stunned faces by reporters, participants, attendees, and Gustavo Kurten himself (guest of honor), as to his appearance after a loss like that, “Nobody expected him to show,” Mary Joe Fernandez commented; a salivating press contingent swooned to get some time with the great one, and Roger was blasted with the usual doubts, speculations on his demise, questions as to his game, ect. He answered, in his usual candid demeanor, full of cool, that he was grateful for the past year where he won the French Open and Wimbledon back to back, about the birth of his daughters, and the magnificent summer, and the Australian Open victory this year, without a shade of despondency, or any signs that he was worried in the least. He exemplified gratitude, and emitted a perspective that was just thankful to still be playing, and healthy, and with a huge smile on his face, was looking forward to grass, where, let’s face it, the records speak for themselves, he is the King. I only wish that the media and fans alike had this propensity to put things in perspective.

All I read about now, and hear about in the rumblings and byways of the tennis realm, is Rafa this, and Rafa that, and Rafa is the one to beat, and Rafa is the usurper and all of that. I have no qualms with Rafael Nadal. I think he is a fantastic player, a true ambassador, and a great role model. But, when I read things like Roger can’t beat Rafa, and that Roger has never beaten a fully healthy Nadal, and things of this sort, there is an obvious upset in the balance of things; people are not looking at the big picture, and least of all adopting any sort of sensible perspective on matters.

I have no desire to list off all of the accolades of Mr. Federer, for they should be automatic by now, and need no mention. Let us take the notion of Roger never beating a healthy Nadal, especially on clay. First of all, the health of your opponent is out of your control, can we at least agree on that? Second, if the running statement that Roger can’t beat a healthy Nadal stands on any significant grounds, how about the vice versa? Let’s take a look at the 2008 Wimbledon final, touted as the ‘Greatest Match of All Time’. If we have a short term memory, many may not remember that Mr. Federer was battling a year long bout with Mononucleosis that started just prior to the Australian Open and, maybe didn’t subside until the end of that same year. That would mean that not only was Federer “unhealthy” but it took a super healthy, super confident, super momentum filled man in Rafael Nadal to beat Roger, and it took everything he had, all the way to an epic fifth set finale. Nobody speaks of that of course. On top of that, does anyone fail to see that Rafa has an outstanding record against Roger maybe because most of their head to head matches have taken place on clay? And there is little argument as to who is the greatest of all time on clay. Also, has anyone commented on why there are so many masters’ series tournaments on clay, and why the clay season is the longest on tour, and why there are only two tournaments on grass each season, and no masters series tournaments on grass? I’ve never heard mention of this either. Let us take a look at Federer’s legacy as far as slams go: Roger has reached a staggering 23 of the last 24 slam semi-finals, a staggering 19 out of the last 21 finals over the past six years, and 16 grand slam titles and counting. Who beat Roger in the last six years? Well, let’s see: Rafael Nadal, the king of clay; Novak Djokovic, a top four player, playing a not so healthy Roger (2008 AUS Open); Marat Safin, in the 2005 AUS Open, playing his absolute best tennis; Del Potro (2009 US Open) and Soderling (2010 French Open) who defied physics with their pace for over two hours of play. Do you ever hear Roger justifying himself, as is his right, about any of all the talk and doubt and scrutiny? No. He talks about one thing: moving forward. And what is ahead? Grass. The king returns to the holy grounds where he has set up his palace shrine for the past seven years. Maybe after he wins another Wimbledon will things finally be put in perspective… I doubt it.

AROUND THE CORNER: ROGER FEDERER GOES HALLE WHILE ANDY MURRAY PLAYS LONDON

Less than twenty-four hours after Rafael Nadal’s impressive French Open victory and the ATP Tour is switching gears from the red clay of Roland Garros to the green grass of Halle and London. The short grass-court season is now upon us and over the next month we will witness a very different and exciting brand of tennis. Let’s take a closer look at what’s around the corner at the first two tune-up events for Wimbledon.

Gerry Weber Open – Halle, Germany

Halle will crown a new champion this year as veteran German player Tommy Haas is out with injury issues. In 2009 he defeated Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1 for the title in his home country.

Roger Federer will be the number-one seed this year although he officially loses his number-one ranking on Tour on Monday as Nadal has surpassed him once again. Federer has won Halle five times before, from 2003-2006 and more recently in 2008. His first round opponent will be Jarkko Nieminen from Finland. The unfortunate Nieminen holds a 0-10 record against Federer and has never before taken a set off of him.

Interestingly enough, Federer signed a lifetime deal with the tournament on Sunday agreeing to participate in the event for as long as he is still playing professional tennis.

Federer could face the tricky Radek Stepanek in the quarter-finals and then either Juan Carlos Ferrero or Marcos Baghdatis in the semis. Both of those players have had success on grass, with Ferrero twice making the quarter-finals of Wimbledon while Baghdatis made the semi-finals in 2006.

