Greg Rusedski

Sampras beats Bates to set up winner-take-all Pioline showdown

Pete Sampras set up a mouth watering winner-take-all clash with Cedric Pioline on Saturday after battling to victory over former British number one Jeremy Bates at the BlackRock Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday.

In a match that lasted just over an hour, Sampras was pushed to a second set tie break before eventually triumphing 6-3, 7-6(3) against an opponent nine years his senior. After the match, Sampras admitted he hadn’t been expecting to be pushed as hard as he was.

“The match was much tougher than I thought it would be,” he said. “I think on this court Jeremy’s pretty effective and he was serving and volleying well, particularly in the second set. I felt like I played pretty well, a little spotty at times but I’ve got to give him credit because he played really well.”

Sampras will now play Cedric Pioline on Saturday afternoon in a match that will decide which of the two men is to progress to Sunday’s final. Pioline has lost all nine of his previous meetings with Sampras, including the two most painful losses of his career in the 1993 US Open and 1997 Wimbledon finals.

“We’ve played in two Major finals before. He’s a talented guy and he’s going to be very tough to break out there because the court’s playing really quick,” said Sampras. “He’s got a good serve and he’s pretty eager to beat me so we’ll see what happens.”

The winner will take on Greg Rusedski in the final. The British player defeated Pat Cash 4-6, 7-5, 10-3 (Champions’ Tie-Break).

The event is being covered by ITV4 in the UK, and matches are also being streamed live on the ITV website, ITV.com. Click here to access the live stream http://www.itv.com/sport/tennis/default.html.

ITV4 TRANSMISSION TIMES

Saturday                                12.30 – 17.00 (19.30 Match on Red Button and also on the ITV.com website) Sunday                                  13.00 – 17:00

For tickets to the BlackRock Masters Tennis, or for further information, please call the box office on: +44 (0) 208 233 5882, or visit the official website.

Corporate Hospitality packages are also available. For more information, please call: +44 (0) 208 233 5854.

RESULTS – Friday 5th December
Stefan Edberg d. Guy Forget 1-6, 7-6(1), 10-6 (Champions’ Tie Break) Pete Sampras d. Jeremy Bates 6-3, 7-6(3)

LATEST GROUP STANDINGS
GROUP A
Matches won/lost (sets) Cedric Pioline                                                    2-0 (4-0) Pete Sampras                                                    2-0 (4-0) Jeremy Bates                                                     0-2 (0-4) John McEnroe               0-2 (0-4).
Greg Rusedski                                                    3-0 (6-2) Stefan Edberg                                                    2-1 (5-2) Guy Forget                                                         1-2 (3-5) Pat Cash                        0-3 (2-6).

ORDER OF PLAY (subject to change)

Saturday afternoon

Starting at 1pm
1          Singles RR      Pioline v Sampras  LIVE ITV4            2          Doubles Forget and Leconte v Black and Murray LIVE ITV4   3       Doubles Bahrami and Bates v Gullikson and McNamara LIVE ITV4

Saturday evening

Starting at 7.30pm
1          Singles RR      Bates v McEnroe                                2          Doubles           TBC                                        3          Doubles           TBC

Sunday
1          Singles Final                  LIVE   TBC                                        2          Doubles Final
LIVE   TBC                                        3          Doubles                                   LIVE   TBC

About BlackRock

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At September 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.259 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of September 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,800 employees in 22 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.

The BlackRock Masters Tennis: http://www.theblackrockmasters.com BlackRock Tour of Champions: http://www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

Win over McEnroe gives Pioline chance for Sampras revenge

Cedric Pioline will have the chance for revenge against Pete Sampras after ending John McEnroe’s hopes of a fifth BlackRock Masters Tennis title at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Pioline, 39, put in an impressive display of serving to record a 6-3, 6-4 victory over McEnroe in front of a packed crowd of nearly 4000 fans. The Frenchman took just one hour and 15 minutes to beat his American opponent 6-3, 6-4 and now moves into first position in Group B. On Saturday, he will face Sampras, the man he lost to in the 1993 US Open final and the 1997 Wimbledon final. If Pioline wins, Sampras will be going home empty-handed.
“Those two Grand Slam finals belong to the past but of course I wish I could have won at least one of them,” said Pioline. “It’s going to be fun because I haven’t played against Pete for eight or ten years and if I win it will be revenge for me.
“The way Pete’s serving and the way he’s hitting the ball, he probably could be in the top 20 or top 30 in the world today. But I’m playing good and I’m serving good so I think I have a good chance too and if I win I’ll be in Sunday’s final which would be special for me.”
McEnroe, who is ten year’s Pioline’s senior, showed clear signs of frustration throughout a match in which his opponent dominated with his thunderous serve, hitting 12 aces in total. Pioline went ahead early in the first set, breaking early on to lead 4-1 and serving out the set in impressive fashion. The second set was a tighter affair, with McEnroe managing to stay level until 3-3 when his opponent produced a scorching backhand winner to take a 4-3 lead. The break of serve proved to be decisive and from that point the Frenchman never looked back. He fittingly clinched the match with an ace down the centre line, at which point McEnroe held up his hands in surrender.
“It was one of those days when you hit the ball and everything goes in so that’s a great feeling for me,” said Pioline.
“I served very well and I felt good moving side to side. John’s always in good shape and I think he was playing very good tennis but today I was just a little bit better.”
Pioline will now play Pete Sampras on Saturday afternoon in a match that will decide who will top Group A and progress to Sunday’s final. The two men met nine times during their ATP Tour careers and Pioline is yet to notch up a victory against the 14 time Grand Slam champion Sampras. The Frenchman will have more than a place in the final to play for on Saturday as he will also be seeking revenge against the man who denied him his two best chances of Grand Slam success, beating him in both the 1993 US Open and 1997 Wimbledon finals.

