Jan-Michael Gambill

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Washington Kastles win WTT Eastern conference title: Keep win streak alive at 15

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The Washington Kastles moved one step closer to their second World TeamTennis title and the first undefeated season in WTT Pro League history with a 23-15 victory over the Boston Lobsters in the WTT Eastern Conference Championship final.  The Kastles advance to Sunday’s WTT Finals presented by GEICO to face the winner of Saturday’s Western Conference Championship match.

Leander Paes, who was announced as the 2011 WTT Male MVP prior to the match, partnered with Rennae Stubbs to power past Boston’s Eric Butorac and Mashona Washington, 5-2, in the opening set.  That opening match set the tone for the rest of the first half as Stubbs and Arina Rodionova dominated Washington and her partner Irina Falconi in women’s doubles 5-1.  The Kastles cruised to a 15-5 halftime lead after Paes and Bobby Reynolds defeated Butorac and Jan-Michael Gambill in men’s doubles, 5-2.

Falconi tried to turn the tide in women’s singles as she faced off against WTT’s Female Rookie of the Year Rodionova.  Falconi jumped out to a 3-1 lead before Rodionova shifted gears and evened out the set at 4-4.  Falconi hit a crosscourt forehand winner for the 5-4 victory and the first set win for the Lobsters.

Gambill won men’s singles 5-3 to send the match into overtime.  Reynolds closed out Washington’s 15th consecutive victory by winning the first Overtime game to give the Kastles the 23-15 win.  The win gives 2011 Coach of the Year Murphy Jensen and his squad a shot at making WTT history in Sunday’s final.  No team in WTT history has ever gone undefeated throughout the entire regular and post-season.

The St. Louis Aces and the Sacramento Capitals face off for the Western Conference title at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 23.  The winner will play the Kastles at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 24, for the King Trophy in the WTT Finals.  The Finals will be televised live on Tennis Channel and live streamed on http://video.wtt.com.

FINAL RESULTS FROM THE EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH:

(Home teams in capital letters)

WASHINGTON KASTLES def. Boston Lobsters 23-15 (OT)

Mixed Doubles – Leander Paes\Rennae Stubbs (Kastles) def. Eric Butorac\Mashona Washington (Lobsters) 5-2

Women’s Doubles – Arina Rodionova\Rennae Stubbs (Kastles) def. Irina Falconi\Mashona Washington (Lobsters) 5-1

Men’s Doubles – Leander Paes\Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Eric Butorac\Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) 5-2

Women’s Singles – Irina Falconi (Lobsters) def. Arina Rodionova (Kastles) 5-4

Men’s Singles – Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) def. Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) 5-3

Overtime – Men’s Singles – Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) 1-0

Next Match: 7/23/2011

Western Conference Championship:  Sacramento Capitals @ ST. LOUIS ACES, 5:00 PM (EDT)

For live scoring and complete player / match statistics, please visit www.WTT.com

N.Y. Sportimes declaw Boston Lobsters in World TeamTennis, 21-16

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Martina Hingis won her singles and women’s doubles matches, pacing the New York SPORTIMES to a 21-16 World TeamTennis victory over the visiting Boston Lobsters at SPORTIME on Randall’s Island in Manhattan Wednesday night.

In men’s doubles, the SPORTIMES tandem of Jesse Witten and Greg Jones topped Jan-Michael Gambill and Eric Butorac, 5-3.  Hingis stretched New York’s lead with a 5-2 women’s singles victory over Coco Vandeweghe.  Men’s singles went to Gambill, who topped Witten, 5-3.  The mixed doubles team of Vandewegh and Butorac pulled Boston to within a point at 16-15 with a 5-3 win over Hingis and Jones, before Hingis and Abigail Spears finished off the victory with a 5-1 women’s doubles triumph over Vandeweghe and Mashona Washington.

With the win, New York avenged a loss to Boston in the season opener on Tuesday.

Both teams are in action on Thursday as the SPORTIMES visit Philadelphia, while the Lobsters travel to Washington.

World TeamTennis at New York

N.Y. Sportimes (1-1) def. Boston Lobsters (1-1), 21-16
Men’s Doubles: Jesse Witten/Greg Jones (N.Y.) d. Jan-Michael Gambill/Eric Butorac, 5-3
Women’s Singles: Martina Hingis (N.Y.) d. Coco Vandeweghe, 5-2
Men’s Singles:  Jan-Michael Gambill (Bos.) d. Jesse Witten, 5-3
Mixed Doubles: Coco Vandeweghe/Eric Butorac (Bos.) d. Martina Hingis/Greg Jones, 5-3
Women’s Doubles: Martina Hingis/Abigail Spears (N.Y.) d.  Coco Vandeweghe/Mashona Washington, 5-1

New York Sportimes start World Team Tennis home schedule Wednesday at Randall’s Island

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By Lindsay Gibbs

The New York Sportimes will kick off their 2011 World Team Tennis season this week as they take on the Boston Lobsters on Tuesday night (in Boston) and make their home debut on Wednesday (July 6th) at Sportime Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York City at 7:00 PM.  Martina Hingis, the former world No. 1 and five-time major champion, will play for the Sportimes as they take on a Boston Lobsters team featuring former U.S. Davis Cupper Jan-Michael Gambill.

World Team Tennis is an innovative co-ed sports league that was co-founded by Billie Jean King. The competitive team atmosphere, multi-colored courts, mixture of stars, and integration of singles and doubles provides a fresh and energized take on the conventional tennis format.