In the bottom half of the draw Lleyton Hewitt is the 8th seed and opens against fellow Aussie Peter Luczak. Seeded second is Nikolay Davydenko who will be making his first appearance on the Tour since a wrist injury in mid-March.

One first round match worth noting is veteran Nicolas Kiefer against Russian Mikhail Youzhny. Kiefer is still struggling to find his game after injuries kept him from playing most of 2009.

AEGON Championships – London, England (aka Queen’s Club)

Four time champion Andy Roddick brings a 29-4 career record into Queen’s Club this year. Who can forget just how close the American came to finally capturing Wimbledon a year ago, where he fell 16-14 in the fifth set to Roger Federer. Roddick has not played much tennis in the past two months, but will be looking to regain his form on his favourite surface.

As of right now, Rafael Nadal is seeded first in the tournament. He does have a first-round bye so hopefully that will give him enough of a rest after winning Roland Garros. Nadal won this event in 2008 – the year he won his first and only Wimbledon title. Nadal opens by playing the winner of Marcos Daniel vs. Blaz Kavcic – a nice way to open his grass-court season wouldn’t you say? Nadal has the most favourable quarter of the tournament with the highest seed he could face being Feliciano Lopez who is the number-eight.

Andy Murray is the defending champion as he won in 2009 against James Blake 7-5, 6-4. Murray could meet up with Marin Cilic in the quarters. The pressure to win his first Grand Slam is growing and Murray will be looking to gain some momentum heading towards the grass at Wimbledon.

In the bottom half we have potential quarter-finals of Novak Djokovic against Sam Querrey. It will be interesting to see how Djokovic responds after blowing a two set lead over Jurgen Melzer at the French. Since winning his first and only Slam in Australia in 2008, Djokovic has consistently disappointed in the majors.

The last quarter offers us a potential Andy Roddick versus Richard Gasquet meeting – a rematch of their epic five-set Wimbledon battle from 2007 where the American was up by two sets before falling 8-6 in the fifth.

For any Canadian tennis fans, Frank Dancevic makes his first tournament appearance of 2010 after missing many months recovering from back surgery. After winning three matches in the qualies he advances to face Dustin Brown of Jamaica in the opening round. Dancevic is an able grass-court player and made the finals of Eastbourne last year where he fell to Dmitry Tursunov.

Don’t expect many surprises in either of these two tournaments as the big-names will be setting the tone for the month-long grass court season. I expect Federer to win his first non-Slam tournament of the year in Halle while I feel Andy Murray is due to put up some serious results in front of his home fans in London.

MURRAY GIVEN TOUGH ROAD TO TITLE DEFENSE

By Melina Harris

The heat will certainly be on Britain’s Andy Murray as he attempts to defend his AEGON Championships title at The Queen’s Club this week. I am gladly returning to the club I trained at as a Middlesex County Junior with a press pass for days one and two of the tournament and will be updating you with all the news, quotes and gossip as it happens.

Murray has been given an extremely tough draw as he might need to overcome the world No.12 Marin Cilic, the top seed Rafael Nadal and the second seed Novak Djokovic if he is to successfully defend his title.

Murray, who last year became the first British player since Henry ‘Bunny’ Austin in 1938 to win the title at The Queen’s Club, received a bye in the first round and will face either Austrian Daniel Koellerer or Ivan Navarro in the second round. The talented American Mardy Fish could be his round three opponent, with Cilic in the quarters, Nadal in the semi’s and Djokovic in the final.

Nadal, fresh from his French Open victory, who won the title in 2008, also enjoys a first round bye, with Marcos Daniel of Brazil or Slovenian Blaz Kavcic waiting in round two. The Spaniard is seeded to face his good friend and eighth seed Feliciano Lopez in the quarterfinals.

The man who Nadal beat in the final two years ago, Novak Djokovic, opens up against Spain’s Pere Riba or Paolo Lorenzi of Italy after a bye in the first round, and could meet big-serving American Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals.

Grass court aficionado, Andy Roddick, who is aiming for a record fifth title at the AEGON Championships this year, meets either Igor Kunitsyn of Russia or Ukraine’s Ilya Marchenko in the second round, with  Frenchman Gael Monfils a potential quarterfinal opponent. Roddick is seeded to face Djokovic in the semifinals.

The British No.2 Alex Bogdanovic made an impressive comeback from a set down to defeat Ilija Bozoljac, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 and qualify for the main draw of the AEGON Championships.

On the first day of the tournament I will see a number of British players in action, with wild cards Jamie Baker and James Ward attempting to claim notable victories against 16th seed Dennis Istomin and American Robby Ginepri respectively on Centre Court.  After those matches, Kei Nishikori takes on Richard Gasquet on the Centre Court, followed by Bogdanovic against Dimitrov.

