Mark Philippoussis

Roddick Hands Philippoussis First PowerShares Series Loss of 2016 With Sherwood Country Club Title

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Andy Roddick ended the undefeated run of Mark Philippoussis on the PowerShares Series in 2016, defeating the Australian 6-2 in the one-set final Thursday at the SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup at the Sherwood Country Club.

The win was Roddick’s 13th career title on the PowerShares Series, the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30. Roddick, 34, dominated the PowerShares Series in 2015, winning a single-season record eight titles. In his debut year on the Series in 2014, he won two of the three tournaments he played. Roddick’s win in Thousand Oaks is his third of the year, after winning two titles in April – in St. Louis beating John McEnroe in the final, and Charleston, S.C., beating Andre Agassi in the final.

Philippoussis had won all five previous PowerShares Series events he had played during the year, winning titles in Tulsa, Memphis, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Philippoussis held a 10-0 record for the year on the PowerShares Series entering play at the Sherwood Country Club.

The event was played in conjunction with the PGA Champions Tour Playoff event – the PowerShares QQQ Championship – and was played with PGA Champions Tour golfers in attendance, including 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples, who also participated in the pre-event “Hit with the Pros” opportunity for fans. The SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup is the ninth of 12 events on the 2016 PowerShares Series.

To advance into the final, Roddick beat former U.S. Davis Cup teammate James Blake 6-3 while Philippoussis beat Jim Courier 6-3.

The win for Roddick moves him closer to the top spot in the PowerShares Series rankings with 1400 points, 200 points shy of Philippousiss with 1600 points. Blake ranks No. 3 with 800 points.

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match and, for the second straight year, players make their own line calls with assistance of electronic line-calling.

The remaining 2016 PowerShares Series schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;

 

November 4 – Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

January 5 – Orlando (Amway Arena) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

January 7 – New York (Barclays Center) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

 

In 2015, Andy Roddick won the PowerShares Series points title in his second year of competin 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. Mark 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 INVESCO POWERSHARES

Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its lineup of more than 140 domestic and international exchange-traded funds, which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With franchise assets of nearly $100 billion as of October 2, 2015, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us at invescopowershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

ABOUT POWERSHARES QQQ

PowerShares QQQ™, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 Index®, is one of the largest and most traded ETFs in the world. Under most circumstances, QQQ will consist of all of the stocks in the index which includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization.

 

Philippoussis Beats Safin To Win PowerShares Series Title In Newport

Mark Philippoussis won his third PowerShares Series of the year Sunday beating Marat Safin 6-4 in the one-set championship match to win the PowerShares Legends Newport title at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

The win was the third in as many events for Philippoussis this year on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over age 30. By earning 400 ranking points, Philippoussis moved passed Andy Roddick into the top position in the PowerShares Series rankings. Through six events on the 12-event PowerShares Series in 2016, Philippoussis has 1200 points to Roddick’s 1000 points, while James Blake ranks No. 3 with 700 points.

The win from Philippoussis came 10 years and one day when he won his 11th and final ATP singles title when he won the 2006 Hall of Fame Championships on the very same grass court as his PowerShares Series title Sunday.

Philippoussis was able to use his powerful serve and frequent trips to the net to beat both Andy Roddick in the semifinals and Safin in the final. Against Safin, he broke Safin’s serve for a 2-0 lead with a falling down backhand overhead winner on break point. Nicknamed “Scud” for his powerful serve, Philippoussis even knocked Safin to the ground with a 127 mph ace to hold serve for a 5-3 lead, before serving out the title two games later.

In April, Philippoussis won PowerShares Series titles on back-to-back nights indoors in Tulsa and Memphis, beating Jim Courier in both finals. Philippoussis has now won seven career PowerShares Series singles titles in his career. Safin, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame the previous day, was playing in his first PowerShares Series event since 2010.

To advance to the final, Safin beat James Blake 7-6(2) while Philippoussis beat Roddick 6-4.

On Saturday, Safin was officially inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, alongside Justine Henin, Yvon Petra and Margaret Scriven.

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match and, for the second straight year, players make their own line calls with assistance of electronic line-calling.