The New York Sportimes have been competing in World Team Tennis since 2000. They are currently defending their 2010 Eastern Conference Championship and hope to win their second World Team Tennis Title this year to match the one they earned in 2005. The Sportimes 2011 team includes Martina Hingis, John McEnroe, Robert Kendrick, Katie O’Brien, Jesse Witten, and Abigail Spears and is coached by Fritz Buehning.

The Sportimes will play five matches at Randall’s Island (July 6, 11, 14, 15, 20), and two home matches in Albany at the SEFCU Stadium (July 18 and 19).  Many legends of the game will compete this year as World Team Tennis celebrates its 36th season, “A Season of Number Ones.” On July 14th at Sportime Stadium, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors will renew their heated rivalry when Connors’ Philadelphia Freedoms come to town. On July 20th Serena Williams and Martina Hingis will face off when the Washington Kastles come to Randall’s Island.

Ticket information and a full schedule for the highly anticipated New York Sportimes season can be found at www.NYSportimes.com You can also find out more information on the other nine World Team Tennis Teams and sixty-three matches happening around the country this summer at WTT.com.

FEDERER RIDUCLED AS GRAND SLAM CHOKER? SAY IT AIN’T SO!

Roger Federer

Roger Federer, the man who has won more major singles titles than anyone in history, was once considered a Grand Slam tournament choker. Rene Stauffer, the author of the book THE ROGER FEDERER STORY: QUEST FOR PERFECTION ($24.95, New Chapter Press, www.RogerFedererBook.com), takes readers back to the time when Federer was remarkably perceived as a Grand Slam underachiever.

Chapter 15

The Grand Slam Block

Roger Federer’s declared goal for 2003 was, as before, to win a Grand Slam tournament. He finally wanted to rid himself of the moniker as the best player in tennis without a Grand Slam title. In his 14 career Grand Slam tournament appearances, his best results were two modest quarterfinal finishes— both achieved in 2001.

Coach Peter Lundgren still displayed an unshakable belief in Federer. He constantly repeated the mantra in his sonorous voice that Federer required more time than others to fully develop. “He has an unbelievable repertoire and he needs more time with his game for all the pieces to come together,” he said, declaring that the goal to be achieved for the 2003 season was to reach the top four in the world rankings. “Roger is on the right path and shouldn’t listen to what others are saying. He’s like a bird that is learning how to fly. As soon as he reaches his maximum flying altitude, he’ll be hard to beat. He is now beating all the players he is supposed to be beating. There isn’t much of a difference between being ranked No. 1, No. 5 and No. 10.” Pleasant words and nice thoughts—but what else was Peter Lundgren supposed to say?

More disturbing than the initial, unexpected defeats to Jan-Michael Gambill in Doha and Franco Squillari in Sydney was the reappearance of the pains in his groin that just didn’t want to go away. Federer was forced to rest and not practice for two days and his status for the Australian Open was in doubt. In addition, his late season surge and appearance in the Tennis Masters Cup in China late in 2002 diminished the already paltry tennis offseason. The season’s first Grand Slam tournament came much too early in the tennis season, especially for those who competed in the year-end Tennis Masters Cup. “There isn’t enough time to prepare,” said Federer.

The Czech Pavel Kovac was a member of Federer’s entourage as a physiotherapist since the past summer. He was a taciturn, burly man completely devoted to serving Federer. The wear and tear of the tennis circuit made Kovac and his services very important to Federer’s future success. Kovac managed to stop Federer’s pain just in time for him to post at the Australian Open.

In his first three matches, Federer did not lose a set. Expectations rose, especially when two of his rivals in his half of the draw—Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin—were eliminated from the tournament—Hewitt losing to Younes El Aynaoui and Marat Safin withdrawing with injury prior to his third-round match with Rainer Schuettler. In the round of 16, Federer faced David Nalbandian for the third time in his professional career—and for a third time—he was defeated. Federer seemed dazed against Nalbandian and struggled with the Argentinean’s backhand and strong counter-attack in the 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 loss. Another opportunity to win a Grand Slam tournament disappeared. Federer was completely devastated.

Away from the pressures of Grand Slam tournament play, Federer flourished and continued his winning ways. He won 16 of his next 17 matches—including two singles victories in Davis Cup against the Netherlands, where the Swiss, led by new captain Marc Rosset, defeated the Dutch 3-2. He then won his sixth and seventh career ATP titles in Marseille and Dubai. For the third consecutive year, the ATP named him the “Player of the Month” for February.

While Federer experienced disappointments on the major stages of the Tennis Masters Series events in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne, he again demonstrated his strength in Davis Cup, registering all three points for Switzerland in its 3-2 upset of France in Toulouse. So excited was Federer at leading the Swiss into the Davis Cup semifinals, he uncharacteristically celebrated at a disco in the French city, dancing and partying until the wee hours of the morning. Federer’s success continued into the start of the clay court season as he won the title in Munich and also reached the final of the Italian Open, losing unexpectedly to Felix Mantilla of Spain. The result, however, still propelled him into the conversation as being a favorite to win the French Open.

“I feel much better this year than the year before when I first was in the top 10,” he explained in one of the many interviews before the French Open. “It was a new situation for me back then. I’ve gotten used to it in the meantime.”

