Kevin Kim

Kendrick Leads Early Commitments To Hamptons 20-Ball Open at Napeague

NEW YORK, June 10 – Robert Kendrick, the No. 5-ranked American tennis player, leads the early commitments to the inaugural “Gotham Tennis Academy Hamptons 20-Ball Open” to be held July 5 at the Napeague Tennis Club in Amagansett, N.Y.

This unique single day event will award a first-prize paycheck of $10,000 and features an action-filled, first-to-20-point match format beginning with a ground-stroke feed in lieu of a traditional serve. The event is open to both male and female players of all levels – professional and amateur. A qualifying tournament will be held on Monday, June 29.

Kendrick recently distinguished himself at the French Open in Paris, becoming the second-best performing American in the men’s singles tournament. Kendrick, who is ranked No. 76 in the world, reached the second round in Paris before losing to Gilles Simon of France. Joining Kendrick as early commitments in the tournament are Israeli Davis Cup star Dudi Sela as well as No. 6-ranked American Kevin Kim and tournament organizer and Gotham Tennis Academy touring professional Alex Bogomolov.

“Gotham Tennis Academy is excited to host this unique and fun event for tennis fans and players at the Napeague Tennis Club,” said Bogomolov. “The single day tournament provides a special opportunity to see professional players up close in a fast-paced, exciting-to-watch format. For non-professional players, this is a very rare opportunity to test skills against top level pros. If you are an amateur player who has ever wondered how many points you could get against a pro, we encourage you to put your game on the line and enter.”

The rules of each match in the high-action, fast-paced competition format are as follows:

* Feed below the waist to start the point, no “second serve” feeds.
* Player starts the point with a crosscourt feed.
* Players alternate feeding five consecutive points, similar to ping-pong.
* Players alternate feeding between the deuce and ad court every five points.
* Sudden death point at 19 all

Prize money will also be awarded to the tournament runner-up, who will earn $1,000, as well as semifinalists ($300) and quarterfinalists ($100). Entry fees are $100 for the main draw and $50 for the qualifying draw.

To enter the tournament, please contact Gotham Tennis Academy Hampton-20 Ball Tournament Director at 646-292-3511 or via email at [email protected]. Complimentary transportation will be provided to and from New York City airports.

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

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

Mondays With Bob Greene: Andy Murray edges Novak Djokovic

STARS

Andy Murray edged Novak Djokovic 7-6 (4) 7-6 (5) to win the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters at Cincinnati, Ohio

Dinara Safina won the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Canada, beating Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-1

Caroline Wozniacki beat Vera Dushevina 6-0 6-2 to win the Nordic Light Open in Stockholm, Sweden

Filippo Volandri beat Oscar Hernandez 6-3 7-5 to win the Zucchetti Kos Tennis Cup in Cordenons, Italy

Dudi Sela defeated Kevin Kim 6-3 6-0 in Vancouver, Canada, to win the Odlum Brown Vancouver Open men’s singles

Urszula Radwanska won the women’s singles at the Odlum Brown Vancouver Open by beating Julie Coin 2-6 6-3 7-5

Patrick Rafter beat Michael Stich 6-3 7-6 (4) to win the s-Tennis Masters in Graz, Austria

SAYINGS

“Since I was a young girl it has been my dream to become number one in the world. When you get older, at least one day you can say you were number one and no one can take that away from you. You are in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour history books, and it’s a great achievement.” – Jelena Jankovic, who will take over the number one spot on August 11.

“Right now I know I’m going to be number one and I’m very, very happy to be number one. It’s a present for a lot of work in the past.” – Rafael Nadal, who will replace Roger Federer as number one on August 18.

“I secured the world number one ranking spot. I’ve never been number one in the world before, so finally I made that.” – Michael Stich, who replaced Goran Ivanisevic atop the BlackRock Tour of Champions rankings.

“It’s huge to win your first sort of major tournament, and to do it in a match like today makes it more special … I put in a lot of work off the court to be able to win these sort of tournaments, and it makes it all worthwhile.” – Andy Murray, after beating Novak Djokovic to capture the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati.

“He was playing a lot of slice and changing pace to my forehand. I just lost the rhythm. Overall I wasn’t really happy with the way I played today. I could have played better.” – Novak Djokovic, after losing to Andy Murray.

“It’s the first time in my life I’ve won back-to-back tournaments. I used to win a tournament then lose first round the next week. But now I’m always just taking it one match at a time. It’s a new experience for me and really just amazing.” – Dinara Safina, after winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal.