In the first match of Thursday’s afternoon session last year’s BlackRock Masters runner up Guy Forget toppled Pat Cash 6-4, 4-6, 10-2 (Champions’ Tie Break) to move to second place in Group B.
The event is being covered by ITV4 in the UK, and matches are also being streamed live on the ITV website, ITV.com. Click here to access the live stream http://www.itv.com/sport/tennis/default.html.

ITV4 TRANSMISSION TIMES

Friday                                     18:00 – 21:30 Saturday                                12.30 – 17.00 (19.30 Match on Red Button) Sunday                                  13.00 – 17:00

For tickets to the BlackRock Masters Tennis, or for further information, please call the box office on: +44 (0) 208 233 5882, or visit the official website.

Corporate Hospitality packages are also available. For more information, please call: +44 (0) 208 233 5854.

RESULTS – Thursday 4th December
Guy Forget d. Pat Cash 6-4, 4-6, 10-2 (Champions’ Tie Break) Cedric Pioline d. John McEnroe 6-3, 6-4

LATEST GROUP STANDINGS
GROUP A
Matches won/lost (sets) Cedric Pioline                                                    2-0 (4-0) Pete Sampras                                                    1-0 (2-0) Jeremy Bates                                                     0-1 (0-2 John McEnroe               0-2 (0-4).
Greg Rusedski                                                    2-0 (4-1) Guy Forget                                                         1-1 (2-3) Stefan Edberg                                                    0-1 (1-2) Pat Cash                        0-2 (1-4).

ORDER OF PLAY (subject to change)

Friday afternoon

1          Singles RR      Edberg v Forget                                  2          Single              Bates v Sampras                                  3          Doubles           Bahrami/Pioline v McNamara/Murray

Friday evening

1          Singles RR      Cash v Rusedski                                 2          Doubles           Jarryd/Wilkinson v Black/Murray                   3          Doubles           Gullikson/Leconte v Fleming/Woodforde

Saturday afternoon

1          Singles RR      Pioline v Sampras                    2          Doubles          TBC                                        3          Doubles          TBC

Saturday evening

1          Singles RR      Bates v McEnroe                                2          Doubles           TBC                                        3          Doubles           TBC

Sunday

1          Singles Final                  LIVE   TBC                                        2          Doubles Final
LIVE   TBC                                        3          Doubles                                   LIVE   TBC

About BlackRock

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At September 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.259 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of September 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,800 employees in 22 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.

The BlackRock Masters Tennis: http://www.theblackrockmasters.com
BlackRock Tour of Champions:

http://www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

Sampras beats ‘best ever’ McEnroe on London return

Pete Sampras received a rapturous, hero’s welcome in his first appearance on English soil in six years as he defeated John McEnroe 6-3, 6-4 at the BlackRock Masters Tennis in London.

In the opinion of Sampras, McEnroe played the best tennis he has ever produced against the seven-time Wimbledon champion, but it still wasn’t enough to slay the younger of the two Americans at the Royal Albert Hall.

McEnroe forced 0-40 on Sampras’s opening service game, but he couldn’t quite convert his only real opportunity on the Sampras serve.

After that, some of the rallies and reflexes were breathtaking for men supposedly past their peak.

Both players served and volleyed throughout, and a packed crowd in the Royal Albert Hall savoured every moment. So did the players.

“Talking to a few of the guys about playing here they told me there were great crowds and that the arena was phenomenal and it really was,” said Sampras.

“To be retired for six years and still be able to play in front of good crowds like this is an honour. It was a fun night of tennis, it really was.”

And he had some generous words for McEnroe.

“To be 49 and to be able to serve and volley and be effective and still have the hands and the movement is incredible. Forty nine is not young in tennis so more credit to him for keeping himself fit. I know he does a lot of off court training and it’s paid off. I’m really impressed.”

So was McEnroe.

“This is the twelfth year I’ve played and I don’t know if there’s a lot of matches I’ve played better than this and I lost,” said McEnroe. “I was a little unlucky in some of the games, like the two service games and when I had 0-40 in the first game. It’s sort of like being thrown out to the wolves to play Pete in my first match but it’s just good to be part of it even though I lost.”

Sampras said he might use his day off on Thursday to visit Wimbledon. He hasn’t been back to the scene of his greatest triumphs since he lost to George Bastl in 2002.

Elsewhere, Greg Rusedski scraped past Stefan Edberg 7-6(7) 5-7,10-6 (Champions’ Tie Break), and Cedric Pioline defeated Jeremy Bates 6-3, 6-4.

MURRAY DREAM COMES TRUE

Growing up, Jamie Murray dreamt of trading groundstrokes with the great Pete Sampras. On Wednesday in London, his dream came true.

Needing a practice partner with a swinging, left-handed delivery ahead of his clash with John McEnroe, Sampras asked Murray, who is here to play in the doubles event.

