Lleyton Hewitt

Lleyton Hewitt Wins Invesco Series QQQ Title In Charleston

It’s been two events and two victories for Lleyton Hewitt in his Invesco Series QQQ career. The former world No. 1, Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion and still part-time doubles specialist on the ATP Tour won his second career title on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30 Saturday night defeating Andy Roddick 6-2 in the one-set title match to win the Invesco Legends Charleston, played in conjunction with the WTA Tour’s Volvo Car Open.

Hewitt, 38, made his Invesco Series QQQ debut last July in Newport, R.I. on the grass courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame defeating James Blake in the semifinals and Tommy Haas in the final. Saturday night on clay in Charleston, Hewitt remained undefeated on the Series by dominating with his grinding baseline game that earned him 30 career ATP singles titles.

Hewitt and Roddick played 14 times during their ATP Tour career, each player winning seven matches and Hewitt was able to move ahead in the bragging rights department with his victory in their first Invesco Series meeting. Roddick joked that he was not looking forward to playing Hewitt in the final saying “I know Lleyton plays like 40 weeks a year” and remembering their hard-fought slug-fest matches from their ATP days, including a memorable five-set quarterfinal night match in 2001, won by Hewitt en route to winning his first major title. Hewitt played his last career ATP singles match at the 2016 Australian Open, losing in the second round to David Ferrer. He played nine doubles events in 2018, along with his one Invesco Series appearance, and so far in 2019 he has played four events. While serving as Australia’s Davis Cup captain, he has managed to earn an ATP doubles ranking of No. 228.

Roddick is playing his sixth season on the Invesco Series after retiring from the ATP Tour in 2012 and was seeking his 18th career title on Series and his first since beating James Blake in the title match in Los Angeles in October of 2017. Saturday marked the second straight year that Roddick lost in the Charleston final. In 2018, he was defeated by Tommy Haas 6-1 in the title match.

En route to the final, Hewitt beat 54-year-old Mats Wilander 6-3 while Roddick beat 48-year-old Jim Courier 6-4. Hewitt said he grew up idolizing Wilander, who won his first major title at the French Open at 17 years old in 1982 when Hewitt was one year old. “This was the first time we ever hit balls together so it was a lot of fun,” said Hewitt. Roddick’s win over Courier moved him to a perfect 7-0 against the two-time French and Australian Open champion on the Invesco Series. Quipped Roddick of the win, “I got a little lucky. I’m just not that good anymore.”

The Invesco Series QQQ circuit continues Sunday, May 5 in Maui at the Royal Lahaina Resort at the Hawaii Champions Cup with John McEnroe, Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas and Michael Chang in the field Earlier this season, Tommy Haas kicked off the 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit in January by defeating Roddick 7-6 (2) in the title match at the Oracle Champions Cup in Newport Beach, California. James Blake won the second event of the season on Thursday at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., defeating Courier 6-3 in the final. Through three events so far in 2019, there is a four-way tie for the top spot in the year-long Invesco Series QQQ points rankings with Haas, Blake, Hewitt and Roddick all having 400 points.

The remaining 2019 Invesco Series QQQ schedule is as follows:

Maui, HI – May 5 (Royal Lahaina Resort): John McEnroe, Mardy Fish, Tommy Haas, Michael Chang

Newport, RI – July 21 (International Tennis Hall of Fame): Todd Martin, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Jim Courier, Mats Wilander

Boston, MA – September 7 (Venue and Players TBA)

Toronto, ON – September 26 (Mattamy Athletic Centre): Players TBA

Orlando, FL – Date and Venue TBA: Players TBA

Los Angeles, CA – Date and Venue TBA: Players TBA

Austin, TX – November 15: Venue and Players TBA

In 2018, Blake won his first Invesco Series QQQ year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.

In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Invesco Series QQQ titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.

In 2015, Roddick won the Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Invesco Series QQQ tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based 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 Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $5 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or InvescoSeries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, pleasevisithorizonmedia.com.

ABOUT INVESCO
Invesco Ltd. is an independent investment management firm dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. NYSE: IVZ; Invesco.com, Invesco Distributors, Inc. is the US distributor for Invesco Ltd. and is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.”

Lleyton Hewitt vs. Bernard Tomic – An Analysis

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

Australians Alex de Minaur, Alexei Popyrin and Alex Bolt came up with impressive performances for their nation when the world and its tennis players gathered to play the season’s first major there in Melbourne at the Australian Open. Lleyton Hewitt, the country’s Davis Cup captain and its last major titlist (among the men), speaking highly of them also effectively shut any doubts that may have lingered about their individual potential.

All this made for a perfect segue – of a country’s old sporting guard validating the credentials of the new – except for one, major blot marring the scene. That of Bernard Tomic who, a few years ago, had been similarly welcomed into the fold as one of Australia’s brightest future prospects and who accused Hewitt of throttling his career – especially when it came to playing the Davis Cup – and prioritising his self-interests.

The continuing spillage of rebutting allegations and counter-rebuttals to these between Hewitt and Tomic has now taken on a distinct note of “He Said-He Said”. Aside from this, however, the ongoing fracas has led to implications beyond a cursory professional falling-out.