The event marked the return of PowerShares Series tennis to Newport after the International Tennis Hall of Fame hosted events in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The remaining 2016 PowerShares Series schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;

 

August 21 – Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

August 25, 26 – New Haven  (Yale University) – Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

October 27 – Los Angeles (Sherwood Tennis Club) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

November 4 – Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish

December 1 – Orlando (Amway Arena) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

December 3 – New York (Barclays Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

 

In 2015, Andy 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. Mark 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 INVESCO POWERSHARES

Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its lineup of more than 140 domestic and international exchange-traded funds, which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With franchise assets of nearly $100 billion as of October 2, 2015, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us at invescopowershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

ABOUT POWERSHARES QQQ

PowerShares QQQ™, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 Index®, is one of the largest and most traded ETFs in the world. Under most circumstances, QQQ will consist of all of the stocks in the index which includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization

Philippoussis Wins Tulsa Championships On PowerShares Series

Mark Philippoussis won his second PowerShares Series title in as many nights Saturday, defeating both Andy Roddick and Jim Courier for a second straight night to win the Tulsa Championships at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Philippoussis, who won in Memphis in his 2016 PowerShares Series debut the previous night, beat Courier 6-3 in the one-set championship match to earn his sixth career title on the North American circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.  To advance to the final, Philippoussis beat Roddick 6-3, one night after beating him 7-5 in the semifinal match in Memphis.

Philippoussis broke Courier in the second game of the set and was never threatened on serve in the match. Against Roddick, he dug himself out of a 0-40 hole in his first service game and broke serve in the eight game to forge his way to victory.

Courier advanced to the championship match with a 7-5 win over John McEnroe.

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match and, for the second straight year, players make their own line calls with assistance of electronic line-calling.

The remaining 2016 PowerShares Series schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;

 

July 17                  Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame) – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Marat Safin, + 1 TBA

August 21             Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

August 25, 26       New Haven (Yale University) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

November 4          Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish and TBA

November 5         Denver (1stBank Center) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake and TBA

December 1          Orlando (Amway Arena) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

December 3          New York (Barclays Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

 

In 2015, Andy 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. Mark 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 INVESCO POWERSHARES

Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its lineup of more than 140 domestic and international exchange-traded funds, which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With franchise assets of nearly $100 billion as of October 2, 2015, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us at invescopowershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

ABOUT POWERSHARES QQQ

PowerShares QQQ™, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 Index®, is one of the largest and most traded ETFs in the world. Under most circumstances, QQQ will consist of all of the stocks in the index which includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization.

 

Philippoussis Kicks Off 2016 PowerShares Series With A Bang With Memphis Win

Mark Philippoussis made his 2016 PowerShares Series debut Friday night beating Andy Roddick and Jim Courier back-to-back to win the Champions Showdown Memphis title at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss.

Philippoussis upset Roddick 7-5 in the opening one-set semifinal match, becoming only the second player to ever beat Roddick on the PowerShares Series. He then beat Courier 6-3 in the one-set championship match to win his fifth career title on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players.

“I had good rhythm,” said Phillippoussis of his winning evening. “I was connecting on my groundstrokes and the serve was there. I had a lot of fun out there.”

Philippoussis won the first and final PowerShares Series titles in 2015, beating Andre Agassi in the final of Salt Lake City in the opening event of the Series, then capped the season in Vancouver in the Series finale, defeating Pete Sampras in the final. He also won titles in 2010 in Boston and Surprise, Arizona.

His semifinal upset of Roddick was described by some observers as the best on the Series in a long time, maybe ever, as two of the fastest servers in the history of tennis exchanged blistering serves and rocket forehands in a display of tennis reminiscent of their ATP World Tour days. Roddick took an early 3-1 lead but Philippoussis was able rally back from 3-3. Philippoussis saved two break points at 4-4 with a service winner and an ace before holding and eventually breaking Roddick’s serve to close out the upset victory.

Philippoussis joins James Blake as the only players to defeating Roddick on the PowerShares Series, Blake beating Roddick in the semifinals of Houston in 2014 and last year in the semifinals of Boston and Cincinnati.