He admitted to feeling the pressure from the public. “The entire world keeps reminding me that I am supposed to win a Grand Slam tournament and be No. 1 in the world. That’s not fair because it’s not that easy,” he said. He then stated defiantly that “whoever wants to beat me will have to work hard for it. I don’t want to lose in the first round at Roland Garros again.”

On a summery Monday afternoon in Paris, Federer’s first match at the 2003 French Open took place on Court Philippe Chatrier, the center court named after the Frenchman who was a past president of the International Tennis Federation. His opponent was an unknown Peruvian Luis Horna, whom Federer beat earlier in the year in Key Biscayne. Horna, ranked No. 88 in the world, had yet to win a match at a Grand Slam tournament. Federer took an early 5-3 lead in the first set, but began to show his insecurity and nerves when, during a routine rush to the net, he slipped and fell to the ground, only to mutter to himself and show negative emotions. Despite his lead, he seemed discouraged and, quite unusually, often glanced desperately at Peter Lundgren. Federer lost his service break advantage and despite holding a set point in the tie-break, he surrendered the first set by an 8-6 tie-break. The match immediately turned into a drama for Federer. He seemed frustrated, apathetic and didn’t show any belief that he could win. He appeared mentally absent, missing even the easiest shots. He tallied 82 unforced errors in the 7-6 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (3) first-round loss.

The tournament was shockingly finished before it even really began. Federer, the fallen favorite, appeared in the overcrowded interview room with his head bowed low. “I don’t know how long I’ll need to get over this defeat,”

he said. “A day, a week, a year—or my entire career.”

Federer became the ridicule of the tournament. France’s sports newspaper L’Equipe ran a headline the next day translated as, “Shipwrecked In Quiet Waters” and published a cartoon in which a steam ship named “Roland Garros” steams away, leaving Federer behind in quiet waters. Florida’s Palm Beach Post described him as the “Phil Mickelson of Tennis,” comparing Federer to the American golfer who failed to win any of the major tournaments despite his great talent and many opportunities. “Federer has all the strokes but no Grand Slam trophy. He carries the dog tags of the best tennis player who

has never won a major competition.”

The loss undeniably confirmed Federer’s reputation as a Grand Slam loser. He showed that he was a player who could not pull out a match even though he was not playing his best tennis—a characteristic that most champion tennis players exhibited, most notably in the present by Lleyton Hewitt, who could win a match on guts and determination alone. Since his victory over Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001, Federer was 0-4 in matches at the French Open and Wimbledon—the last three matches without even winning a set. His last five Grand Slam tournaments ended in defeat at the hands of much lower-ranked players

What could one say in his defense? Federer was now five years into his ATP career and approached his 22nd birthday. He won six ATP singles titles, excelled in Davis Cup play and time and again insisted he was capable of achieving greatness. He was considered one of the bigger stars in tennis and climbed to No. 5 in the world rankings. But outside of the title in Hamburg, all of the tournaments he won were smaller events and even the German Open was not a Grand Slam tournament. Federer failed routinely in the arenas where it was decided if a player was a champion or not. The once precocious maverick simply could not bring his tremendous potential to bear at the Grand Slams. When looking at the successes of his idols, rivals or earlier great players, he couldn’t help but feel envy.

At his age, Becker, Borg, Courier, Edberg and Sampras as well as Hewitt, Safin and many others had already long since won their first Grand Slam titles. Federer, however, had not even reached the semifinals at a Grand Slam tournament. The experts were unanimous in their opinions that Federer was mature enough athletically to break through a win his first title. But athletic brilliance alone was not sufficient enough and Federer was still searching for the key to real success. An analysis would seem to indicate that a mental block was preventing him from winning. He felt under pressure to such a degree at the Grand Slam tournaments that he couldn’t concentrate on the moment, especially in the early rounds. This was a basic rule for success. The pressure came from all sides—but mostly from himself. He hadn’t yet learned that these tournaments couldn’t be won in the first week but they certainly could be lost. With some luck, he could have already won a Grand Slam title—in 2001, for example, after upsetting Sampras. Everything would have looked different.

After his loss to Horna, Federer seemed to be the loneliest man in tennis. He was a man alone braving the stormy tempest. How could he have known that this defeat was to be his last such one-sided Grand Slam defeat in a very, very long time? How could he have known that this painful experience was necessary in order to become the hardened, keen-sighted but yet modest champion who would have the tennis world at his feet?

Federer described what really happened when he faced Horna in Paris  months later. “I was simply not prepared mentally,” he said. “I put myself under too much pressure. After losing the first set, I couldn’t get back into the match. I had the feeling that it was impossible, that I was no longer in control of the situation. After the first set, I said to myself, ‘Even if I survive this round, I still have to play six more rounds to win this tournament.’ That almost drove me insane. I put myself under such pressure that I couldn’t play anymore.”

After the match, he said that he was overwhelmed with questions about the how and why. “But at that moment, I didn’t really feel like talking about it. I was too disappointed. I wanted to do nothing else but take eight days vacation and then start my preparations for the grass tournament in Halle. I didn’t want to think about Roland Garros—I wanted to forget it. I didn’t want to analyze what happened because I knew that I had simply failed mentally. I didn’t accept it by any means.”

One Week On Top – 10 Years Ago This Week

Patrick Rafter

Ten years ago this week, Patrick Rafter was on top of the world. On July 26, 1999 the Aussie hunk and two-time U.S. Open champion reached the career pinnacle by earning the No. 1 ranking on the ATP computer. Rafter’s reign, however, last only one week and he never again attained the top spot in the computer rankings, marking the shortest ever reign as a world’s top ranked player. The following text describes Rafter’s No. 1 ascent and other events that happened in tennis history this week as excerpted from the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTOR Y ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com).