Tomic’s accusations at the Australian Open that Hewitt was creating a conflict of interest both by captaining the Australian Davis Cup team and continuing to play professionally on the ATP Tour does present the former world No. 1 in an unflattering light. Although Hewitt did not play the doubles rubber in Australia’s Davis Cup qualifier tie against Bosnia-Herzegovina in February in Adelaide, the fact that he would be playing doubles in a few upcoming ATP events then conveys the message that he is trying to secure the best of both worlds for himself.

Not that being the Davis Cup captain and playing on the Tour are mutually exclusive. But while Hewitt had made a big show of announcing his retirement from the circuit a couple of years ago, there is a lack of certitude and clarity as to what is his status on the circuit presently. Is Hewitt to be considered retired, professional, semi-retired or semi-professional?

Hewitt’s response to Tomic’s allegations that the 26-year-old had issued threats and blackmailed him – and his family – highlighted his thuggish behaviour all over again. Hewitt’s stance of not being keen on selecting Tomic in the Australian Davis Cup squad was also justified, given Tomic’s penchant of displaying lack of commitment in matches, and towards the sport in general.

Also, considering that Tomic had blown a seemingly innocuous question about his availability for the Davis Cup into a theory of ill-intentions, not only towards him but also towards his compatriots – Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis – neither of whom who were in the picture nor a part of the question, showed his immaturity once again. Then, he may have had raised valid concerns about Hewitt purportedly side-lining Kyrgios and Kokkinakis, but his rant was definitely ill-timed. Most importantly, Tomic need not have tagged Tennis Australia, too, into the fracas thereby forcing them to pick a side – which they eventually did. To that end, Tomic lost twice-over when Tennis Australia not only sided with their Davis Cup captain but also cut off the financial support that it had been providing him.

Interestingly, in Tomic’s downward spiral touching a new low – after his interview with Chanel 9’s 60 Minutes, in which he accepted that he had indeed threatened Hewitt – the initial point he had been trying to raise, about Hewitt’s status quo in the general scheme of things, was conveniently deflected. Moreover, with the Australian team marching to the Davis Cup finals with a mammoth 4-0 win over the Eastern European nation, Hewitt’s assertive captaincy has come to be seen as redoubtable so much so that his statement of Tomic never donning Australian colours for the Davis Cup takes on an ominous ring, shutting the door on Tomic in more ways than one.

Lleyton Hewitt Beats Tommy Haas To Win Debut Invesco Series QQQ Event In Newport

Lleyton Hewitt made a triumphant debut on the Invesco Series QQQ circuit Sunday winning his debut event at the International Tennis Hall of Fame by defeating Tommy Haas 7-6(2) in the one-set championship match.

Hewitt, the Australian Davis Cup captain and still active on the ATP World Tour, handed Haas his first-ever loss on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30 in the final. Haas made his Invesco Series debut earlier this year in Charleston, S.C. where he won the title beating Andy Roddick in the final. Haas also won the title at the Kohala Coast in Hawaii, defeating John McEnroe in the title match.

Haas took the early lead against Hewitt, breaking serve for 2-0, before Hewitt bounced back to reeled off five consecutive games, buoyed by his amazing return of serve. With Hewitt serving for the match at 5-3, Haas was able to break back with the help of some incredible passing shots to eventually force the deciding tiebreaker. In the tie-breaker, Hewitt proved to be relentless getting off to an early mini-break and never looked back.

“This is the first time I’ve played on the Invesco Series and it was really fun,” said Hewitt. “The conditions were a bit tough as we had to wait out the rain for most of the day but I played well when we got out there and had a great time doing it”.

Due to threatening weather Sunday in Newport, the Invesco Series QQQ matches were delayed to be played after the 12:30 pm ATP singles final, instead of before, as originally scheduled. Hewitt defeated James Blake 6-3 in the first semifinal match, while Haas followed by beating U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier 6-3.

Despite the loss, the 40-year-old Haas remains on top of the Invesco Series QQQ rankings earning 200 ranking points to increase his ranking point total to 1,000. Philippoussis, who won the last Invesco Series QQQ event in May in Toronto, remains in second with 500 points. By winning 400 points with the title, Hewitt, age 37, moves into a tie with the 59-year-old McEnroe for third place in the rankings.