The pair laughed and joked together, and for Murray, it was a special experience.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Murray. “I don’t think I’ve ever concentrated as hard in my life on a tennis court but it’s got to be done against Pete.  The first ball he fed in was about 120 mph. It was a lot of fun and he still hits the ball as sweet as a nut and he was caning it from the back of the court right the way through. But I enjoyed it and I never thought or expected that I’d get the chance to do it in my life.”

The event is being covered by ITV4 in the UK, and matches are also being streamed live on the ITV website, ITV.com. Click here to access the live stream http://www.itv.com/sport/tennis/default.html.

ITV4 TRANSMISSION TIMES

Thursday                               18:00 – 22:00

Friday                                     18:00 – 21:30

Saturday                                12.30 – 17.00 (19.30 Match on Red Button)

Sunday                                  13.00 – 17:00

For tickets to the BlackRock Masters Tennis, or for further information, please call the box office on: +44 (0) 208 233 5882, or visit the official website.

Corporate Hospitality packages are also available. For more information, please call: +44 (0) 208 233 5854 , e-mail:[email protected] or click here.

RESULTS – Wednesday 3rd December

Cedric Pioline d. Jeremy Bates 6-3, 6-4

Greg Rusedski d. Stefan Edberg 7-6(7) 5-7,10-6 (Champions’ Tie Break)

Pete Sampras d. John McEnroe 6-3, 6-4

ORDER OF PLAY (subject to change)

Thursday afternoon

1          Singles RR      Cash v Forget

2          Doubles           Bahrami/Bates v McNamara/Wilkinson

3          Doubles           Fleming/Woodforde v Jarryd/Leconte

Thursday evening

1          Singles RR      McEnroe v Pioline

2          Doubles           Rusedski/Wilkinson v McNamara/Woodforde

3          Doubles           Black/Leconte v Bahrami/Gullikso

Friday afternoon

1          Singles RR      Edberg v Forget

2          Single              Bates v Sampras

3          Doubles           Bahrami/Pioline v McNamara/Murray

Friday evening

1          Singles RR      Cash v Rusedski

2          Doubles           Jarryd/Wilkinson v Black/Murray

3          Doubles           Gullikson/Leconte v Fleming/Woodforde

Saturday afternoon

1          Singles RR      Pioline v Sampras

2          Doubles          TBC

3          Doubles          TBC

Saturday evening

1          Singles RR      Bates v McEnroe

2          Doubles           TBC

3          Doubles           TBC

Sunday

1          Singles Final                  LIVE   TBC

2          Doubles Final                          LIVE   TBC

3          Doubles                                   LIVE   TBC

About BlackRock

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At September 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.259 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of September 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,800 employees in 22 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.

The BlackRock Masters Tennis: http://www.theblackrockmasters.com

BlackRock Tour of Champions: http://www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

Sampras back in London at last

Pete Sampras arrived in London for the BlackRock Masters Tennis today and caught up with old friends, adversaries and members of the media.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion will take on John McEnroe in a mouth-watering debut match at the event on Wednesday, and he can’t wait to get started.

“I still want to win,” said Sampras.

“It’s still competitive. We all have a lot of pride in playing well and winning. It’s not like I need to come here and ‘have’ to win the event like when I was in my mid-20s when it was a question of ‘all or nothing’. But that said, people want to see me play well and all the guys play well so we all do take a lot of pride in doing what we used to do. For me, I still want to win and I still want to play good tennis.”

It completes the circle for Sampras, who has not set foot in England since his last Wimbledon in 2002.

“I said during my career that I would never play senior’s tennis,” he admitted.

“But you should never say never and I didn’t know how retirement was going to be. It’s tricky. Every athlete will tell you that when they stop at a pretty young age, trying to find different ways to keep yourself fulfilled is difficult and some people have to come out of retirement to do that. The schedule provided by playing here keeps me in shape and makes me a better father and husband. When you’re not doing much throughout your day I can lose my patience and start to think ‘what am I doing with my life’. But I’ve got years to figure it out and retirement is still a work in progress for me. There’s no book on it. But I’m still enjoying playing a little tennis.”

He is looking forward to the prospect of taking on McEnroe, Cedric Pioline and Jeremy Bates in Group A this week, and possibly Stefan Edberg or Greg Rusedski in the final, but Sampras has no regrets about calling it a day when he did. After winning the US Open in 2002 he took his time to make his decision, before ultimately declaring his 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Andre Agassi in the final as his last match.

“I was done, I really was,” said Sampras.

“Those last couple of years took a lot out of me. Not winning an event and then winning that last US Open, that was the last fuel I had in my tank. I gave it some time, I gave it six to eight months to really make sure I was done. Then, once Wimbledon came and went the year after I won the Open I knew it was time for me to move on. And I wasn’t going to play for the money or the limelight or to wave goodbye. I play to win. Once that day came where I was 100% done and I wasn’t willing to do the work, it was time for me to call it a career. Watching Wimbledon the year after made me realise that I didn’t have it in my heart to be there, and that’s when I knew that it was for real and I was feeling the emotion of not wanting to play anymore. So that was sort of my epiphany. I was waiting for that something to happen and once it didn’t happen it was time for me to move. I will say in the last couple of years I’ve missed it more than I did when I first retired. I definitely miss that Centre Court. But it’s a brutal sport and it took a lot out of me so I needed a few years to decompress and take a deep breath. To get to the point where I’d like to play again and play in a few of these events is pretty fun for me.”