To advance to the final, Courier defeated John McEnroe 6-4.

Each PowerShares Series event features two one-set semifinal matches and a one-set championship match and, for the second straight year, players make their own line calls with assistance of electronic line-calling.

The remaining 2016 PowerShares Series schedule with player fields are listed below and ticket, schedule and player information can be found at www.PowerSharesSeries.com;

 

April 23                Tulsa (BOK Center) – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

July 17                  Newport, R.I. (International Tennis Hall of Fame) – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Marat Safin, + 1 TBA

August 21             Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest University) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mardy Fish

August 25, 26       New Haven (Yale University) – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, James Blake, Mardy Fish

November 4          Portland, Oregon (Moda Center) –  Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mardy Fish and TBA

November 5         Denver (1stBank Center) – Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake and TBA

December 1          Orlando (Amway Arena) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

December 3          New York (Barclays Center) – Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

 

In 2015, Andy 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. Mark 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 INVESCO POWERSHARES

Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC is leading the Intelligent ETF Revolution® through its lineup of more than 140 domestic and international exchange-traded funds, which seek to outperform traditional benchmark indexes while providing advisors and investors access to an innovative array of focused investment opportunities. With franchise assets of nearly $100 billion as of October 2, 2015, PowerShares ETFs trade on both US stock exchanges. For more information, please visit us at invescopowershares.com or follow us on Twitter @PowerShares.

 

ABOUT POWERSHARES QQQ

PowerShares QQQ™, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on the NASDAQ-100 Index®, is one of the largest and most traded ETFs in the world. Under most circumstances, QQQ will consist of all of the stocks in the index which includes 100 of the largest domestic and international nonfinancial companies listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market based on market capitalization.

The Necker Island Cup

by James A. Crabtree

The definitive tennis getaway would be somewhere in the Caribbean, secluded on a beautiful island with perfect weather, gorgeous beaches and crystal blue water. You would want the prefect mixture of tennis, relaxation, spiritual growth and entertainment.

So where exactly do you go?

Paradise, or more accurately Necker Island for Richard Branson’s inaugural Necker Island Cup.

Aside from kite boarding the Virgin boss lists tennis as a very important pastime. This is why the finest professional-amateur tournament in the world has been constructed. Yes you heard that correctly (repeat aloud), professional-amateur tournament meaning amateur players will be partnering a tennis professional! For a fee of course, but what more could one ask for? Many attend professional tennis events and enjoy the thrill of admiring the greats from afar, but the Necker Island Cup certainly makes dreams come true being able to literally serve it up with the world’s tennis best.

According to Trevor Short of premiertennistravel.com, Branson is also a player to be reckoned with and advises that he is a wily competitor with a sliding serve. Only time will tell how five time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic, the headline attendee at the event, handles the serve. But what is for sure is the world’s number one tennis player handles his off season in style. He will no doubt benefit from the leadership retreat and enjoy the chance to speak with environmentalists Alice Sylvia Earle and Jose Maria Figueres about global issues such as climate change and sustainable development.

Djokovic isn’t the only big name to be making the most from the offseason.  Bob and Mike Bryan will be partnering an amateur and will surely suffice as a viable doubles partner if their own volleys aren’t up to scratch. How about some veteran guile? John McEnroe or Tommy Haas anybody? Yes please. Or a big server who looks like he enjoys a good party? Well, that could only be Mark Philippoussis. Sign me up.

The parties have been taken care of with the “End of the World” awards dinner that includes a charity auction. And for those who don’t fancy roughing it up with the professionals on the court then there is also the Rosewood Little Dix Bay Legends Tennis Camp on the nearby Virgin Gorda Island led by Luke and Murphy Jensen.

With tennis the main focus of this remote, paradise island in early December it is certainly not understated in style with luxurious Balinese retreats on offer that provide more than the restful nights sleep; accommodation only seen to be believed (http://www.neckercup.com). Enough said this tournament set in paradise certainly offers more than its fair share of niceties.