The Invesco Series QQQ continues on August 19 at the ATP World Tour’s Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, N.C. featuring Blake, Roddick, Ginepri, and Michael Chang. The remaining schedule, with player fields, is as follows

The remaining 2018 Invesco Series QQQ schedule is as follows:

• August 19: Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Michael Chang, and Robby Ginepri
• August 23, 24: New Haven, CT (Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale) – John McEnroe, Tommy Haas, James Blake and Todd Martin
• October 4: St. Louis, MO (Chaifetz Arena) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, and Mark Philippoussis
• October 6: Houston, TX (Tudor Fieldhouse) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, James Blake, and Jim Courier
• October 21: Los Angeles, CA (Sherwood Country Club) – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Tommy Haas, and Mardy Fish
• December 6: Orlando, FL (USTA National Campus) – Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, James Blake and Mardy Fish

2018 Invesco Series QQQ Results

April 7: Charleston, SC (Family Circle Tennis Center) F: Tommy Haas def. Andy Roddick 6-1; SF: Tommy Haas def. Michael Chang 6-2; Andy Roddick def. Mark Philippoussis 6-3

May 5, 6: Kohala Coast, HI (Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows) F: Tommy Haas def. John McEnroe 7-5 SF: Tommy Haas def. Mardy Fish 6-3, John McEnroe def.Jim Courier 6-3

May 17: Toronto, ON (Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre) F: Mark Philippoussis d. John McEnroe 7-5, SF: Mark Philippoussis d. James Blake 7-6 (5); John McEnroe d. Jim Courier 6-2.

July 22: Newport, RI (International Tennis Hall of Fame) F: Lleyton Hewitt d. Tommy Haas 7-6(2) SF: Lleyton Hewitt d. James Blake 6-3; Tommy Haas d. Jim Courier 6-3

Each Invesco Series QQQ event features special VIP experiences, including hit-with-the-pros opportunities and special back-stage access. All ticket, experience and event information can be found at www.InvescoSeries.com

In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Invesco Series QQQ titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in
Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.

In 2015, Roddick won the Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Invesco Series QQQ tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based 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 Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $4 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or InvescoSeries.comor follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989,
is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The
company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visithorizonmedia.com.

ABOUT INVESCO
Invesco Ltd. is an independent investment management firm dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. NYSE: IVZ; Invesco.com, Invesco Distributors, Inc. is the US distributor for Invesco Ltd. and is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.

Tommy Haas, Lleyton Hewitt Join PowerShares Series For 2018

Former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt and former world No. 2 and 2000 Olympic silver medalist Tommy Haas will join the PowerShares Series champions tennis circuit in 2018, InsideOut Sports & Entertainment, the organizers of the PowerShares Series, announced.

The PowerShares Series is the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30. The series of one-night tournaments will feature 10 events in 2018. The full schedule of tournaments will be announced March 1.

Hewitt was the youngest man to achieve the world No. 1 ranking in 2001 at the age of 20, buoyed by his upset win over Pete Sampras in the U.S. Open final. The following year, he won the Wimbledon singles title defeating David Nalbandian in the final. He lead Australia to the Davis Cup title in 1999 and 2003 and currently serves as the Australian team captain. “I have followed some of my former rivals on the PowerShares Series with great interest over the past few years and am really excited to finally get back out on court against them in this super entertaining format,” said Hewitt.

Haas was the silver medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, losing a five-set gold medal match to Russia’s Yevgeny Kafelnikov. He achieved a career-high ranking of No. 2 and reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in 1999, 2002 and 2007 and Wimbledon in 2009. He won 15 career singles title in his career, including the title in Halle in his native Germany last year, defeating Roger Federer in the final. “I’m excited about having the opportunity to continue to play competitive tennis on the PowerShares Series this year,” said Haas. “As professional athletes, we never lose that urge to compete and the PowerShares Series will give me that opportunity to continue to play the sport that I love. It will be great to compete once again against the likes of Andy Roddick, James Blake and Jim Courier and I will relish the opportunity to play against John McEnroe, which is something I have not had the chance to do.”

“It’s going to be very exciting to see Lleyton and Tommy compete on the PowerShares Series,” said Jon Venison, co-founding partner of InsideOut Sports & Entertainment and the PowerShares Series. “It will be fascinating to see them renew some of their longstanding rivalries against the likes of Andy Roddick and James Blake while also having the chance to take a shot at the 59-year-old John McEnroe in one of the unique cross-generational match-ups that only happen on the PowerShares Series.”

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and one-set championship match in one evening. Each event also features special VIP experiences, including hit-with-the-pros opportunities and special back-stage access. All ticket, experience and event information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com.

Haas has already been announced as part of the field for the first-ever PowerShares Series event in Hawaii, May 5-6 at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows at Kohala Coast, Hawaii, joining John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Mardy Fish.

In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four PowerShares Series titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won PowerShares Series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the PowerShares Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.

In 2015, Roddick won the PowerShares Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based 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 Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $4 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.powersharesseries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA

Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, please visit horizonmedia.com.

About PowerShares by Invesco

PowerShares by Invesco is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its family of more than 140 domestic and international PowerShares exchange-traded funds (ETFs). PowerShares is the provider of PowerShares QQQ, one of the earliest and largest ETFs in the industry. QQQ trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market where innovation and technology expertise have created a world-recognized marketplace for the world’s biggest and best technology companies. PowerShares ETFs seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. PowerShares has US franchise assets exceeding $110 billion as of December 30, 2016. For more information, please visit us at powershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

Lleyton Hewitt Bids Adieu In Australian Open Loss To David Ferrer

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

Lleyton Hewitt played the final match of his career on Thursday at the Australian Open as he bowed out to David Ferrer in straight sets. The 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 score line shows how easy of a victory it was on the court for Ferrer, yet Hewitt, as well as the entire crowd in Rod Laver Arena, never gave up hope until the last point was played that he would be able to pull out the victory.