The event is being covered by ITV4 in the UK, and matches are also being streamed live on the ITV website, ITV.com. Click here to access the live stream http://www.itv.com/sport/tennis/default.html.

On Tuesday, Greg Rusedski got off to a winning start with 6-3, 7-6 win over Guy Forget.

ITV4 TRANSMISSION TIMES

Wednesday                          18:00 – 19:00 (19.30 Match on Red button)

Thursday                               18:00 – 22:00

Friday                                     18:00 – 21:30

Saturday                                12.30 – 17.00 (19.30 Match on Red Button)

Sunday                                  13.00 – 17:00

For tickets to the BlackRock Masters Tennis, or for further information, please call the box office on: +44 (0) 208 233 5882, or visit the official website.

Corporate Hospitality packages are also available. For more information, please call: +44 (0) 208 233 5854.

RESULTS – Tuesday 2nd December

Greg Rusedski d. Guy Forget 6-3, 7-6

Stefan Edberg d. Pat Cash 6-4, 6-3

ORDER OF PLAY (subject to change)

Wednesday afternoon

1          Singles RR      Bates v Pioline

2          Singles RR      Edberg v Rusedski

3          Doubles           Bahrami/Wilkinson v Gullikson/McNamara

Wednesday evening

1          Singles RR      McEnroe v Sampras

2          Doubles           Leconte/Woodforde v Jarryd/Murray

3          Doubles           Gullikson/McNamara v Black/Fleming

Thursday afternoon

1          Singles RR      Cash v Forget

2          Doubles           Bahrami/Bates v McNamara/Wilkinson

3          Doubles           Fleming/Woodforde v Jarryd/Leconte

Thursday evening

1          Singles RR      McEnroe v Pioline

2          Doubles           Rusedski/Wilkinson v McNamara/Woodforde

3          Doubles           Black/Leconte v Bahrami/Gullikso

Friday afternoon

1          Singles RR      Edberg v Forget

2          Single              Bates v Sampras

3          Doubles           Bahrami/Pioline v McNamara/Murray

Friday evening

1          Singles RR      Cash v Rusedski

2          Doubles           Jarryd/Wilkinson v Black/Murray

3          Doubles           Gullikson/Leconte v Fleming/Woodforde

Saturday afternoon

1          Singles RR      Pioline v Sampras

2          Doubles          TBC

3          Doubles          TBC

Saturday evening

1          Singles RR      Bates v McEnroe

2          Doubles           TBC

3          Doubles           TBC

Sunday

1          Singles Final                  LIVE   TBC

2          Doubles Final                          LIVE   TBC

3          Doubles                                   LIVE   TBC

About BlackRock

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly traded investment management firms. At September 30, 2008, BlackRock’s AUM was $1.259 trillion. The firm manages assets on behalf of institutions and individuals worldwide through a variety of equity, fixed income, cash management and alternative investment products. In addition, a growing number of institutional investors use BlackRock Solutions investment system, risk management and financial advisory services. Headquartered in New York City, as of September 30, 2008, the firm has approximately 5,800 employees in 22 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com.

The BlackRock Masters Tennis: http://www.theblackrockmasters.com

BlackRock Tour of Champions: http://www.blackrocktourofchampions.com

On This Day In Tennis History Is Latest Book Release From New Chapter Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New Chapter Press has announced the publication of its latest book – On This Day In Tennis History -a calendar-like compilation of historical and unique anniversaries, events and happenings from the world of tennis through the yearswritten by Randy Walker, the sports marketing and media specialist, tennis historian and former U.S. Tennis Association press officer.

On This Day In Tennis History ($19.95, 528 pages), is a fun and fact-filled, this compilation offers anniversaries, summaries, and anecdotes of events from the world of tennis for every day in the calendar year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings. Easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details, the book is the perfect companion for tennis and general sports fans alike and is an excellent gift idea for the holiday season. The book features fascinating and unique stories of players such as John McEnroe, Don Budge, Bill Tilden, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Anna Kournikova among many others. On This Day In Tennis History is available for purchase via on-line book retailers and in bookstores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. More information on the book can be found at www.tennishistorybook.com

Said Hall of Famer Jim Courier of the book, “On This Day In Tennis History is a fun read that chronicles some of the most important-and unusual-moments in the annals of tennis. Randy Walker is an excellent narrator of tennis history and has done an incredible job of researching and compiling this entertaining volume.” Said tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of Jimmy Connors Saved My Life, “An addictive feast that you can enjoy every possible way-dipping in for various morsels, devouring it day-by-day, or selectively finding essential ingredients. As a tennis writer, I will always keep this book at the head of my table.” Said Bill Mountford, former Director of Tennis of the USTA National Tennis Center, “On This Day In Tennis History is an easy and unique way to absorb the greatest-and most quirky-moments in tennis history. It’s best read a page a day!”

Walker is a writer, tennis historian and freelance publicist and sports marketer. A 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s Marketing and Communications Division, he served as the press officer for the U.S. Davis Cup team from 1997 to 2005 and for the U.S. Olympic tennis teams in 1996, 2000 and 2004. He also served as the long-time editor of the U.S. Open Record Book during his tenure at the USTA from 1993 to 2005.