July 26

1999 – Patrick Rafter of Australia begins his one – and only – week as the world’s No. 1 ranked player, replacing Andre Agassi in the top spot on the ATP computer. Rafter’s curious one-week reign as the No. 1 ranked player is the briefest stint in the top spot of any man or woman. Carlos Moya of Spain ranks No. 1 for only two weeks in March of 1999, while Evonne Goolagong ranks as  the No. 1 woman on the WTA Tour for a two-week period in April of 1976 (although not uncovered and announced by the WTA Tour until December of 2007).

1987 – The United States is relegated to zonal competition for the first time in Davis Cup history as Boris Becker defeats Tim Mayotte 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-2 in the fifth and decisive match as West Germany defeats the United States 3-2 in the Davis Cup qualifying round in Hartford, Conn. The Becker-Mayotte match is called by John Feinstein of the Washington Post as, “the match of their lives,” as Mayotte, who grew up in Springfield, Mass., a 25 miles from the Hartford Civic Center, plays inspired tennis in front of furiously vocal crowd. Says Becker after the epic match, “It was the most difficult match of my life. The circumstances made it hard, the crowd cheering every time I missed a serve made it hard and him playing for two sets like I have never seen him play in his life, it was all very tough. I just had to stay calm — stay calm, be patient and not go mad. If I go mad, I lose the match.” Writes Feinstein, “For Mayotte, this was sweet agony. He miraculously came from two sets down to force a fifth set. He was playing in an emotional daze, carried by the fans, by his teammates, by the circumstances.”

1969 – Nancy Richey is upset in the semifinals of the U.S. Clay Court Championships by Gail Sherriff Chanfreau, 6-3, 6-4 – ending her tournament record winning streak at 33 straight matches over seven years. Chanfreau goes on to win the title, beating Linda Tuero, 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

July 27

1986 – Martina Navratilova returns to her native Czechoslovakia and her hometown of Prague in triumph as a member of the U.S. Federation Cup team, clinching the U.S. 3-0 final-round victory over the Czechs with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Hana Mandlikova. “We all did it for Martina,” says Chris Evert Lloyd, whose 7-5, 7-6 victory over Helena Sukova began the U.S. sweep of Czechoslovakia in the final series. “We dedicate this Federation Cup to her.” Says Navratilova of the crowd support she received all week that results in a tearful closing ceremony for the Wimbledon champion and her U.S. teammates. “I wanted to tell them how special it was for me to be here. It exceeded my wildest expectations.”

1946 – In the final of the first French Championship since the conclusion of World War II, Frenchmen Marcel Bernard dramatically defeats fellow left-hander Jaroslav Drobny of Czechoslovakia 3-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in the men’s singles final. The French have to wait another 37 years before they celebrate another native men’s singles champion when Yannick Noah wins the men’s singles title in 1983. It will be another 59 years before another all left-handed men’s singles final is played at Roland Garros when Rafael Nadal defeats Mariano Puerta in the 2005 final. In the women’s singles final, Margaret Osbourne defeats fellow American Pauline Betz 1-6, 8-6, 7-5.

July 28

1991 – Andrei Chesnokov wins the Canadian Open in Montreal, defeating Petr Korda 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final and promises a high-spirited celebration. Says Chesnokov, “I’m going to New York, I’m going to go to Tower Records, have dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant and, of course, I’m going to get drunk.”

July 29

1990 – Michael Chang defeats Jay Berger 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 in the final of the Canadian Open men’s singles final in Toronto. The 24th-ranked Chang’s $155,000 winner’s check puts him in the million-dollar club for career prize money. “It feels good,” says the 18-year-old Chang of his financial achievement. “I think my first priority as far as tennis is concerned is not making money. My priority is to be the best in the world – the best I can be.”

1974 – Jimmy Connors becomes the No. 1 ranked player in the world for the first time in his career at the age of 21, replacing John Newcombe.

2001 – Andre Agassi defeats Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Mercedes Benz Cup in Los Angeles, Agassi’s 17th consecutive match victory on hard courts. Identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan of Camarillo, Calif., win their third ATP doubles title in six weeks, defeating Jan-Michael Gambill and Andy Roddick 7-5, 7-6 (8-6).

July 30

1928 – France successfully defends its Davis Cup title against the United States as Henri Cochet defeats Bill Tilden 9-7, 8-6, 6-4 clinching the 4-1 victory for France at newly-dedicated Stade Roland Garros in Paris, which is constructed to host the Davis Cup matches. Writes P.J. Philip of the New York Times, “On the central court of the Roland Garros Stadium at Auteuil, that Napoleon of tennis, Big Bill Tilden, met his Waterloo today. In three straight sets, Henri Cochet swept him off the field, holding the Davis Cup for France and writing finis to the world championship career of the most brilliant tennis player of the past decade. It was Waterloo alright.” Tilden’s career was not entirely finished following the loss. He was kicked off the Davis Cup team prior to this famous series for his “professional” writing from tennis events, which U.S. Lawn Tennis Association officials said violated his amateur status. However, due to the huge demand to see Tilden play against the four French “Musketeers” at the newly-constructed Roland Garros Stadium, the French government and French Tennis Federation pressured the USLTA to re-instate Tilden to the team to appease the ticket-buying public. Tilden is, instead, suspended from the U.S. Championships later in the summer, but continues to play high-level amateur tennis through 1930.