Last but not least, I will then get the rare pleasure of seeing the Murray brothers, Andy and Jamie against Scott Lipsky and Sam Querrey in doubles action. I can’t wait for the tournament to begin!

Melina Harris is a freelance sports writer, book editor, English tutor and PTR qualified tennis coach. For more information and contact details please visit and subscribe to her website and blog at http://www.thetenniswriter.wordpress.com and follow her twitter updates via http://www.twitter.com/thetenniswriter.   She is available for freelance writing, editing and one to one private teaching and coaching.

THE ANA/JELENA FEUD, AMERICANS, MURRAY LOOKING AHEAD TO GRASS: TENNIS PEOPLE

* The Ana Ivanovic-Jelena Jankovic feud seems to have resurfaced following their encounter at Roland Garros. Following their second-round match at the Madrid Masters last month Jankovic appeared to mock Ivanovic’s famed fist-pump celebration which her Serbian Fed-Cup teammate took umbrage to. When questioned about it this week Ivanovic said: “You know what they say: ‘Sport doesn’t build character. It shows it’.” Jankovic, however, still stands by her action: “Every player has their way of motivating themselves and pumping themselves up,” Jankovic said at her press conference. “But I don’t think it’s nice to put the fist in their face. If I win a point or something, I don’t go like that in your face,” she added whilst holding up her fists to the media.  You can view the video of Jelena Jankovic mocking Ana Ivanovic’ fist pump here:

* Some updates from the large tennis presence on Twitter. Justin Gimelstob is predicting a big grass-court season for Americans following the performances of some of their lower ranked players in France. Kim Clijsters has announced she is back in training, albeit with her foot strapped up, while Brit pair Ken Skupski and Colin Fleming stated that: “our love for tennis could not be larger but we’re hurting bad” after their defeat in the French Open doubles.

*According to an ESPN.com poll, 77 per cent of viewers would not buy the controversial lace dress sported by Venus Williams at this year’s French Open.

* With the British media already (harshly) dissecting Andy Murray’s defeat to Tomas Berdych at Roland Garros, the big names in tennis have been offering their views on his fourth-round defeat. Murray’s former coach Mark Petchey still believes Murray will be a strong contender for this year’s Wimbledon despite recent performances. “Wimbledon presents a great opportunity, potentially his best, to win it,” he told BBC Sport. “I expect him to at least be in the semis. Once you get through to the semis, it’s game on for everyone. On reflection, the conditions didn’t help him too much against Berdych. You’ve got to give a lot of credit for the way Berdych went after the match and executed his shots. Andy puts a lot of pressure in his opponents’ minds because of his speed at the back of the court and he has a tendency to over-hit. But you could see Berdych had the power to get through the court and he served great. He had some big moments, and Andy just lacked a bit of fire.” Three-time French Open winner Mats Wilander, analyzing for Eurosport, also commented that “Murray’s attitude was his main problem,” before adding: “the most aggressive player wins the French Open.” Former Brit star Greg Rusedski looked to other reasons on his Twitter account: “I guess Murray ran out of gas,” he said. “Berdych was sensational and took it on.”

* Andy Murray and Andy Roddick have both spoken of their pleasure at the grass season almost being upon us. Speaking ahead of next week’s AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club, Murray said: “It’s obviously a great tournament, it’s got great history and to have won last year was awesome. I’ll just go back there and try and win again this year and give it my best shot.” Roddick gave us the low-down on why he loves playing on the grass: “I feel like my game automatically translates well to that surface,” he said in a press conference. “My chip stays down, my backhand goes through the court a little bit, obviously my serve gets a little bit better. My returns don’t get any worse on grass, and some people’s do. They take big swings and have to step back to hit it. That’s a real problem. But I don’t really do that too much, so, it’s just maybe a more comfortable feeling. With that comes a sense of confidence.”

* Further news for fans of grass tennis, this time looking ahead to Wimby. Fernando Gonzalez has unfortunately been forced to retire with tendinitis in his left knee while former finalist David Nalbandian has said he is “training double” in an attempt to make this year’s tournament. The mixed doubles is shaping up to be a goodun. Kim Clijsters has announced she will be doubling up with compatriot Xavier Malisse, while Britons Jamie Murray (former winner) and Laura Robson are also set to compete.

* Justine Henin’s defeat to Sam Stosur in the French Open fourth round was her first defeat at Roland Garros in six years (although she hasn’t played at the event since 2007). It ended a fantastic sequence of 24 matches unbeaten on the Paris clay.

* Rafa Nadal’s French Open fourth-round victory over Thomaz Bellucci was his 200th win on clay during his career. Roger Federer’s third-round win over German surprise package Julian Reister was his 700th tour-level win. He is only the tenth player in the Open Era to achieve this feat.