More information on the book can be found at www.tennistomes.com as well as on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1627089030&ref=name and on myspace at http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=428100548

People mentioned in the book include, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Anna Kounikova, Jennifer Capriati, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Martina Hingis, Gustavo Kuerten, Svetlana Kuznetsova, James Blake, Wilmer Allison, Mal Anderson, Arthur Ashe, Juliette Atkinson, Henry “Bunny” Austin, Tracy Austin, Boris Becker, Kark Behr, Pauline Betz, Bjorn Borg, Jean Borotra, John Bromwich, Norman Brookes, Louise Brough, Jacques Brugnon, Butch Buchholz, Don Budge, Maria Bueno, Rosie Casals, Michael Chang, Philippe Chatrier, Dodo Cheney, Henri Cochet, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Ashley Cooper, Margaret Court, Jack Crawford, Allison Danzig, Dwight Davis, Lottie Dod, John Doeg, Laurence Doherty, Reggie Doherty, Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers, Jaroslav Drobny, Margaret duPont, Francoise Durr, James Dwight, Stefan Edberg, Roy Emerson, Chis Evert, Bob Falkenburg, Neale Fraser, Shirley Fry, Althea Gibson, Pancho Gonzalez, Evonne Goolagong, Arthur Gore, Steffi Graf, Bitsy Grant, Darlene Hard, Doris Hart, Anne Jones, Gladys Heldman, Slew Hester, Bob Hewitt, Lew Hoad, Harry Hopman, Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, Joe Hunt, Frank Hunter, Helen Jacobs, Bill Johnston, Perry Jones, Bob Kelleher, Billie Jean King, Jan Kodes, Karel Kozeluh, Jack Kramer, Rene Lacoste, Bill Larned, Art Larsen, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Suzanne Lenglen, George Lott, Gene Mako, Molla Mallory, Hana Mandlikova, Alice Marble, Dan Maskell, Simone Mathieu, Mark McCormack, John McEnroe, Ken McGregor, Kitty Godfree, Chuck McKinley, Maurice McLoughlin, Frew McMillian, Don McNeill, Elisabeth Moore, Angela Mortimer, Gardnar Mulloy, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, John Newcombe, Yannick Noah, Jana Novotna, Betty Nuthall, Alex Olmedo, Rafael Osuna, Frank Parker, Gerald Patterson, Budge Patty, Fred Perry, Nicola Pietrangeli, Adrian Quist, Patrick Rafter, Dennis Ralson, Vinnie Richards, Nancy Richey, Cliff Richey, Bobby Riggs, Tony Roche, Mervyn Rose, Ken Rosewall, Elizbeth Ryan, Gabriela Sabatini, Pete Sampras, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Manuel Santana, Dick Savitt, Ted Schroeder, Gene Scott, Richard Sears, Frank Sedgman, Pancho Segura, Vic Seixas, Frank Shields, Pam Shriver, Stan Smith, Fred Stolle, Bill Talbert, Bill Tilden, Tony Trabert, Lesley Turner, Jimmy Van Alen, John Van Ryn, Guillermo Vilas, Ellsworth Vines, Brian Gottfried, Virginia Wade, Holcombe Ward, Watson Washburn, Mal Whitman, Mats Wilander, Tony Wilding, Helen Wills Moody, Sidney Wood, Robert Wrenn, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Todd Woodbridge, Marat Safin, Leslie Allen, Sue Barker, Jonas Bjorkman, Mahesh Bhupathi, Donald Dell, Albert Costa, Mark Cox, Owen Davidson, Pat Cash, Mary Carillo, John Isner, Roscoe Tanner, Vijay Amritraj, Mark Woodforde, Tim Henman, Richard Krajicek, Conchita Martinez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Cliff Drysdale, Mark Edmondson, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Zina Garrson, Roland Garros, Wojtek Fibak, Tom Gullikson, Andres Gimeno, Vitas Gerulaitis, Fernando Gonzalez, Tim Henman, Goran Ivanisevic, Andrea Jaeger, Ivo Karlovic, Richard Krajicek, Petr Korda, Luke Jensen, Murphy Jensen, Rick Leach, Iva Majoil, Barry MacKay, Ivan Ljubicic, Cecil Mamiit, David Caldwell, Alex Metreveli, Nicolas Massu, Todd Martin, Gene Mayer, Thomas Muster, Tom Okker, Charlie Pasarell, Mary Pierce, Whitney Reed, Leander Paes, Renee Richards, Helen Sukova, Michael Stich, Betty Stove, Ion Tiriac, Brian Teacher, Wendy Turnbull,  Richards, Fabrice Santoro, Ai Sugiyama, Patrick McEnroe, Camille Pin, Phil Dent, Jelena Dokic, Mark Edmondson, Gael Monfils, Xavier Malisse, Dinara Safina, Barry Lorge, Stefano Pescosolido, Fabrice Santoro, Roscoe Tanner, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Roger Smith, Erik van Dillen, Gene Mayer, Tamara Pasek, Stefan Koubek, Jie Zheng, Gisela Dulko, Kristian Pless, Chuck McKinley, Marty Riessen, Brad Gilbert, Tim Mayotte, Andrea Petkovic, Klara Koukalova, Bobby Reynolds, Dominik Hrbaty, Andreas Seppi, Christopher Clarey, Casey Dellacqua, Anders Jarryd, Janko Tipsarevic, Nadia Petrova, Christian Bergstrom, Ramesh Krishnan, Emily Sanchez, Marcos Baghdatis, Mark Philippousssis, Wally Masur, Paul McNamee, Daniela Hantuchova, Gerry Armstrong, Younes El Aynaoui, Thomas Johansson, Pat Cash, Lisa Raymond, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Chanda Rubin, Tony Roche, Alex O’Brien, Petr Korda, Karol Kucera, Amelie Mauresmo, Juan Gisbert, Pablo Cuevas, Jim Pugh, Rick Leach, Julien Boutter, Larry Stefanki, Chris Woodruff, Jill Craybas, Sania Mirza, Mike Leach, Maggie Maleeva, Guillermo Canas, Guillermo Coria, Donald Young, Dick Stockton, Johan Kriek, Milan Srejber, Zina Garrison, Slyvia Hanika, Karin Knapp, Laura Granville, Kei Nishikori, Scott Davis, Paul Goldstein, Alberto Martin, Nicolas Kiefer, Joachim Johansson, Jonathan Stark, Jakob Hlasek, Jeff Tarango, Amanda Coetzer, Andres Gomez, Richey Reneberg, Francisco Clavet, Radek Stepanek, Miloslav Mecir, Jose-Luis Clerc, Colin Dibley, Mikael Pernfors, Martin Mulligan,  Robbie Weiss,  Hugo Chapacu, Victor Pecci, Charlie Bricker, Greg Rusedski, Robin Finn, Kimiko Date, David Nalbandian, Goran Ivanisevic, Mikhail Youzhny, Nicole Pratt, Bryanne Stewart, Novak Djokovic, Rennae Stubbs, Corina Morariu, Marc Rosset, Kenneth Carlsen, Kimiko Date, Ryan Harrison, Richard Gasquet, Jimmy Arias, Jim Leohr, Felix Mantilla, Cedric Pioline, Annabel Croft, Brooke Shields, Jaime Yzaga, Slobodan Zivojinovic, Alberto Mancini, Peter McNamara, Andrei Chesnokov, Fabrice Santoro, Bud Collins, Mardy Fish, Sebastien Grosjean, Donald Dell, Petr Kuczak, Magnus Norman, Hicham Arazi, Nduka Odizor, Lori McNeil, Horst Skoff, Karolina Sprem, Ros Fairbank, Linda Siegel, Chris Lewis, Kevin Curren, Thierry Tulasne, Guy Forget, Fred Tupper, Jaime Fillol, Belus Prajoux, Ricardo Cano, Georges Goven, Ray Moore, Charlie Pasarell, Paul Annacone, Tomas Smid, Dmitry Tursunov, Elena Dementieva, Arnaud DiPasquale, Carl Uwe Steeb, Bill Scanlon, Jose Higueras, Jay Berger, Jana Novotna, Bill Dwyre, Lisa Dillman, Sean Sorensen, Paul McNamee, Jiri Novak, Benjamin Becker, Ion Tiriac, Neil Amdur, Tim Gullikson, Jan-Michael Gambill, Taylor Dent, Bryan Shelton, Vijay Amritraj, Martin Verkerk, Brian Gottfried, Carlos Moya, Jacco Eltingh, Adriano Panatta, John Feinstein, Aaron Krickstein, Wilhelm Bungert, Derrick Rostagno, Torben Ulrich, Daniel Nestor, Ray Ruffels, Cliff Drysdale, James Reilly, Andy Murray, Leander Paes, Alicia Molik, Barry MacKay among others.