1996 – Andre Agassi stages a stunning comeback to advance into the medal round at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, coming back from a 3-5 third-set deficit to defeat Wayne Ferreira of South Africa 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinal of men’s singles. Ferreira is upset with Agassi’s behavior and profane language that results in Agassi receiving a point penalty in the first game of the second set. Says Ferreira, “I honestly believe he should be kicked off the court for the things he was saying. They were pretty rude and actually the worst I’ve ever heard anybody say. I’m surprised the umpires took it so lightly. If I was sitting in the chair, I probably would have done something different.” Retorts Agassi, “It was about the only way he was going to beat me.” Also advancing into the medal round in men’s singles are Leander Paes of India, who defeats Renzo Furlan of Italy 6-1, 7-5, Sergi Bruguera of Spain, who defeats Mal Washington of the United States 7-6 (8), 4-6, 7-5 and Fernando Meligeni of Brazil, who defeats Russia’s Andrei Olhovskiy 7-5, 6-3

July 31

1932 – In what Hall of Fame journalist and historian Bud Collins calls “The Great Cup Robbery,” France defeats the United States in the Davis Cup Challenge Round for the fifth time in six years as Jean Borotra clinches the Davis Cup for France, erasing a two-sets-to-love deficit, a 3-5 fifth-set deficit and four match points to defeat Wilmer Allison 1-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5.  Allison holds three match points while leading 5-3 in the fifth set – 40-15 and then with an advantage – but has his serve broken. In the next game, Allison holds another match point on Borotra’s serve. After missing his first serve, Borotra hits a second serve that by all accounts is out – but not called by the linesman. Allison, who did not make a play on the serve, runs to the net to shake hands with Borotra, but stands in disbelief at the non-call. Allison wins only one point in the remainder of the match to lose 7-5 in the fifth set, giving France it’s third point of the series, clinching the Cup.

2005 – Andre Agassi wins his 60th and what ultimately becomes his final ATP singles title, defeating 22-year-old Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4, 7-5 in 1 hour, 28 minutes to win the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles. The title is also the fourth tournament victory at the Los Angeles event for Agassi, who also wins on the campus at UCLA in 1998, 2001 and 2002. “It’s been a dream week for me for sure,” says the 35-year-old Agassi. “I couldn’t have expected to come in here and find my comfort level so early on in the tournament and get better with each match. It’s a great sign.”

World Team Tennis Final Results – Kastles Round Out The Playoff Field

With their 21-14 win tonight over the Springfield Lasers, the Washington Kastles clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and will face the New York Sportimes on July 24 in Washington, D.C.  The top-seeded Sportimes reached an agreement with the Kastles for the Advanta WTT Eastern Conference Championship to be held at Kastles Stadium in Washington, D.C., which will also be the site of the Advanta WTT Finals on July 26.

The Advanta WTT Western Conference Championship will take place on July 24 in Springfield, Mo. when the Springfield Lasers host the Newport Beach Breakers.  The winners of the Conference Championship matches advance to the Advanta WTT Finals.

Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League – Results for Wednesday, 7/22

(Home teams in capital letters)

FINAL RESULTS – All matches complete:

BOSTON LOBSTERS def. New York Buzz 20-16

Mixed Doubles – James Auckland\Raquel Kops-Jones (Lobsters) def. Ryan Lipman\Sloane Stephens (Buzz) 5-2

Women’s Singles – Sloane Stephens (Buzz) def. Stephanie Foretz (Lobsters) 5-2

Men’s Singles – Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) def. Alex Domijan (Buzz) 5-0

Women’s Doubles – Mallory Burdette\Sloane Stephens (Buzz) def. Stephanie Foretz\Raquel Kops-Jones (Lobsters) 5-3

Men’s Doubles – James Auckland\Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) def. Alex Domijan\Ryan Lipman (Buzz) 5-4

St Louis Aces def. PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS 21-17

Women’s Doubles – Kim Clijsters\Liga Dekmeijere (Aces) def. Madison Keys\Lisa Raymond (Freedoms) 5-2

Women’s Singles – Kim Clijsters (Aces) def. Madison Keys (Freedoms) 5-3

Mixed Doubles – Kim Clijsters\Tripp Phillips (Aces) def. Lisa Raymond\Nathan Healey (Freedoms) 5-4

Men’s Singles – Nathan Healey (Freedoms) def. Mislav Hizak (Aces) 5-1

Men’s Doubles – Mislav Hizak\Tripp Phillips (Aces) def. Josh Cohen\Nathan Healey (Freedoms) 5-3

WASHINGTON KASTLES def. Springfield Lasers 21-14

Men’s Doubles – Scott Oudsema\Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Martin Damm\Raven Klaasen (Lasers) 5-2

Women’s Singles – Nadia Petrova (Kastles) def. Vania King (Lasers) 5-3

Men’s Singles – Scott Oudsema (Kastles) def. Raven Klaasen (Lasers) 5-2

Women’s Doubles – Liezel Huber\Vania King (Lasers) def. Rennae Stubbs\Nadia Petrova (Kastles) 5-1

Mixed Doubles – Nadia Petrova\Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Liezel Huber\Martin Damm (Lasers) 5-2