* Following the ending of his rotten run against Federer at Roland Garros, Bjorn Borg is predicting that compatriot Robin Soderling will soon reach the No. 1 slot in the world. Borg told Swedish newspaper Expressen that his rise will happen “sooner than we expect” on Wednesday.

* Nikolay Davydenko hopes to end his injury hiatus by playing Halle’s grass-court event next week. The diminutive Russian has been missing since Miami with a fractured wrist but he said in a pre-tournament press conference: “I’ve never trained as much as now and before when I’ve taken long breaks, I’ve always come back playing better.”

* By beating Liezel Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the French Open women’s doubles semifinal the Williams sisters will realise their dream of reaching the top of the doubles rankings next week.

* British tennis prodigy Laura Robson upset a few of her peers by allegedly calling them “sluts” who “make a bad name for themselves by dating so many men.” The 16-year-old 2008 Wimbledon Junior Champion admits she prefers a quiet night in to a wild night on the town but allegedly claimed her rivals often don’t. “Some of the tennis girls, they’re sluts. They go with every guy and make such a bad name for themselves – and you don’t want to be known for stuff like that. You want to be more discreet.” She continued, in a report printed in a host of British newspapers, “My coach knows I’m sensible. I don’t like the taste of alcohol and I hate smoke. Some go to nightclubs, but I’m not interested. Yes there are moments when you speak to your old friends, and they’re all going out to parties every weekend, and I’m stuck in Paris boring my brains out.” But she did admit to loving life at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris where she lives and trains: “It’s so much fun (here). We all know each other so well. I’m known as the Gossip Queen, but I’m careful never to repeat a word.” However, on Sunday she responded on her Twitter account by saying: “shame some quotes were taken out of context today.”

* Former world No. 4 Sebastien Grosjean has announced his retirement this week at Roland Garros. The Frenchman has only played eight tour-level events after undergoing shoulder surgery in December 2008 and in a press conference he said: “My body is in such a condition that I don’t think I can continue.” He had hoped to make his farewell in the men’s doubles event in Paris but his partner Richard Gasquet, rather fittingly, was forced to withdraw with a back injury. In a double blow for the hosts, 28-year-old Camille Pin also announced her retirement from the sport after 12 years on the tour. “It’s a very special day for me, because it’s such a tough decision,” she said. “But I’m so happy, because when I think of the 12 years I was on the Tour, I had such a great time. It was my passion to travel and be an athlete, and my tennis career enabled me to have both. For sure I’m going to miss it, but I have no regrets.”

* The bad news is coming thick and fast for French tennis fans. The hip injury which forced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga out of his fourth-round French Open match with Mikhail Youzhny could rule him out of the 2010 grass-court season. Scans have confirmed a muscle lesion around his hip which could pose real problems for the former Aussie Open finalist.

* Matriarch of the Austin tennis family, Jeanne Austin, has died aged 84 of heart failure following a long battle with illness. Two-time US Open winner Tracy Austin was the most successful of her two daughters and two sons who all played professionally at some point.

* Liezel Huber has announced that Lindsay Davenport will return to the pro women’s tour as her doubles partner for this year’s events at Stanford and San Diego. Davenport is also considering Cincinnati but is not interested in contesting the US Open, Huber told Roland Garros radio. Huber also blamed the breakup with long-time partner Cara Black on the Zimbabwean. She claimed Black became too nervous during the big matches, among other problems, which began at last year’s US Open following their defeat to the Williams sisters. After further breakdowns in the relationship the pair parted ways at Miami and despite admitting they may return together one day Huber says Black now does not speak to her.

* Sabine Lisicki is delighted to announce her new website, sabinelisicki.com, has gone online following her new partnership with WebWeisend. The site will keep fans updated on her every move.

Molik, Heather Watson Aspiring For Greater Heights: Tennis in the Commonwealth

By Leigh Sanders

*Former world No. 8, Australia’s Alicia Molik, reached the final of the Cliffs Esperance Tennis International Pro Tour event before finally being derailed by top seed Olivia Rogowska. It was her fourth pro tour final since coming out of retirement in September. In the men’s final, Aussie Matt Ebden overcame John Millman 6-3, 6-4.

*British tennis starlet Heather Watson of Guernsey was eliminated in the first round of the singles at the Tevlin Challenger Event at the Rexall Centre in Toronto. She was defeated by1999 Wimbledon semifinalist Alexandra Stevenson 2-6, 4-6. In the doubles, Watson and partner Julia Boserup lost to the Canadian duo Gabriela Dobrowski and Rebecca Marino. Despite her early exit in Toronto, Watson has made the final three in the running for the 2009 BBC Young Sport’s Personality of the Year award. The acclaimed accolade honours sportsmen and women who achieve sporting heroics in the calendar year and the Young Personality award goes to up and coming stars of the future. The US Open junior girls champion faces stiff competition from world driving champion Tom Daly and double world youth sprint gold medallist Jodie Williams. Andy Murray picked up the award in 2004.