New Chapter Press is also the publisher of The Bud Colins History of Tennis by Bud Collins, The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer and Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli and the soon to be released title The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.newchapterpressmedia.com

Bill Mountford – Dispatches From Newport, R.I, Part II

Vince Spadea “ain’t afraid a-ya” and the magical Fabrice Santoro have reached the other semifinal.  When these thirty-somethings square off, it will be a nice contrast to the first semifinal that I wrote about in the previous column.

Santoro, referred to as The Magician for his inventive ways of returning balls, is the defending champion.  At the age of 35, he has been battlin g on the ATP Tour for nearly two decades.  Remember that he was once a precocious teenager, and he played in his first Roland Garros main draw at the age of 16 in 1989.  Santoro is the defending champion, having beaten fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in the 2007 final.  He is certainly a crowd favorite in Newport.

A few weeks ago, Santoro achieved a unique career milestone when he lost to Andy Murray at Wimbledon.  He had played on the main stadium courts at all of the majors except for the Big W.  While he lost in three entertaining sets, it was nice to see another of the two-hander’s dreams fulfilled.

Vince Spadea, soon-to-be 34 years old, reached the Newport finals in 2005, losing a heartbreaker to Greg Rusedski after leading 5-3 in the 3rd set.  This loss would have haunted him, because Spadea has taken but one ATP Tour title in his 16 year career.  Considering that Spadea has played 344 tourneys as a professional, the fact that he has only garnered one title is a remarkable statistic.  His lifetime professional record stands at 304 wins against 343 losses.

The grass courts are playing plenty soft and the bounces are low and erratic.  It is like old-time grass court tennis.  I had the privilege of playing on these courts yesterday, as anybody can.  These are the only public grass courts in America, and one more reason that all tennis players and fans should pilgrimage to Newport at least once each summer.

I played against former University of Georgia Bulldog and current publishing magnate Randy Walker.  Thankfully, the book orders for his recently published The Bud Collins History of Tennis, are coming in more consistently than any of Walker’s service returns.