NEWPORT BEACH BREAKERS def. Kansas City Explorers 24-15

Men’s Singles – Mike Russell (Explorers) def. Ramon Delgado (Breakers) 5-4

Women’s Doubles – Julie Ditty\Maria Sharapova (Breakers) def. Eugenie Bouchard\Meghann Shaughnessy (Explorers) 5-2

Mixed Doubles – Maria Sharapova\Kaes Vant Hof (Breakers) def. Eugenie Bouchard\Dusan Vemic (Explorers) 5-2

Women’s Singles – Maria Sharapova (Breakers) def. Meghann Shaughnessy (Explorers) 5-4

Men’s Doubles – Ramon Delgado\Kaes Vant Hof (Breakers) def. Mike Russell\Dusan Vemic (Explorers) 5-2

SACRAMENTO CAPITALS def. New York Sportimes 22-14

Mixed Doubles – Mark Knowles\Coco Vandeweghe (Capitals) def. Jesse Witten\Christina Fusano (Sportimes) 5-3

Women’s Doubles – Angela Haynes\Coco Vandeweghe (Capitals) def. Abigail Spears\Christina Fusano (Sportimes) 5-3

Men’s Singles – Sam Warburg (Capitals) def. Jesse Witten (Sportimes) 5-0

Women’s Singles – Abigail Spears (Sportimes) def. Angela Haynes (Capitals) 5-2

Men’s Doubles – Mark Knowles\Sam Warburg (Capitals) def. Robert Kendrick\Jesse Witten (Sportimes) 5-3

Standings

Eastern Conference MP W L PCT MB

y – New York Sportimes         14  10  4 0.714  –

x – Washington Kastles         14  7  7 0.500  3

Boston Lobsters            14  7  7 0.500  3

Philadelphia Freedoms      14  4  10 0.286  6

New York Buzz              14  4  10 0.286  6

Western Conference MP W L PCT MB

y – Springfield Lasers         14  12  2  0.857  –

x – Newport Beach Breakers     14  9  5  0.643  3

Sacramento Capitals        14  6  8  0.429  6

Kansas City Explorers      14  6  8  0.429  6

St Louis Aces              14  5  9  0.357  7

x = Clinched Playoff Spot

y = Clinched #1 seed for Conference Championship

Next Matches: 7/24/2009

Washington Kastles @ NEW YORK SPORTIMES, 7:00 PM (EDT)

Newport Beach Breakers @ SPRINGFIELD LASERS, 7:05 PM (CDT)

For live scoring and complete player / match statistics, please visit www.WTT.com

You Have To Step On His Throat

Ivan Lendl

Seventeen years ago today, July 23, one of the great rivalries ever in tennis played out for the last time as Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe played for the 36th and final time in their careers. As excerpted from my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.tennishistorybook.com), Lendl won his sixth straight match against McEnroe 6-2, 6-4 in quarterfinals of the event now known as The Rogers Cup. Lendl’s post-match comments following his win back in 1992 certainly reflected part of the tone of this epic rivalry. The full July 23 chapter is excerpted below…

1992 – In their 36th and final meeting as professionals, Ivan Lendl routs rival John McEnroe 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open in Toronto. Says Lendl of McEnroe, “If you have him on the ground on his back, you have to step on his throat. You can’t put out your hand and say come on over here and hit me. You have to concentrate all the time and not give him any chances.” When he was asked what kind of technique he used on McEnroe’s throat, Lendl smiles and replies, “I have spikes in my shoes and I try to twist them as much as I can. That’s the killer instinct.” Lendl wins the all-time series with McEnroe 21-15, including winning the last six meetings and 10 of the last 11.

1984 – Sixteen-year-old Aaron Krickstein becomes the youngest player to win the U.S. Pro Championships, defeating Jose-Luis Clerc 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 in the men’s singles final at the Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Mass. Clerc leads 3-0 in the final set, before Krickstein rallies for victory.

2000 – The United States is shut out for the first time ever in a Davis Cup series other than a Challenge Round or Final as Juan Carlos Ferrero and Juan Balcells complete a 5-0 shutout of the United States in the Davis Cup semifinal in Santander, Spain. In the final days’ dead-rubber matches, Ferrero defeats Vince Spadea 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, while Balcells defeats Jan-Michael Gambill 1-6, 7-6, 6-4. The shutout loss marks the end of John McEnroe’s short tenure as U.S. Davis Cup captain. In November, McEnroe announces his resignation as U.S. captain after only one year in the position. Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, the top two U.S. players, beg off the match with Spain with injuries. McEnroe, distraught with the loss, skips out on the post-match press conference, but  says to Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times in a pool phone interview from his car hours later driving to Bilboa airport,  “I’m totally spent. I’m deflated. It was tough and it was tough for everybody. I feel like I’m going to throw up. I’m not sure if it’s emotional or what, but I’m about to heave.”

2006 – Third-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia captures his first ATP title in his first final at the Dutch Open Tennis in Amersfoort. The 19-year-old does not lose a set at the championship and beats No. 4 seed Nicolas Massu of Chile 7-6(5), 6-4 in 2 hours, 41 minutes in the final.

1996 – The Olympic tennis competition opens in Atlanta with defending men’s singles gold medalist Marc Rosset of Switzerland winning the opening match on Stadium court, defeating Hicham Arazi of Morocco 6-2, 6-3.