*The prestigious Queens Club in England was celebrating a coup this week after US Open Champion Juan Martin del Potro committed himself to the pre-Wimbledon tournament until 2012 in a bid to improve his grass court game for Wimbledon. Andy Murray picked up his first grass-court title by winning at Queens this summer before losing a heartbreaking semifinal at Wimbledon to American Andy Roddick.

*French Open Champion and WTA No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova has confirmed she will begin her 2010 season at the Medibank International Sydney, Australia, following Serena Williams, defending champion Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka in doing so. On the men’s side, home favourite Lleyton Hewitt, Gael Monfils and Marcos Bagdhatis are already confirmed. The event takes place at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre from Sunday 10 to Saturday 16 January 2010.

*While over in Brisbane, Australia, Nadia Petrova has added her name to an already impressive cast at the Brisbane International warming themselves up for the 2010 Australian Open. The world No. 20 in singles and 16 in doubles joins Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina and Jelena Dokic in what should be a tasty event. On the men’s side, Andy Roddick, Gael Monfils, James Blake and Giles Simon have pencilled in the event for their early 2010 schedule.

*This week’s ATP World Tour singles rankings saw no movement in the world’s Top 40 players. Australia’s Peter Luczak climbs a place to 78 while compatriot Carsten Ball does the same to 137 and Chris Guccione in 139. India’s Somdev Devvarman drops two to 124 and Frank Dancevic of Canada drops 12 to 144.

*In the ATP doubles rankings, all the Commonwealth players in the Top 10 were safe as there was no movement. However, Australia’s Ashley Fisher climbed two places to 41 and his compatriot Carsten Ball dropped four to 61 and Chris Guccione dropped one to 67. Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi climbed up one to 59 and Jeff Coetzee of South Africa dropped a place to 69.

*British Paralympic Champion Peter Norfolk took the world No. 1 slot by regaining his quad singles title at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters. He beat the American world No. 1 David Wagner 6-2, 7-5 in the final to leapfrog him in the rankings. Norfolk had already beaten Wagner in the pool stage as well as Paralympic silver medallist Johan Andersson.

* Canadian duo Maureen Drake and Marianne Jodoin defeated compatriots Sharon Fichman and American Mashona Washington after world No. 97 Fichman was forced to retire when 3-2 up in the first set. It is the third year in a row an all-Canadian team has triumphed at the event.

*British women’s’ No. 2 Elena Baltacha has bounced back from injury to glide through the first round of the $75k event in Toyota, Japan. She beat the Japanese player Misaki Doi 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-1 and will face Korea’s So-Jung Kim in the next round. Meanwhile, at the €106.5k ATP Challenger Event in Helsinki, Finland, Alex Bogdanovic saw first round defeat after going down 6-7(0), 4-6 to Switzerland’s Stephane Bohli.

*Slovak-born Jarmila Groth has been granted Australian citizenship following a ceremony at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. Up to now, she has been unable to represent her adopted homeland other than in the four Grand Slam events but she is now cleared to play Fed Cup and play under the Australian flag in all other events on the WTA Tour. Earlier this year, she married fellow tennis pro Sam Groth and reached a career-high No. 57 on the WTA rankings. She has formerly represented Slovakia in the Fed Cup in 2003 and her best tour result to date is a semifinal at the Japan Open in 2008.

*The well-loved British tennis commentator Max Robertson has sadly passed away aged 94 on his home island of Guernsey. After serving in World War II he joined the BBC in 1946 and his post-war tennis commentaries live long in the memory of those who were guided through the action by Robertson. As well as tennis, he was the first reporter at the 1948 Winter Olympics in Switzerland as well as gaining fame away from sport on BBC’s famed investigative journalist program ‘Panorama’ and the antiques programme ‘Going for a Song.’ He was also an accomplished author and poet.

*Tennis Canada has announced that the recently retired Frederic Niemayer has been added to their coaching team to coach hot Canadian prospect Milos Raonic. In another coup for the organization, an announcement has been made that the Tennis Matters benefactors Mike and Nicole Tevlin have made a second $500,000 pledge. A new event named the Tevlin Open will now be held in their honour.

Philippoussis To Make ATP Champions Debut In London

Former Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis is to return to the city that he so nearly conquered when he plays in the AEGON Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London, December 1-6.