The match started promisingly for the Australian as he was able to get to 2-all with Ferrer, but the 2013 French Open finalist had other plans in mind, as he went on to win four games in a row to close out the set.

After the routine first set for the Spaniard, there was more of a fight in the second set. In a repeat of the first set, Ferrer was able to break at 2-all, but when Ferrer served at 4-3, Hewitt had seven break points in a game that lasted over 10 minutes. He was unable to convert any of them, though, as Ferrer was able to continue being simply the better player.

In the third set, Ferrer went up an early break before seeing another resurgence from Hewitt, in which he broke to level the set back up at 3-all, giving the crowd one final thing to become ecstatic about. Hewitt was able to silence the crowd quickly though, as he regained the break advantage in the next game and would go on to close out the match in straight sets.

The fact that Hewitt was able to compete in this match is impressive in itself, with Hewitt being ranked exactly 300 spots lower than Ferrer. Yet everyone knew that Hewitt would not be willing to give up on his career so easily, and showed that on court as he put in one final great effort.

After the match ended and Ferrer and Hewitt approached each other at the net, Ferrer actually asked Hewitt if they could swap shirts, similar to what soccer players do after certain matches. Ferrer would go on to claim that the only piece of tennis memorabilia that he has on display in his house is a signed shirt from Hewitt, a true testament to how well respected Hewitt is by his peers.

Hewitt’s fighting spirit and tenacity has been an inspiration to many tennis players who are currently on the tour, including Ferrer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, and surely many others. Murray and Nadal were able to have their voices heard post-match as they had tribute videos displayed in Rod Laver Arena praising the two-time grand slam champion.

Hewitt’s career in tennis is far from over, as he will continue to be an inspiration to tennis players all over the world. He will also be taking over the duty of being the Australian Davis Cup captain, and will surely be seen coaching players at some point in the future.

Daria Gavrilova Pleases Home Aussie Crowd With Upset Of Petra Kvitova

by Kevin Craig

@Kcraig_tennis

Daria Gavrilova, the 21-year-old from Australia, gave the home crowd plenty to cheer for on Wednesday at Melbourne Park as she defeated the No. 6 seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Night matches in Margaret Court Arena are always a special event to watch, and having a home favorite playing a Grand Slam champion was no exception. Gavrilova is full of confidence currently after having teamed up with Nick Kyrgios to win the Hopman Cup in the first week of the year, and that confidence was on display as she got the biggest win of her career in the second round of the Australian Open.

In the beginning of the match, things appeared bleak to the Aussie crowd as Gavrilova fell down an early break in the first set to the big-hitting Kvitova. Gavrilova was undeterred, though, and fought back to win four of the next five games after being broken to win the set.

The second set started off fairly straightforward, with no breaks of serve coming until the sixth game, when Gavrilova was able to garner a break for a 4-2 lead. She would go on to attempt serving for the match at 5-3, but it was an unsuccessful attempt for the Aussie as Kvitova was able to fight back in that game and get back on serve. Gavrilova was able to keep her composure though and break right back to earn the 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Gavrilova took advantage of Kvitova’s poor serving performance, winning 52 percent of all of Kvitova’s serve points, including 57 percent on second serve. Combine that with 35 unforced errors from Kvitova, including four in the final game, and Gavrilova was well on her way to the upset.

There is a possibility that Kvitova was not 100 percent healthy, as she was forced to withdraw from both the events she was signed up for prior to the Australian Open.

The night before the upset occurred, Lleyton Hewitt somewhat foreshadowed what would happen, praising Gavrilova in his post-match press conference on Tuesday. Hewitt complimented her work ethic and claimed “she’s got a lot of good things ahead of her.”

Gavrilova will look to keep the Aussie dream alive as she takes on the No. 28 seed Kristina Mladenovic in the third round.

, the 21-year-old from Australia, gave the home crowd plenty to cheer for on Wednesday at Melbourne Park as she defeated the No. 6 seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Night matches in Margaret Court Arena are always a special event to watch, and having a home favorite playing a Grand Slam champion was no exception. Gavrilova is full of confidence currently after having teamed up with Nick Kyrgios to win the Hopman Cup in the first week of the year, and that confidence was on display as she got the biggest win of her career in the second round of the Australian Open.

In the beginning of the match, things appeared bleak to the Aussie crowd as Gavrilova fell down an early break in the first set to the big-hitting Kvitova. Gavrilova was undeterred, though, and fought back to win four of the next five games after being broken to win the set.

The second set started off fairly straightforward, with no breaks of serve coming until the sixth game, when Gavrilova was able to garner a break for a 4-2 lead. She would go on to attempt serving for the match at 5-3, but it was an unsuccessful attempt for the Aussie as Kvitova was able to fight back in that game and get back on serve. Gavrilova was able to keep her composure though and break right back to earn the 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Gavrilova took advantage of Kvitova’s poor serving performance, winning 52 percent of all of Kvitova’s serve points, including 57 percent on second serve. Combine that with 35 unforced errors from Kvitova, including four in the final game, and Gavrilova was well on her way to the upset.