2006 – A rookie into the top 10 rankings, James Blake defeats fellow American top tenner Andy Roddick 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the final at the RCA Championships at Indianapolis. Says Blake, “This was extremely exciting for me, to play really my best tennis. It’s a little more gratifying to do it when your opponent is playing well. I feel like I’ve earned the No. 5 ranking. It’s crazy what confidence will do. Every break goes against you when you don’t have confidence. And every break goes your way when you do have confidence. I have confidence now and they all seem to be going my way.”

1991 – Michael Chang and Pete Sampras are unceremoniously dumped in the second round of the Canadian Open in Montreal – Chang falling 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-3 to Italy’s Stefano Pescosoliso, while Sampras losing to Japan’s Shuzo Matsuoka 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8)

Navratilova leads Boston Lobsters to an overtime victory over Philadelphia Freedoms

Martina Navratilova

King of Prussia, Pa. (July 20, 2009) – Playing in her 20th World TeamTennis season, tennis legend Martina Navratilova led the Boston Lobsters to a 23-18 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Freedoms. Navratilova, a 31- time Grand Slam Doubles Champion, along with partner Raquel Kops-Jones defeated Wayne, Pa native Lisa Raymond and Madison Keys 5-2. Navratilova partnered with James Auckland but they were unable to overcome the Freedoms’ Raymond and Nathan Healey in mixed doubles. The Freedoms prevailed 5-4, forcing overtime, where the Lobsters won the first game to decide the match in their favor.

In the opening set, Philadelphia’s Josh Cohen made his 2009 debut for the Freedoms to lead them to a win in men’s doubles. Cohen teamed with Nathan Healey take down the Lobsters team of James Auckland and Jan-Michael Gambill 5-3.

In women’s singles, Stephanie Foretz of the Lobsters got revenge against Keys from their July 12th match in Boston when Foretz prevailed 5-3. In Freedom stadium tonight, Foretz battled back from a 1-3 deficit to defeat Keys on her home court 5-3. Riding on the wave of momentum, Jan-Michael Gambill rallied to beat Healey for the third time this season. He secured a solid 5-3 win for the Lobsters in men’s singles.

The Freedoms play their final home match of the season this Wednesday, July 22 when former world no.1 player and 2005 U.S. Open Champion Kim Clijsters and the St. Louis Aces visit Freedoms Stadium. Cljisters is playing the 2009 World TeamTennis season in preparation for her return to the pro tour leading up to the 2009 U.S. Open. Tickets for the final home match can be purchased by calling 866-WTT-TIXS or visiting philadelphiafreedoms.com.

Advanta World TeamTennis Pro League – Results for Monday, 7/20

FINAL RESULTS:
(Home teams in capital letters)
Boston Lobsters def. PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS 23-18 OT
Men’s Doubles – Josh Cohen\Nathan Healey (Freedoms) def. James
Auckland\Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) 5-3

Women’s Singles – Stephanie Foretz (Lobsters) def. Madison Keys (Freedoms)
5-3

Men’s Singles – Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) def. Nathan Healey (Freedoms)
5-3

Women’s Doubles – Martina Navratilova\Raquel Kops-Jones (Lobsters) def.
Madison Keys\Lisa Raymond (Freedoms) 5-2

Mixed Doubles – Martina Navratilova\James Auckland (Lobsters) def.
Lisa Raymond\Nathan Healey (Freedoms) 5-4

Mixed Doubles- Overtime- Martina Navratilova\James Auckland (Lobsters) def.
Lisa Raymond\Nathan Healey (Freedoms) 1-0.

The 2009 Philadelphia Freedoms season features the greatest lineup of tennis stars ever seen in Philadelphia – Andre Agassi, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Kim Clijsters, and Anna Kournikova – each appearing during one home match in July.
The Freedoms have two remaining home matches at the 3,000 seat Freedoms Stadium at the King of Prussia Mall. All events will feature world-class tennis in an innovative, fast-paced World TeamTennis format. Each evening will include exciting Block Parties produced by Comcast Spectacor and featuring USTA Quick Start Tennis, live music, inflatables, mascots, kids’ games, prizes, food, and much more.

PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS 2009 REMAINING HOME SCHEDULE
Wednesday, July 22 St. Louis Aces (Clijsters) at Phildelphia Freedoms
Match Begins at 7:30 p.m.

2009 Freedoms Sponsors include Advanta, Abington Hospital, Fidelity Investments, Beneficial Bank, Lincoln Mercury, Novo Nordisk, Comcast Cable, Skinny Water, USTA Middle States, 23K, Museum Catering, Endo Pharmaceuticals, ACME, Energy Plus, Macy’s, Dolce Valley Forge, McShane Sports Medicine, Excel Physical Therapy, Maui Wowi, CBS 3, WIP, WPHT, KYW Radio, WOGL, Bertolinis, Mortons Steakhouse, The Inquirer, and Drexel University Sport Management.

Mardy Fish Enters Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

Mardy Fish Enters Campbells Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

Newport, RI – The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced today that ATP World Tour Pro Mardy Fish has entered the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Scheduled for July 6-12 in Newport, the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships features 32 of the top men in professional tennis competing for $500,000 in prize money. Fish will be making his eighth appearance in Newport, where he reached the quarterfinals in 2000, 2002 and 2006. He also captured the 2008 Newport doubles title with partner John Isner.

This past weekend at the Delray Beach International Championships (Florida), Fish captured his third ATP World Tour title by defeating Russia’s Evgeny Korolev 7-5, 6-3. Fish, as the No. 1 seed in Delray Beach became the first top seed to win the event in its17-year history and the first American winner since Jan-Michael Gambill in 2003 (Gambill defeated Fish in that final). Fish enters the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships where the No.1 seed has not been able to claim the title for 32 years.