A close call for Serena Williams – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

Close Call

Former No. 1 Serena Williams has seen her share of close calls on the court, but they were nothing in comparison to the close call her health suffered at the front part of the week. In what was not only the top story in tennis circles, but one of the top stories of the news in general, it was revealed that Serena Williams suffered a potentially life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Thankfully Williams was able to receive treatment in time and has since been recovering at home under strict care of doctors. This is yet another setback in her plans to return to the game, though Williams has stated that she hopes to return by early summer. This may be another dose of optimism on her part however, as others have estimated she is looking at a minimum of six months recovery time and may need to sit out an entire year to be on the safe side. Serena and her fans will want her to be 100% healthy before she attempts to hit the courts, but if she does indeed sit out the remainder of the season, with the way the game continues to evolve, it may be an impossible task for her to fully bounce back from this lengthy of a layoff.

French Fury

Several of the Davis Cup teams are suffering from their share of issues as the opening of the 2011 Davis Cup gets underway, but perhaps none more so than the French Davis Cup team. Not only has it been hit with injuries, but there is very little team harmony in the ranks. French player Gilles Simon has accused French Captain Guy Forget of essentially having a limited vision of what it takes to bring home the cup, while former captain Patrice Dominguez has suggested that “Guy is weakened…The trust did not exist. There is a problem with Forget with this generation, he did not know that before.” Forget was under fire after last year’s final loss to Serbia, and with this newest round of attacks, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be back to guide the ship next year…he may even find himself gone before 2011 is over.

Rivalry Renewed

One of the most iconic rivalries in tennis was that of Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi, and the two Americans renewed their rivalry earlier this week at Madison Square Garden. While it’s Agassi’s year with his upcoming induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, it was ultimately Sampras who came out on top, taking the match 6-3, 7-5. But the more important element to take away from the match was that just as they had done in their two prior exhibitions in Latin America, the two rivals remained on their best behavior. Both reminded the press and public that what happened at last year’s “Hit for Haiti” was unfortunate, but it is in the past. This is wonderful news for fans and exhibition organizers, as no doubt these two legends of the game will continue to fill arenas wherever they compete.

No California Dreamin’

Mark Philippoussis has delayed his attempt to return to the ATP World Tour by declining the wildcard he was initially given to compete in the qualifying event for Indian Wells. The Aussie has instead decided to replace the injured Stefan Edberg at a senior event Zurich, Switzerland. As disappointed as some of Scud’s California fans might be, it was refreshing to see Philippoussis come to this decision. His trip to Zurich is guaranteed money, something he is need of. He has also been enjoying success on the senior tour, having most recently secured the title in Delray Beach. It’s also difficult to imagine him stringing together any type of substantial success on the main tour, so better that he stick with where he is doing well, continue to grow in confidence, and perhaps continue to add a few more bucks to his checking account.

Road to Recovery

Win or lose against the United States in the opening round of Davis Cup play, Chileans do have something to cheer about. Fernando Gonzalez, who underwent hip surgery last October, has announced that he’s planning to attempt a comeback. He has already been training and hitting the court, and he is hopeful of getting a few matches under his belt before Roland Garros. He’s no spring chicken at the age of 30, but he need look no further than Australian Lleyton Hewitt to know that he can come back and experience success.

Jim Courier Takes the Reins – The Friday Five

By Maud Watson

Taking the Reins

A week after Australia named the appointment of Patrick Rafter as its new Davis Cup captain, the United States followed suit. On Wednesday it was announced that Jim Courier would be replacing Patrick McEnroe at the helm of the U.S. team. Courier will have some big shoes to fill, as McEnroe did much to turn around the fortunes of the U.S. Davis Cup squad, which included a title win in 2007. But Courier, a four-time Grand Slam winner, brings plenty of experience to the table, including serving as a member of the 1995 victorious U.S. Davis Cup squad. And, as an added bonus, reports seem to indicate that there’s a slight chance Mr. Courier’s new appointment could entice a healthy Andy Roddick to devote time to Davis Cup duty once again.