There is a possibility that Kvitova was not 100 percent healthy, as she was forced to withdraw from both the events she was signed up for prior to the Australian Open.

The night before the upset occurred, Lleyton Hewitt somewhat foreshadowed what would happen, praising Gavrilova in his post-match press conference on Tuesday. Hewitt complimented her work ethic and claimed “she’s got a lot of good things ahead of her.”

Gavrilova will look to keep the Aussie dream alive as she takes on the No. 28 seed Kristina Mladenovic in the third round.

Looking Ahead To The Start Of The ATP World Tour In 2014

by Thaddeus McCarthy

Dear Fans,

As we are are now at the end of the ATP tennis season, I thought it would be good to assess how the beginning of the ATP season is looking heading into next year.

We start off as always Down Under, with the Heineken Open in New Zealand, and the Sydney International, before the first grand slam of the year. As this is the start of the year, it usually takes the big names some time to build up speed. So we may see some new names as winners of the year’s first couple of tournaments. Some we could see include; Jercy Janowicz, Milos Raonic and Stanislas Wawrinka. All of whom have been performing steadily better this year. One name I sadly don’t think we will see though is Bernard Tomic. Touted a few years back as the next Lleyton Hewitt, after a run to the Wimbeldon Quarters, he has failed to live up to expectations. He does definitely have a lot of talent though, and has a decent serve. Maybe in 2015 I think he will return to good form, but in 2014 I don’t think he will be quite there yet. David Ferrer will feature in Auckland, and should perform strongly there. He has won the tournament in the past, and he could win again.

The Australian Open has been Novak Djokovic’s domain during the past few years. And judging by his form finishing this season, I would not count him out. Some interesting possible records could emerge from a few of the regulars. Roger Federer of course will going for his eighteenth grand slam. Although his 2013 year has been poor, he does still have the potential for winning another. A lot of experts have said that he will have the best chance of doing so at Wimbledon. But I don’t agree with that assessment. If you look at his record at the Australian Open, he has not failed to reach the semi-finals since 2003. I expect that we will see a strong showing from the great man. Novak Djokovic is going for his fifth title, which would be a stand-alone record. And Nadal meanwhile, is going for a two-time career Grand Slam and would join Rod Laver in that category.

Why I think that Federer will play well at the Australian is for a couple of reasons. Firstly of course, is his record there, having won the tournament four times. Mostly though, I think that the off-season break will be hugely beneficial for him. He has been plagued by injuries this year, and you do have to wonder if he has not yet gotten fully over them. The off-season should do him a world of good. Novak Djokovic’s record at the Australian is stellar, and he would be regarded as possibly the greatest Aussie Open (male) champion in the open era, if he was to win there again. His form at the end of this season is unbelievable. You do have to question though whether he can keep winning. I suspect that next season we may see his streak broken. Nadal will benefit from playing on Rebound Ace, as it is a slower surface than indoor hard (where he has never done well). If he was reach the latter stages of the tournament, especially the final, I think he will win. Nadal has legendary mental toughness, and on the biggest stages there is perhaps none better. Andy Murray also, should not be counted out. He has made three finals, and would love to grab a win. He is an all-court player, and the days when many thought he couldn’t win on the big stage are long gone.
The Australian though, is notorious for throwing us surprises. Everyone will remember the Tsonga run back in 2008. And before that there was Gonzalez in 2007, Baghdadis in 2006, and way back in 2001, Thomas Johansson went one step further by winning it. The potential surprise run I’m going with next year (although it wouldn’t be really) is Juan Martin Del Potro. Since he won the US a few years ago, he has been plagued by injuries. But this season he has hit form again. He plays best on hard courts as well, with his strong ground strokes and booming serve. A mentally tough Nadal against an in-form Del Potro in the final would be quite a match.

Anyway, I would just like to say that I hope you all enjoyed my first blog. I hope that I will have created some debate.

From Continent to Continent: ATP Washington and Kitzbuhel Previews

While the WTA divides its action between two coasts this week, the ATP spans the Atlantic Ocean with events on two different continents and surfaces.  The 500 tournament in Washington, part of the US Open Series, takes center stage.

Washington:

Top half:  A champion in Washington four years ago, Juan Martin Del Potro holds the top seed at the 2013 edition.  The Wimbledon semifinalist hopes to rediscover his torrid form against one of two men who shone in Atlanta.  Producing semifinal runs there last week, Lleyton Hewitt and Ryan Harrison will square off in one of the most intriguing first-round matches.  Nor can Del Potro relax if he survives the winner.  A strong grass season, highlighted by a second-week appearance at Wimbledon, will have restored Bernard Tomic’s confidence.  Although he continues to cope with controversy surrounding his father, Tomic has plenty of ways to disrupt Del Potro’s rhythm if the Argentine returns rusty from a leg injury.  A more straightforward test awaits from Kevin Anderson, seeking his third semifinal in three weeks.  Before he meets Del Potro in the quarterfinals, Anderson may find the returning Mardy Fish an opponent worthy of his steel.