Since turning pro in 2000, Fish has reached 13 singles finals; his other singles titles include Stockholm (2003) and Houston (2006). Last month, he reached the February 15 final in San Jose, defeating World No. 7 Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarterfinal and World No. 11 James Blake in the semifinal, before bowing to the No. 21 ranked Radek Stepanek in the final.

“Mardy is looking very strong and playing very competitively,” said Mark Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Tournament Director of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. “We are pleased he will be returning to Newport in July, as he has been loyal to our tournament.”

The 27-year-old is the third-ranked American (behind Andy Roddick and Blake) and has broken the World Top 20, now ranked at No. 20. In 2008, Fish finished in the Top 25 for first time since 2003. He reached two ATP World Tour finals – New Haven and Indian Wells, where he dismissed Roger Federer in the semifinal before bowing to Novak Djokovic in the final. Fish also reached the semifinal in Los Angeles and the quarterfinals in Delray Beach, San Jose and Houston.  At the 2008 US Open, he achieved a career-best Grand Slam showing, reaching the quarterfinal round. Fish defeated No. 25 Paul-Henri Mathieu, No. 9 James Blake and No. 33 Gael Monfils, before losing to World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

The Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour tennis event, brings the top men in professional tennis to Newport, Rhode Island to compete on the legendary grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. The first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships were played in Newport in 1881, the tournament which evolved into the US Open. Today, the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships remains the only professional tournament played on grass in North America.

Tickets are on sale now for the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, played for the Van Alen Cup, and can be ordered online at www.tennisfame.com or by calling 866-914-FAME (3263). In conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, the International Tennis Hall of Fame will hold its annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, July 11 (12:30pm). The Class of 2009 represents Recent Player Monica Seles; Master Player Andres Gimeno; and Contributors Donald L. Dell; and Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson (posthumously). Tickets for Saturday’s semifinal matches and the 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are also available online. To purchase tickets, go to tennisfame.com. For additional information call the Tournament Office at 866-914-FAME (3263).

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis and its champions. For more information regarding the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, Tennis Tournaments, Events and Programs, please call 401-849-3990 or visit our website at www.tennisfame.com.

A Big Day For Big Bill And Jim Courier

billtilden

Today, February 10, is a hallmark day in American tennis as it marks the birthday of one of the country’s greatest champions – “Big” Bill Tilden – who was born 116 years ago today. Today also marks the anniversary of Jim Courier taking over the No. 1 world ranking on the ATP computer back in 1992. Courier became the first American man to rank No. 1 since John McEnroe in 1985 and ushered in an era of American dominance in the top spot with Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi also holding down the ranking in subsequent years. Courier, McEnroe and Sampras are still on the courts competing and will be action later this week at the Outback Champions Series this weekend in Boston. The following is the excerpt from my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, www.tennishistorybook.com) that outlines all that happened on this day, February 10, in tennis history.

billtilden

1893 – Six-foot-two “Big” Bill Tilden, regarded as one of the greatest players to ever pick up a tennis racquet, is born in Philadelphia, Pa. Tilden dominates the tennis world in the 1920s winning 20 major titles – 10 in singles including three Wimbledon titles and seven U.S. singles titles. Tilden anchors the winning U.S. Davis Cup teams from 1920 to 1926. Writes Bud Collins in The Bud Collins History of Tennis of Tilden, “If a player’s value is measured by the dominance and influence he exercises over a sport, then William Tatem “Big Bill” Tilden II could be considered the greatest player in the history of tennis.”

1992 – Jim Courier becomes the No. 1 ranked player in the world for the first time in his career, unseating Stefan Edberg from the top ranking and becoming the first American to hold the position since John McEnroe last holds the ranking on Sept. 8, 1985. Courier holds the ranking for a total of 58 weeks during his career.

2008 – Jill Craybas of the United States nearly pulls off one of the greatest final-round comebacks in the history of the WTA Tour at the Pattaya Open in Thailand. The thirty-three-year-old Craybas, the 1996 NCAA singles champion for the University of Florida, fights back from a 1-5 third-set deficit against Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska to win five game in a row, then holds match point at 6-5 in the third set, before losing the final by a 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (4) margin. “She came back and was fighting to the last point, I could have finished the match twice, but I didn’t,” says the eighteen-year-old Radwanska, who upset defending champion Maria Sharapova at the U.S. Open five months earlier. “I was nervous and everything put me off. It was a very strange match, but the most important thing is I won the match.”

2001 – Justin Gimelstob earns a dubious Davis Cup distinction when he and Jan-Michael Gambill are defeated by Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Lorenzo Manta 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 as the United States goes down 2-1 to the Swiss after the second day of play in the Davis Cup first round in Basel, Switzerland. The loss, which ultimately becomes his Davis Cup finale, drops Gimelstob’s Davis Cup record to 0-3, tying him with Robert Wrenn and Melville Long for the worst-ever record for a U.S. Davis Cup player. Wrenn loses two singles and a doubles match in the 1903 Davis Cup Challenge Round against Britain for his 0-3 record, while Long turns the same trick in the 1909 Davis Cup Challenge Round against Australasia. Gimelstob also loses in doubles with Todd Martin in the 1998 Davis Cup semifinal against Italy and, also in that tie, loses a dead-rubber singles match to Gianluca Pozzi.

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