Philippoussis, who also reached the final of the US Open during his career, will be making his debut on the ATP Champions Tour when he lines up alongside fellow grass-court greats Goran Ivanisevic, Pat Rafter and Stefan Edberg at the season-ending event. For Philippoussis, who beat Andre Agassi on his way to the 2003 Wimbledon final before losing to Roger Federer, it will be an opportunity to renew rivalries and rekindle his relationship with the British public.

“I get goosebumps every time I go to the UK because of the British crowds,” said Philippoussis, who is universally known as ‘Scud’ for the power of his serve.

“The British fans are incredible – they have such a great appreciation for tennis. I’ve always enjoyed a lot of support from them and I hope they are looking forward to seeing me again. I certainly can’t wait.”

Philippoussis has visited the Royal Albert Hall once before back in 2006 when he played a charity exhibition match against Tim Henman, and the Australian is looking forward to experiencing the world’s most unique tennis court for a second time.

“I really can’t wait to play at the Royal Albert Hall again,” he said. “It is one of the prettiest tennis venues I have ever seen, it really is gorgeous. It’s perfect in terms of how close the crowd is to you when you’re playing and the atmosphere that creates.”

Philippoussis will join an eight-man singles line-up that already includes the 2001 Wimbledon Champion Ivanisevic, former World Number One Edberg and two-time Wimbledon finalist Rafter. The AEGON Masters Tennis could give Philippoussis the chance for revenge against Rafter, who beat him in the final of the US Open in 1998.

“I’m so looking forward to seeing all the guys again,” said Philippoussis.

“The line-up is really amazing so every match should be good. I’d love to play against Edberg, and I’m looking forward to seeing Goran again because he’s just a great guy. Then obviously Pat’s a fellow Aussie, so it should be great fun. I just can’t wait to get down there and get out on court.”

The AEGON Masters Tennis runs from the 1st to the 6th of December at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The tournament uses a round-robin format, with all players playing at least three matches each. Each day of the tournament, except the final Sunday, features two sessions – an afternoon session starting at 1pm and an evening session starting at 7.30pm. All sessions will feature a combination of singles and doubles matches. The event is the final tournament in 2009 on the ATP Champions Tour – a circuit of former World Number One tennis players, Grand Slam singles finalists and Davis Cup winners.

For more information, visit: http://www.aegonmasterstennis.com/

For tickets, go to: http://www.aegonmasterstennis.com/tickets.asp

Cash Repeats As Newport Champion; Denies Courier First Grass Title

NEWPORT, R.I., August 23, 2009 – Pat Cash successfully defended his singles title at the $150,000 Hall of Fame Champions Cup defeating Jim Courier 6-3, 6-4 Sunday in the championship match at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The tournament victory was Cash’s second career title on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champions tennis players age 30 and over, and earned the 1987 Wimbledon champion $60,000. Cash’s tournament win at Newport last year was also over Courier in the final by the exact 6-3, 6-4 score line.

“I’ve been lucky this week,” said Cash. “I got a few lucky breaks today and you need that to beat these guys, who are all champions. The great thing about this tour, the Outback Champions Series, is that it is serious tennis. We get out there and you can see how hard we’re trying, but it’s also fun,”

Cash is regarded as one of the best serve-and-volley and grass-court players in tennis over the last 30 years. In addition to his 1987 Wimbledon title, Cash was a singles finalist on grass at the 1987 Australian Open. The 44-year-old Australian was the lone Wimbledon singles champion in the eight-player Newport field and was most comfortable on the grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame all week.

“I wouldn’t say I grew up on the grass-court but I have played a lot of grass-court tennis,” said Cash. “It’s natural for me to play this style of game. It’s easy. I don’t have to think about it. I just serve and volley. I’m not smart enough to work out a game tactic against Jim so I just kind of keep serving and running to the net.”

Courier, playing in his 13th career Outback Champions Series final, was seeking the first career professional title on grass courts. However, the 1993 Wimbledon finalist and four-time major tournament champion earned $30,000 with the runner-up showing as well as 800 ranking points that further solidified his No. 1 ranking on the Outback Champions Series.

“If you watched this match at all you could see how difficult it is to return Pat’s serve,” said Courier. “He really spotted his serve beautifully once he got in to the rhythm today and from there I’m struggling because he’s such a beautiful volleyer. If he gets his hands on anything at the net then it seems the point’s over. I felt under pressure because I wasn’t getting to break point on his serve then that’s a lot of pressure on mine. He’s a great champion. He’s obviously a great grass-court champion. You don’t win Wimbledon if you’re not. It’s disappointing because I was hoping to win my first grass-court title.”

In Sunday’s third-place match, Todd Martin defeated Mark Philippoussis 6-3, 6-7(4), 10-6 (Champions Tie-Breaker).

Pete Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating John McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Jimmy Arias in the final. Following Newport, remaining events on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Charlotte (Sept. 24-27), Surprise, Ariz. (Oct. 8-11) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21).