If power dominates the top quarter, flair defines much of the second quarter.  The flamboyant shot-making of Tommy Haas favors precision over physicality, while the graceful one-handed backhand of Grigor Dimitrov has a vintage appeal.  Haas reached the final in Washington last year, perhaps using his training at the Bolletieri Academy in Florida as experience for coping with the humidity.  But power never lags far behind in a draw filled with Americans.  Sam Querrey will face one of two Atlanta quarterfinalists, Denis Istomin or Santiago Giraldo, in the second round.   A contrast of styles would await if Querrey advances to face Dimitrov and then Haas, although a 5-8 record since April leaves a deep run far from guaranteed.

Semifinal:  Del Potro vs. Haas

Bottom half:  Filled with question marks, the third quarter could produce a surprise semifinalist.  The favorite at first glance would seem Milos Raonic, by far the most powerful of the seeds.  Raonic’s massive serve could sizzle on a hot hard court, but he has accomplished little since winning yet another San Jose title in February.  Neither has fellow seed Nikolay Davydenko, who has struggled historically against possible second-round opponent James Blake.  Some of Gilles Simon’s best results have come in North America, including a Miami quarterfinal this spring, and the fifth seed’s steadiness might suffice to ease him past the erratic men around him.  Among them is former champion Radek Stepanek, who looks forward to American collegiate star Steve Johnson in his opener.

One might lose sight of defending champion Alexandr Dolgopolov in the fourth quarter.  Not a threat for most of 2013, Dolgopolov faces an arduous route towards a title defense.  Home hope John Isner looms in the third round if he can revive his energy after a draining title run in Atlanta.  An easier route to the quarterfinals beckons for Kei Nishikori, who won a North American 500 tournament at Memphis this year.  Bogota runner-up Alejandro Falla faded quickly in Atlanta, as did American teenage sensation Jack Sock.  The clean, balanced baseline game of Nishikori should carry him past either of those opponents, after which a first meeting with Isner could await.

Semifinal:  Simon vs. Isner

Final:  Del Potro vs. Isner

Kitzbuhel:

Top half:  An assortment of Europeans and clay specialists have headed to this Austrian event before venturing into the steamy American summer.  German top seed Philipp Kohlschreiber aims to move one round further than he did at another clay 250 event.  The finalist in Stuttgart a few weeks ago, Kohlschreiber can look ahead to a quarterfinal against Spanish dirt devil Marcel Granollers.  This Rome quarterfinalist will welcome the opportunity to erase memories of an epic loss in Gstaad last week.  Between them stand Horacio Zeballos of Nadal-defeating fame and Wimbledon surprise Kenny de Schepper, who reached the second week there.

A greater Wimbledon surprise than de Schepper came from Fernando Verdasco, who would not hold the third seed here if not for his quarterfinal appearance at the last major.  To his credit, Verdasco parlayed that breakthrough into a strong July, highlighted by victories over Nicolas Almagro, Grigor Dimitrov, and Jerzy Janowicz.  An all-lefty matchup against Brazilian clay specialist Thomaz Bellucci should not detain him for long en route to a rematch of the Bastad final.  At that Swedish tournament, Verdasco fell to Carlos Berlocq, who faces an extremely challenging assignment as the fifth seed.  Days after defeating Federer, the ominous Daniel Brands sets his sights on the Bastad champion.  Also in this deep section is Robin Haase, arriving from a series of morale-boosting wins in Gstaad.

Semifinal:  Granollers vs. Verdasco

Bottom half:   A week of mixed omens for Albert Montanes in Umag included an upset over world No. 9 Richard Gasquet and a tight loss to Gasquet’s compatriot Gael Monfils.  Twice a semifinalist on clay already this summer, Victor Hanescu finds himself on a collision course with Montanes, who won a clay title in Nice just before Roland Garros.  The winner should feel confident heading into the quarterfinals, although home hope Jurgen Melzer will have most of the audience behind him.  Melzer reached the second week of Wimbledon but has lost five consecutive clay matches dating back to Monte Carlo.

Arguably the softest section, the base of the Kitzbuhel draw lies at the mercy of second seed Juan Monaco.  This recent member of the top 10 has shown altogether too much mercy in 2013, helplessly watching his ranking decline.  All the same, Monaco has produced at least somewhat respectable tennis this summer on clay, his best surface.  Three qualifiers and a wildcard offer little competition, so any challenge would need to come from one of two Spaniards.  While Daniel Gimeno-Traver has struggled on clay this year, Roberto Bautista-Agut retired last week in Gstaad.  Monaco thus looks safe unless he implodes, admittedly not unthinkable.

Semifinal:  Montanes vs. Monaco

Final:  Verdasco vs. Montanes

To Each Their Own: Previews of ATP Atlanta, Gstaad, and Umag

The US Open Series kicks off this week in the sweltering summer heat of Atlanta.  Perhaps uninspired by those conditions, most of the leading ATP stars have spurned that stop on the road to New York.  But Atlanta still offers glimpses of rising stars, distinctive characters, and diverse playing styles.  For those who prefer familiar names, two tournaments on European clay offer more tantalizing fare.