“This was a great experience. Every round I beat a better player than me. I played really well in this tournament. Hopefully in my next final I will be more relaxed and not be scared about it.” – Dominika Cibulkova, after losing to Dinara Safina in Montreal.

“It’s been a fantastic week. But it wasn’t as easy as it looked. I was a little bit nervous in the second set when she came back.” – Caroline Wozniacki, after winning her first WTA Tour title, the Nordic Light Open, in Stockholm, Sweden.

“We’re going into the Olympics playing, I think, the best we have all year. To beat a great team like Andy (Ram) and Jonathan (Erlich), who have had a tremendous year, it bodes well.” – Mike Bryan, after he and his brother Bob won the doubles title in Cincinnati.

“It hurts me so much to miss the Olympics and the U.S. Open, you have no idea.” – Maria Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam tournament winner who has been sidelined by a shoulder injury.

“Rainer Schuettler claims that he should be allowed to compete in the Games, considering that he has been entered by the German NOC [National Olympic Committee] and that he is eligible as a result of his position in the ITF computer ranking, due to the withdrawal of some players who were qualified for the Olympic tournament.” – Court of Arbitration for Sport, in a statement.

SET FOR NUMBER ONE – 1

Even though his match win streak was ended, Rafael Nadal will replace Roger Federer on top of the ATP rankings. He just has to wait a little bit for his crown. Nadal, who spent a record 158 weeks as the world’s number two player, assured himself of the top ranking when he beat Nicolas Lapentti in the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters. But because he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, Nadal won’t move ahead of Federer until August 18, the day after the Beijing Olympic tennis ends. Federer has been ranked number one in the world for a record 235 consecutive weeks. Nadal’s loss to Djokovic snapped his 32-match winning streak, but he will become the 24th player in the history of the ATP rankings to hold the number one spot. He also will be the third Spaniard to be number one, joining Carlos Moya (1999) and Juan Carlos Ferrero (2003).

SET FOR NUMBER ONE – 2

Jelena Jankovic will take over the number one ranking in women’s tennis, replacing countrywoman Ana Ivanovic. The switch will occur on August 11 when Jankovic will have 3,620 points – eight more than Ivanovic, the French Open champion. Ivanovic was the first player from Serbia to be ranked number one. Now Serbia will have back-to-back number one players. While Jankovic will become the 18th player to be ranked number one in women’s tennis, she will be the first to reach the top without ever having played in a Grand Slam tournament final. Besides Jankovic and Ivanovic, others to be ranked number one are Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Martina Navratilova, Tracy Austin, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Monica Seles, Amelie Mauresmo, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova.

SWEDE ENDING

Caroline Wozniacki needed two victories on the final day to capture her first WTA Tour title. Because rain washed out the semifinals on Saturday, the fourth-seeded Dane began Sunday in Stockholm, Sweden, by upsetting top-seeded and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4 6-1. Wozniacki then completed the best week of her career by crushing Vera Dushevina 6-0 6-2 to win the Nordic Light Open. Wozniacki didn’t lose a set in her five matches as she became the first Danish player to win a WTA Tour singles title. Tine Scheuer-Larsen of Denmark won seven doubles titles in the 1980s and 1990s.

SHOULDER PROBLEM

Maria Sharapova will miss both the Beijing Olympics and the U.S. Open because of two small tears in her right shoulder muscle. An MRI revealed the tears after she withdrew from the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Doctors said time would heal the injury. The Russian righthander won the U.S. Open two years ago and was ranked number one in the world going into the French Open in May. She has since dropped to number three in the rankings. Sharapova has played in each of the past 23 major championships, winning

Wimbledon in 2004 and the Australian Open in January as well as the U.S. Open.

SITTING HOME

Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina and Stephanie Vogt of Liechtenstein are the latest withdrawals from the Olympic tennis tournament because of injuries. Chela was replaced by countryman Agustin Calleri, while Vogt was replaced in the women’s singles by Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand.

SPOT FOR SCHUETTLER?

Rainer Schuettler wants to participate in the tennis competition at the Beijing Olympics. Ranked number 33 in the world, the German has asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to order the International Tennis Federation to enter him in the men’s singles competition at the Beijing Games. The ITF used the ATP and WTA rankings as a guide to determine who gets the 56 direct spots in the men’s and women’s singles competitions. Six of the remaining eight spots in each tournament were given out by the ITF’s Olympic Committee. Each country, however, is limited to a maximum of six players in each tournament, with up to four competing in singles and up to two teams in doubles.