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, established in 1954, is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. It was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s legendary grass courts remain the only competition grass courts available for professional events and exhibitions, while also available for public play. For more information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, events and programs, please call 401-849-3990 or log on to www.tennisfame.com

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent 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 Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events, private corporate outings and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

Birthday Boy Courier Looking For First Grass Court Title

NEW YORK, N.Y., August 17, 2009 – Jim Courier, who turns 39 years old today, is hoping to have a belated birthday gift this coming Sunday in the form of his first professional grass court tournament title at the $150,000 Hall of Fame Champions Cup at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. Courier, the No. 1-ranked player on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over, is looking to add a grass court tournament title to his trophy shelf and grab his second Outback Champions Series title of 2009.

“I’m still on the hunt for my first grass court title,” said Courier. “I lost in the finals of this tournament last year and also made the finals of a little tournament outside of London once but I’ve never lifted a trophy on grass. I know I’m running out of time so the hunger is there to change that in Newport.”

Courier opens play at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup on Thursday, August 20 during the 1 pm session against fellow American Jimmy Arias. A win over Arias would place Courier in the semifinals, where he would meet the winner of two former grass-court winners at the prestigious Queen’s Club event – 1994 champion Todd Martin and 1993 champion Wayne Ferreira.

Courier’s best grass court showing during his ATP Tour career came in reaching the Wimbledon final in 1993, where he was defeated by Pete Sampras 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3. On the Outback Champions Series, Courier reached the final at Newport in 2008, losing to Pat Cash 6-3, 6-4. In 2007, he finished in third place in Newport, beating Cash 4-6, 6-3, 10-8 (Champions Tie-Breaker) in the third-place match.

Rounding out the field this year in Newport are Cash, Mats Wilander, Mark Philippoussis and Mikael Pernfors. Individual and series tickets for the event can be purchased at 866-914-FAME (3263) or by visiting www.tennisfame.com. The Hall of Fame Champions Cup is the fifth of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series and runs from August 20-23. The tournament will be an eight-player, single-knock-out event with the winner earning $60,000.

The complete schedule of play for the Hall of Fame Champions Cup is as follows;

Thursday, August 20th – 1pm

Singles Quarterfinal – Todd Martin vs. Wayne Ferreira

Followed by Doubles Exhibition – Mats Wilander & Mikael Pernfors vs. Mark Philippoussis & Pat Cash

Followed by Singles Quarterfinal – Jim Courier vs. Jimmy Arias

Friday, August 21st – 1pm

Singles Quarterfinal – Mark Philippoussis vs. Mikael Pernfors

Followed by Doubles Exhibition – Jim Courier & Wayne Ferreira vs. Todd Martin & Jimmy Arias

Followed by Singles Quarterfinal – Pat Cash vs. Mats Wilander

Saturday, August 22nd – 1pm

Singles Semifinal – Martin/Ferreira winner vs. Courier/Arias winner

Followed by Doubles Exhibition

Followed by Singles Semifinal – Philippoussis/Pernfors winner vs. Cash/Wilander winner

Sunday, August 23rd – 1pm

3rd Place Match

Followed by

Championship Match

Pete Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating John McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Arias in the final. Following Newport, remaining events on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Charlotte (Sept. 24-27), Surprise, Ariz. (Oct. 8-11) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21).

Courier leads the current Champions Rankings on the Outback Champions Series with 2000 points, followed by Sampras with 1600 points and McEnroe with 1300 points. Arias sits at a career-high No. 4 in the Champions Series ranking with 1050 points, followed by Cash with 700 points at No. 5 and Philippoussis at No. 6 with 600 points. Wilander, Pernfors and Patrick Rafter are tied at No. 7 with 500 points, while Martin rounds out the top 10 with 400 points.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, established in 1954, is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. It was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s legendary grass courts remain the only competition grass courts available for professional events and exhibitions, while also available for public play. For more information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, events and programs, please call 401-849-3990 or log on to www.tennisfame.com

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent 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 Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events, private corporate outings and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

Napeague to host pro tennis in the Hamptons Sunday

A first-prize of $10,000 will be on the line Sunday in the inaugural “Gotham Tennis Academy Hamptons 20-Ball Open” at the Napeague Tennis Club in Amagansett, N.Y. The unique single day event, featuring an action-filled, first-to-20-point match format beginning with a ground-stroke feed, will feature a cross section of professional and other high-level players, including players who have represented their countries in Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Pan American Games competitions.

Play begins at 9 am and fans are invited to enjoy the “Breakfast at Wimbledon” men’s singles final on television with hospitality – including strawberries and cream – while watching the live pro tennis. Fans can also tour the Napeague facilities and learn about the tennis programming offered by Gotham Tennis (www.gothamtennis.com). A silent auction will also be held featuring items such as Napeague tennis memberships, lesson packages and summer camp week packages among others. Admission is free.