Atlanta:

Top half:  The march toward the final major of the year starts with a whimper more than a roar, featuring only two men on track for a US Open seed and none in the top 20.  Fresh from his exploits at home in Bogota, Alejandro Falla travels north for a meeting with Ryan Harrison’s younger brother, Christian Harrison.  The winner of that match would face top seed John Isner, a former finalist in Atlanta.  Isner, who once spearheaded the University of Georgia tennis team, can expect fervent support as he attempts to master the conditions.  He towers over a section where the long goodbye of James Blake and the rise of Russian hope Evgeny Donskoy might collide.

Atlanta features plenty of young talent up and down its draw, not all of it American.  Two wildcards from the host nation will vie for a berth in the second round, both Denis Kudla and Rhyne Williams having shown flashes of promise.  On the other hand, Ricardas Berankis has shown more than just flashes of promise.  Destined for a clash with third seed Ivan Dodig, the compact Latvian combines a deceptively powerful serve with smooth touch and a pinpoint two-handed backhand.  His best result so far came on American soil last year, a runner-up appearance in Los Angeles.  Berankis will struggle to echo that feat in a section that includes Lleyton Hewitt.  A strong summer on grass, including a recent final in Newport, has infused the former US Open champion with plenty of momentum.

Semifinal:  Isner vs. Hewitt

Bottom half:  The older and more famous Harrison finds himself in a relatively soft section, important for a player who has reached just one quarterfinal in the last twelve months.  Ryan Harrison’s disturbingly long slump included a first-round loss in Atlanta last year, something that he will look to avoid against Australian No. 3 Marinko Matosevic.  Nearby looms Nebraska native Jack Sock, more explosive but also less reliable.  The draw has placed Sock on a collision course with returning veteran Mardy Fish, the sixth seed and twice an Atlanta champion.  Fish has played just one ATP tournament this year, Indian Wells, as he copes with physical issues.  Less intriguing is fourth seed Igor Sijsling, who upset Milos Raonic at Wimbledon but has not sustained consistency long enough to impress.

Bombing their way through the Bogota draw last week, Ivo Karlovic and Kevin Anderson enjoyed that tournament’s altitude.  They squared off in a three-set semifinal on Saturday but would meet as early as the second round in Atlanta.  Few of the other names in this section jump out at first glance, so one of the Americans in the section above might need to cope with not just the mind-melting heat but a mind-melting serve.

Semifinal:  Fish vs. Anderson

Final:  Hewitt vs. Anderson

Gstaad:

Top half:  As fellow blogger Josh Meiseles (@TheSixthSet) observed, Roger Federer should feel grateful to see neither Sergei Stakhovsky nor Federico Delbonis in his half of the draw.  Those last two nemeses of his will inspire other underdogs against the Swiss star in the weeks ahead, though.  Second-round opponent Daniel Brands needs little inspiration from others, for he won the first set from Federer in Hamburg last week.  Adjusting to his new racket, Federer will fancy his chances against the slow-footed Victor Hanescu if they meet in a quarterfinal.  But Roberto Bautista Agut has played some eye-opening tennis recently, including a strong effort against David Ferrer at Wimbledon.

A season of disappointments continued for fourth seed Juan Monaco last week when he fell well short of defending his Hamburg title.  The path looks a little easier for him at this lesser tournament, where relatively few clay specialists lurk in his half.  Madrid surprise semifinalist Pablo Andujar has not accomplished much of note since then, and sixth seed Mikhail Youzhny lost his first match in Hamburg.  Youzhny also lost his only previous meeting with Monaco, who may have more to fear from Bucharest finalist Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round.

Semifinal:  Federer vs. Monaco 

Bottom half:  Welcome to the land of the giant-killers, spearheaded by seventh seed Lukas Rosol.  Gone early in Hamburg, Rosol did win the first title of his career on clay this spring.  But the surface seems poorly suited to his all-or-nothing style, and Marcel Granollers should have the patience to outlast him.  The aforementioned Federico Delbonis faces an intriguing start against Thomaz Bellucci, a lefty who can shine on clay when healthy (not recently true) and disciplined (rarely true).  Two of the ATP’s more notable headcases could collide as well.  The reeling Janko Tipsarevic seeks to regain a modicum of confidence against Robin Haase, who set the ATP record for consecutive tiebreaks lost this year.

That other Federer-killer, Sergiy Stakhovsky, can look forward to a battle of similar styles against fellow serve-volleyer Feliciano Lopez.  Neither man thrives on clay, so second seed Stanislas Wawrinka should advance comfortably through this section.  Unexpectedly reaching the second week of Wimbledon, Kenny de Schepper looks to prove himself more than a one-hit wonder.  Other than Wawrinka, the strongest clay credentials in this section belong to Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

Semifinal:  Granollers vs. Wawrinka

Final:  Federer vs. Wawrinka

Umag:

Top half:  Historically less than imposing in the role of the favorite, Richard Gasquet holds that role as the only top-20 man in the draw.  He cannot count on too easy a route despite his ranking, for Nice champion Albert Montanes could await in his opener and resurgent compatriot Gael Monfils a round later.  Gasquet has not played a single clay tournament this year below the Masters 1000 level, so his entry in Umag surprises.  The presence of those players makes more sense, considering the clay expertise of Montanes and the cheap points available for Monfils to rebuild his ranking.  Nearly able to upset Federer in Hamburg last week, seventh seed Florian Mayer will hope to make those points less cheap than Monfils expects.