Saturday’s induction ceremony is shaping up to be another wonderful day for our sport.  There will be six speeches, including from John McEnroe and Monica Seles, and the usual flawless Newport summer weather.  Missing, however, will be Hall of Famer and MC extraordinaire Arthur “Bud” Collins.  The ageless Collins has been a fixture at every summer tennis event in Newport, Rhode Island since 1881, including the first US National Championships which were played at the Casino.

The colorful Collins is nursing a leg injury sustained in Paris (where was Billy Norris when he needed him the most!?!).  While the injury will keep Collins from playing barefoot on the grass courts this summer, a full recovery is expected.  Collins is the greatest player- or hacker- in the history of Lima, Ohio and his humor and grace will be missed at this year’s ceremony.  Get well soon, Bud.  Our sport needs you.

For Bill Mountford tennis instruction videos click here!

Bill Mountford – Dispatches from Newport, R.I., Part I

Frank Dancevic is set to square off against Prakash Amritraj in the semifinals of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Championships on the grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in America’s Resort City.  It is always exciting to see young players (aged 23 and 24, respectively) compete for high stakes as they look to establish top-class credibility.

A win for the top-ranking Canadian Dancevic would represent his second visit to an ATP Tour final.  He would become the first Canadian to play for a title in Newport since Greg Rusedski in 1993, who won three times.  Recall that Rusedski’s first title was for the Maple Leaf flag, about a year before he began wearing Union Jack headbands.

The Californian-bred Amritraj represents India in international competition, and should he take the title, then he and his father will be celebrated as the first father-and-son combination to have won the same ATP event.  Like Rusedski, Prakash’s father Vijay Amritraj also won three times in Newport.  The smiling former champion, and actor from the James Bond flick Octopussy, is in Newport this week cheering for his boy.

Prakash’s uncles, Anand and Ashok, also played in Newport, so suffice to say that the Amritraj family is pretty comfortable in this town- and certainly on the grass.  Anand Amritraj defeated 18-year-old John McEnroe in the 1977 event, while McEnroe was days removed from his improbable run to the Wimbledon semifinal as a qualifier in his debut at SW19.

Speaking of John McEnroe, he is back in Newport this weekend, poised to present Gene Scott with his posthumous induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  Gambling is strictly prohibited at the Newport Casino, and taboo in the world of tennis, but there are- apparently- some punters who have established an over/under of 25 minutes for McEnroe’s introduction.  I would gladly take the over.

The greatest doubles team in the world was often- and famously- considered to be John McEnroe and Anybody.  However, this was not always the case, and former US Davis Cupper Gene Scott was proof.  In 1977, McEnroe and Scott entered the qualifying for the Wimbledon gentlemen’s doubles, but never made it out of Roehampton.  McEnroe’s subsequent success (78 career doubles titles) made the story amusing, and became a source of needling between the two New Yorkers.

Gene Scott was for many years the conscious of tennis, and he used his pulpit as Founder and Publisher of Tennis Week magazine to assure that justice was always called for.  McEnroe has used his pulpit as an exceptional television commentator, as well as his compulsive need for the public stage, to carry on in the Scott tradition.  I hope that he speaks for as long as he pleases (and pity the soul who tries telling him to stop!).

For Bill Mountford tennis instruction videos click here!

The Journeyman: Bud Schultz, A Retrospective

Bud Schultz can arguably be considered the second best male player ever to come out of Connecticut, after James Blake. He was a mainstay on the tour in the 80’s, and achieved a high singles ranking of #39 in the world. His path to professional tennis began when he picked up a racket at the age of 13, considered quite late by today’s standards, but just goes to show his athletic prowness. He chose Bates College in Maine for its academics, and also it enabled him to play two sports: basketball and tennis.There is no question that he is considered the best Division III male tennis player ever.

He idolized tennis’s Vitas Gerulaitis and basketball’s Walt Frazier and John Havilicek, growing up in Meriden, Conn.While growing up, he really didn’t have any formal coaching until college, and while on the tour he chose Bill Drake as his mentor because of Drake’s resume with working with players like Tim Mayotte and Barbra Potter.He would get coaching for free in exchange for working at Drake’s summer junior program.

He decided to give the tour a shot when after playing John James, a top 100 singles player from Australia, in a money tournament right after college. After their tough three-set match, James told Bud, “You need to get out there.” Bud responded with a quizzical look, and replied, “Out where?” James then explained to him that it would be wise to give the tour a shot. A friend of Bud’s named Carl Greenman put together a syndicate of money together to give him an opportunity to go out the circuit.Within three years, Bud had paid them back and doubled their money, and then was able to sustain himself on the tour, on his own.

If he could bring back one point from his career, he says he would like to have it when he played Yannick Noah at the Aussie Open when he was up two sets to love, and ended up going down in five tough sets. Another interesting moment happened at his third round match on Labor Day weekend against John McEnroe at the US Open. Bud lost in straight sets, and after the match his college buddy who he was staying with in NYC Rob Kramer came up to him and said to him, “We got to go now.” Bud was a little perplexed, and asked, “Where are we going?” Rob said, “I got your bags, we are going to the airport, we got to get back to Boston, and go to this party!” So within a half an hour of the match, they were on the shuttle back to Boston, and on the lake waterskiing within two hours. All of his friends were oblivious to him having just played a legend on Louis Armstrong Stadium.

“My friends really kept me grounded when I was playing,” said Bud, thinking back on his career.