SMASHING FOR CHARITY

Andre Agassi, Lindsay Davenport and James Blake will be among those playing at a charity event hosted by America’s top doubles team. The Bryan Brothers’ All-Star Tennis Smash will be held in Los Angeles on September 27 and will benefit local and national charities. “We were thrilled when Andre committed to play at our event,” Bob Bryan said. “On the court, he’s of course long been a hero of ours. Off the court, he’s been a mentor to us as we’ve watched him build the Andre Agassi Foundation.”

SHARING SPACE

Roger Federer and Bjorn Borg will team up for a special doubles event on November 20 in Macau. The two five-time Wimbledon winners will face John McEnroe and either Rafael Nadal or James Blake at The Venetian Macau Tennis Showdown in a Tour of Champions event. McEnroe’s partner will come from the country that loses the Davis Cup semifinal between the United States and Spain in September. The Showdown will also feature two singles matches – a one-set match between Borg and McEnroe, followed by a best-of-three sets between Federer and either Nadal or Blake.

SAFINA STREAK

Dinara Safina just keeps winning. The Russian right-hander won her third tournament title in her last six events by crushing Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-1 at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Safina, the sister of two-time Grand Slam tournament champion Marat Safin, improved her record to 27-3 since the start of May. Nine of those victories have come against top ten players, including handing Justine Henin her career-ending loss.

SHOULDER WOES

With the key part of the hard court season beginning, Andy Roddick has been felled by a shoulder injury. Roddick was forced out of the Cincinnati Masters because of the injury, which he said he got from sleeping in the wrong position. The American decided to skip the Beijing Olympics so he could prepare for the year’s final Grand Slam tournament, the U.S. Open. But Roddick has suffered a series of disappointing results this summer, including a second-round loss at Wimbledon.

STICH-ED

His match interrupted at times by torrential rain and lightning storms, Pat Rafter nevertheless captured his first BlackRock Tour of Champions title in Graz, Austria. The Australian produced some impressive serve-and-volley tennis to beat Michael Stich 6-4 7-6 (4). Despite the loss, Stich, by reaching the final, moved to the top of the South African Airways rankings, replacing Goran Ivanisevic as number one.

STILL WINNING

Kimiko Date-Krumm ran her winning streak to three straight tournaments when she captured a $25,000 International Tennis Federation tournament in Obihiro, Japan, beating Suchanun Viratprasert of Thailand 6-3 7-6 (5) in the final. The 37-year-old Date-Krumm also won two other titles in Japan in recent weeks, in Myazaki and Tokyo.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Cincinnati: Bob and Mike Bryan beat Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram 4-6 7-6 (2) 10-7 (match tiebreak)

Montreal: Cara Black and Liezel Huber beat Maria Kirilenko and Flavia Pennetta 6-1 6-1

Stockholm: Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova beat Petra Cetkovska and Lucie Safarova 7-5 6-4

Cordenons: Marco Crugnola and Alessic Di Mauro beat David Skoch and Igor Zelenay 1-6 6-4 10-6 (match tiebreak)

Vancouver: Eric Butorac and Travis Parrott beat Rik De Voest and Ashley Fisher 6-4 7-6 (3)

Vancouver: Carley Gullickson and Nicole Kriz beat Christina Fusano and Junri Namigata 6-7 (4) 6-1 10-5 (match tiebreak)

SITES TO SURF

Los Angeles: www.countrywideclassic.com

Segovia: www.teniselespinar.com

Vale do Lobo: www.grandchampions.org

Cincinnati: www.cincytennis.com

Olympics: http://en.beijing2008.cn/

Olympics: www. Itftennis.com/Olympics/

Washington: www.leggmasontennisclassic.com

Bryan brothers: www.bryanbrosfoundation.org/invite/

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$525,000 Countrywide Classic, Los Angeles, California, hard

$125,000 Open Castilla y Leon, Segovia, Spain, hard

WOMEN

$100,000 ITF event, Monterrey, Mexico, hard

SENIORS

Vale do Lobo Grand Champions CGD, Vale do Lobo, Portugal, hard

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

Olympics, Beijing, China, hard

$483,000 Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Washington, DC, hard

$100,000 ATP Challenger, Istanbul, Turkey, hard

WTA TOUR

Olympics, Beijing, China, hard

$175,000 Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open, Cincinnati, Ohio, hard