In pursuit of his third straight title, Fabio Fognini sweeps from Stuttgart and Hamburg south to Gstaad.  This surprise story of the month will write its next chapter against men less dangerous on clay, such as  recent Berdych nemesis Thiemo de Bakker.  An exception to that trend, Albert Ramos has reached two clay quarterfinals this year.  Martin Klizan, Fognini’s main threat, prefers hard courts despite winning a set from Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.

Semifinal:  Gasquet vs. Fognini

Bottom half:  Although he shone on clay at Roland Garros, Tommy Robredo could not recapture his mastery on the surface when he returned there after Wimbledon.  Early exits in each of the last two weeks leave him searching for answers as the fifth seed in Bastad.  A clash of steadiness against stylishness awaits in the quarterfinals if Robredo meets Alexandr Dolgopolov there.  The mercurial Dolgopolov has regressed this year from a breakthrough season in 2012.

The surprise champion in Bastad, Carlos Berlocq, may regret a draw that places him near compatriot Horacio Zeballos.  While he defeated Berlocq in Vina del Mar this February, Zeballos has won only a handful of matches since upsetting Nadal there.  Neither Argentine bore heavy expectations to start the season, unlike second seed Andreas Seppi.  On his best surface, Seppi has a losing record this year with first-round losses at six of eight clay tournaments.

Semifinal:  Robredo vs. Berlocq

Final:  Fognini vs. Robredo

Update: Michael Russell Calls Lleyton Hewitt a “Racist” and “Douche Bag”

(July 14, 2013) After his semifinal loss to Nicolas Mahut at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, RI on Sunday, American Michael Russell kept his eyes on center court. Due to rain delays on Saturday, both singles semifinals and the final were forced to be played back to back the following day on adjacent courts.

After winning their respective semifinals, Lleyton Hewitt took the court against Mahut to battle for the grass court title at 2:30pm on Sunday. After serving for the match, up 7-5, 5-4, Hewitt ended up losing the set and the match, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 to the Frenchman.

Afterward, Russell unexpectedly took to his personal Facebook page for an aggressive rant and name-calling session against the Aussie, calling him a “douche bag and a racist.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 7.36.16 PM

The “side court 1” comment is in reference to both semifinals being played side-by-side simultaneously, where Hewitt versus John Isner was on center court, and Russell versus Mahut was on court 1.

Though Russell somewhat explains what he meant by the “douche bag” comment, there was nothing to allude to the “racist” comment whether on Facebook or during the week’s happenings in Newport.

However, this isn’t the first time Hewitt has been called a racist.

During a second round match between Hewitt and James Blake at the 2001 US Open, Hewitt was called for two foot faults in the fourth set. The line judge happened to be black, and during a changeover, Hewitt had a conversation with the chair umpire regarding what many perceived to be a race issue.

“I’m only being foot-faulted on one end … Look at him, look at him and you tell me what the similarity is,” said a heated Hewitt on court.

When questioned in his post-match press conference about seemingly comparing the umpire’s and Blake’s skin color as the reason for his outburst, Hewitt firmly denied it was a race issue. “No, I didn’t say that to the umpire.”

“It was a conversation with me and the umpire,” Hewitt continued. “I come from a multi-cultured country, I’m not racial at all … There was nothing racial said out there at all. If people took it in the wrong way, then I apologize because it wasn’t meant to be in that way.” Blake publicly gave him the benefit of the doubt “because it’s in competition.”

However, the stigma stuck and the Aussie received continued backlash — one that seems to have extended to present day with Russell’s comments some 12 years later. The strange thing is though, Hewitt went on to defeat Albert Portas, Tommy Haas, Andy Roddick, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Pete Sampras to win his first Slam, the 2001 US Open.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo2Uc9ldzWk

UPDATE: Michael Russell went on Facebook and Twitter late Sunday to debunk it was him posting these comments to his Facebook account, instead claiming it was his “publicist.” However, while saying he “NEVER posts directly on Facebook” but “ONLY” uses Twitter linked to his Facebook account, the first post below is clearly in opposition to that statement. Moreover, as seen in the screencap above, the person apparently posting in Russell’s stead commented that “I have been on tour for over 15 years.” Now, why would a publicist state that if indeed it was the publicist? Furthermore, Russell’s wife Lilly “liked” several of the comments within the now-deleted rant.

Regardless of what happened here or who is to blame, it was not a smart move for a guy generally well-liked on the Tour, and one who has been quite outspoken about the need of restructuring the ATP.

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.51.12 AM Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.51.16 AM Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.51.18 AM

(h/t to @prashantsport on Hewitt video)