At the age of 29, Bud decided to hang it up on the tour, due to stress factures that developed in his legs and back. He immediately applied to the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston to be their head pro, and got the job. He also began to coach Ivan Lendl, who he had befriended on the tour. Tony Roche was Lendl’s official coach, but Bud would stay at Ivan’s house in Connecticut on weekend’s and help him out. At that time, Lendl was really making a go of trying to win Wimbledon, and Bud’s serve and volley game attracted Ivan to him to get some pointers.He also worked with Pam Shriver and Greg Rusedski. He also started along with Ned Eames a organization called “Tenacity,” that creates thousands of junior tennis players, along with teaching them life skills in the Boston area.

Bud now has three kid’s with his wife Elaine; Christo, Luke and Haley. He says they all couldnt be more different, with one son Christo being the top-ranked eighteen-year-old junior tennis player in New England. He now spends most of his time running a tennis facility he owns in Cohasset, Mass.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the tennis in Monte Carlo!

The Journeyman

Retailer Teams with Tennis Great Jim Courier to Provide Free School Supplies to Students

Jim Courier at StaplesSoon after Jim Courier’s five-set heroics against Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski in the epic 3-2 U.S. win over Great Britain in the 1999 Davis Cup, he walked into a local grocery store in Orlando, Fla. To Courier’s surprise, his efforts on behalf of his country’s national tennis team did not go unnoticed as the bag boy at the store said to Courier, “`You’re that Davis Cup guy!’ ”

Courier had the shoe on the other foot Thursday as he was the bag boy as he and Stapes teamed up to make it “easy” for 20 students to purchase school supplies with an exciting shopping spree at the Staples Brighton location. Staples and Courier provided each student, who participate in Boston’s after-school tennis program “Tenacity” with a $100 Staples gift card to purchase much-needed school supplies.

Courier, who will compete in the third annual Champions Cup Boston tennis tournament April 30-May 4 at Boston University’s Agganis Arena, joined Staples CEO Ron Sargent in helping students pick out school supplies and check-out at the register. Ned Eames, the President and Founder of Tenacity, the official charity of the Champions Cup Boston, was also on hand helping the students shop, and accepted an additional $1,000 donation to Tenacity from Staples.

“It is our privilege to be involved in today’s shopping spree alongside our Champions Cup Boston corporate sponsor, Staples,” said Courier, Co-Founder of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and the Outback Champions Series. “Staples’ leadership in the Boston community is matched by Tenacity’s commitment to positively impact the lives of thousands of area children annually and we couldn’t be more pleased to work together.”

“Charitable organizations that make a difference for today’s youth are central to Staples’ philanthropic mission,” said Sargent. “We are proud to show our support for Champions Cup Boston and its charity partner, Tenacity.”

“Giving children the chance to obtain school supplies at no cost is another great benefit of Tenacity’s partnership with Champions Cup Boston,” said Eames. “We are grateful for the contribution that Staples has made to each student and for the $1,000 donation they made to our organization. Jim Courier and Staples’ generosity will have an immediate impact on our kids, who will use these valuable educational tools – notebooks, pens and pencils – to learn more effectively and guide them along the right path to fulfill their dreams.”

Tickets for Champions Cup Boston start at just $15 and are available now at ChampionsSeriesTennis.com or by calling (617) 931-2000.

InsideOut Sports & Entertainment announced last month the return of tournament tennis to Boston with the third annual Champions Cup Boston. Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras, seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe, four-time Grand Slam champion Courier and Australian and US Open finalist Todd Martin will join four more tennis greats as they vie for the title and $150,000 in prize money at Agganis Arena April 30-May 4, 2008. Sampras will defend his Champions Cup title where, one year ago, he came out of retirement to defeat Todd Martin in a hotly contested final where he saved three match points. McEnroe finished in third place.

Boston is the third tournament on the 2008 Outback Champions Series, a collection of men’s tennis events in the United States and abroad featuring some of the greatest names in the sport over the age of 30.

About Staples

Staples, Inc. invented the office superstore concept in 1986 and today is the world’s largest office products company. With 76,000 talented associates, the company is committed to making it easy to buy a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2007 sales of $19.4 billion, Staples serves consumers and businesses ranging from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in 22 countries throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates more than 2,000 office superstores and also serves its customers through mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at www.staples.com.

About the Outback Champions Series

Founded in 2005, the 2008 Outback Champions Series features eight events where champion tennis players continue to exercise their competitive instincts in tournament formats which feature prize money and Champions Series ranking points to determine the year-end Stanford Champions Rankings No. 1 player. In 2008, the year-end Stanford Champions Rankings No. 1 will also receive a $100,000 cash bonus. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached either a Grand Slam singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. Each event also has the right to choose a “wild card” entrant.

About InsideOut Sports & Entertainment

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 one-night “Legendary Night” exhibitions as well as corporate outings, charity events and tennis fantasy camps, including the annual Ultimate Fantasy Camp. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

About Tenacity

Tenacity is one of the premier youth development programs in the City of Boston offering both after-school and summer programming that combines tennis, literacy and life skills to help youth develop the skills and self-confidence they need to succeed in life. Tenacity’s After-School Excellence Program currently partners with eight middle schools in Boston to provide intensive after-school services for 210 students. The Summer Tennis & Reading Program operates at 28 neighborhood sites throughout the city and more than 4,500 Boston youth participate