The event is open to both male and female players of all levels – professional and amateur. Entries close at 9 pm on Saturday, July 4. For information on entering the event, call the tournament director at 917-428-7154.

Sponsors of the Hamptons 20-Ball include Grand Central Racquet, Tiffany’s of East Hampton, Gubbins Sports of East Hampton, Gone Local, Hamptons.com, Montauk Chamber of Commerce, WHEN Radio and Pop Chips.

The Napeague Tennis Club is located at 2145 Montauk Highway in Amagansett, N.Y.  The club features four immaculately-maintained clay courts and one artificial grass court. The Napeague Tennis Club offers excellent tennis programming at reasonable prices including individual and family memberships, corporate memberships, adult and children’s tennis clinics, tennis parties, tennis camps and private tennis lessons. It is the preferred destination for tennis in the Hamptons because of its relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, beautiful clay courts, close proximity to the beach, and reasonable prices. “Napeague is a very special place” says Tennis Director Brian Helm. “It’s an oasis of calm with high-level, state-of-the-art tennis programming for players of all levels.”

The mission of Gotham Tennis Academy is to provide friendly, personalized, high-performance tennis instruction in convenient facilities for Manhattan and Hamptons clients. In addition to operating the Napeague Tennis Club in the Hamptons, Gotham Tennis Academy has established a reputation for excellent tennis programming at three Manhattan locations — the Harlem Armory Tennis Center, the Midtown Tennis Club and the Riverside Clay Tennis Association. Gotham Tennis Academy offers tennis programs year-round to players of all ages and skill levels. Gotham Tennis Academy’s goal is to help each player improve all aspects of his or her tennis game. More information on Gotham Tennis Academy can be found at www.GothamTennis.com .

Courier, Cash Top Seeds for Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport

NEW YORK, JULY 1, 2009 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and the International Tennis Hall of Fame announced today the draw and opening-round matches for the $150,000 Hall of Fame Champions Cup to be held August 20-23 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. Defending champion and No. 2 seed Pat Cash opens play in a re-match of the 1988 Australian Open final against Mats Wilander, while 2008 finalist Jim Courier, the top-seed in Newport and the No. 1 ranked player on the Outback Champions Series, begins play against fellow American Jimmy Arias.

Tickets for the grass-court event are now on sale and can be purchased at 866-914-FAME (3263) or by visiting www.tennisfame.com. The Hall of Fame Champions Cup is the fifth of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. The tournament will be an eight-player, single-knock-out event with the winner earning $60,000.

The complete schedule of play for the event is as follows;

Thursday, August 20th – 1pm
Singles Quarterfinal – Todd Martin vs. Wayne Ferreira
Followed by
Doubles Exhibition – Mats Wilander & Mikael Pernfors vs. Mark Philippoussis & Pat Cash
Followed by
Singles Quarterfinal – Jim Courier vs. Jimmy Arias

Friday, August 21st – 1pm
Singles Quarterfinal – Mark Philippoussis vs. Mikael Pernfors
Followed by
Doubles Exhibition – Jim Courier & Wayne Ferreira vs. Todd Martin & Jimmy Arias
Followed by
Singles Quarterfinal – Pat Cash vs. Mats Wilander

Saturday, August 22nd – 1pm
Singles Semifinal – Martin/Ferreira winner vs. Courier/Arias winner
Followed by
Doubles Exhibition
Followed by
Singles Semifinal – Philippoussis/Pernfors winner vs. Cash/Wilander winner

Sunday, August 23rd – 1pm
Championship Match
Followed by
3rd Place Match

Cash won the 2008 Hall of Fame Champions Cup, defeating Courier 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Martin won the inaugural Hall of Fame Champions Cup in 2007, defeating John McEnroe 7-5, 7-5 in the final. Pete Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Arias in the final. Following Newport, remaining events on the Outback Champions Series will be held in Charlotte (Sept. 24-27), Surprise, Ariz. (Oct. 8-11) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21).

Courier leads the current Champions Rankings on the Outback Champions Series with 2000 points, followed by Sampras with 1600 points and McEnroe with 1300 points. Arias sits at a career-high No. 4 Outback Champions Series ranking with 1050 points, followed by Cash with 700 points at No. 5 and Philippoussis at No. 6 with 600 points. Wilander, Pernfors and Patrick Rafter are tied at No. 7 with 500 points, while Martin rounds out the top 10 with 400 points.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Andre Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, established in 1954, is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. It was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s legendary grass courts remain the only competition grass courts available for professional events and exhibitions, while also available for public play. For more information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, events and programs, please call 401-849-3990 or log on to www.tennisfame.com

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent 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 Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.