Muster Wobbles

Thomas Muster made his comeback debut at the main ATP World Tour level in his native Austria this week, and unfortunately, it didn’t have a fairytale ending. The 43-year-old succumbed to his native countryman Andreas Haider-Maurer in straight sets in the opening round, though it should be noted that the second set ended in a tiebreak. Perhaps Muster is still polishing off some of the rust, but it is a little difficult to see him putting in another two good years as he stated he hopes to do. Still, judging by the crowd’s reaction to his efforts, there’s little doubt that his comeback is still bringing plenty of smiles to fans’ faces.

Comeback Bug

In addition to Muster, the ATP World Tour may see the return of yet another veteran in Australian Mark Philippoussis. After securing two wins on the Champions Series seniors’ tour, the veteran Australian has stated that he has found his hunger once again and is contemplating a return to the main tour level. While there are many fans who would love to see Scud see his plan through, it’s certainly questionable on Philippoussis’ part. It’s not as though this is the first time he’s considered such a comeback, and while those who compete on the Champions Tour are champions in their own right, they are retired from the main tour for a reason. The difference in the caliber of play is wide, and Philippoussis is kidding himself if he thinks success on one tour means it will translate to success on the ATP World Tour. Sadly, one has to wonder if Philippoussis’ considerations for a return don’t stem from the fact that he squandered his talent during his prime by choosing to live the good life instead putting in the time necessary to remain more injury-free and to realize his full potential. But then again, if Muster thinks he can do it in his 40s, there’s at least a glimmer of hope for the Aussie to do it in his 30s.

Consolation Prize

Few would argue that 2010 has been the year of Rafael Nadal. With the No. 1 ranking sewn up, three of the four majors to his name, and achieving the career Grand Slam, it has been his banner year. But Roger Federer, despite the subpar results by his high standards, has still managed to achieve yet another milestone, as he tied Sampras’ record of 64 singles titles with is win in Stockholm last week. At this stage in the game, Connors’ 109 still seems untouchable and McEnroe’s 77 a doable but lofty goal, but look for Federer to add to his total and use this mini-milestone as a springboard to better things in 2011.

Gossip Fill

In case you missed your daily dose of gossip, it’s worth noting a story that broke late last week followed by one earlier this week. The first concerns the engagement of Maria Sharapova to LA Laker Sasha Vujacic. More than once Sharapova has commented that she couldn’t see herself playing till she was 30, and if her results don’t drastically improve in 2011, don’t be entirely surprised if she hangs up the racquet and decides to permanently soak up the California sun. Then there’s Lleyton Hewitt, who became a father for the third time as he and wife Bec welcomed a baby girl last weekend. The whole charging for texts to find out the baby girl’s name is a little odd (and someone please let me know if that goes to some kind of charity), but congratulations are in order for the Hewitt’s. Don’t look for a third child to have a negative impact on Hewitt’s game either. It’s his body he’ll need to worry about.

Kournikova Out of Chilean Mine!!

Anna Kournikova made her first public appearance since she was rescued after over two months underground along with 33 Chilean miners at last week’s Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz.

Well, she wasn’t really trapped in the Chilean mine. But, while in Arizona, she did sport some great looking sun-glasses like those miners did as their eyes slowly got used to sunlight.

On Saturday, she participated in mixed doubles matches in conjunction with the event during the day and night sessions.

Mark Philippoussis won the singles title at the event, defeating Jim Courier in the final. Michael Chang beat John McEnroe in the third-place match. Other participating players were Wayne Ferreira, Jimmy Arias, Aaron Krickstein and Jeff Tarango. Ashley Harkleroad, the Playboy pin-up of tennis, also participated in the mixed doubles events with Kournikova.

Here are some more photos of the event, courtesy of the InsideOut Sports & Entertainment. For more info on the Champions Series, go to www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com

PHILIPPOUSSIS STICKS WITH FEDERER TO WIN AT WIMBLEDON

When Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title in 2003, Mark Philippoussis was the man he beat in the final to break through and win his first of a now record 16 major singles title. Despite a shaky performance in the first round against Alejandro Falla on Monday, Federer is still the pick of Philippoussis to win a seventh Wimbledon title on Sunday, July 4. Philippoussis, who currently is the top-ranked player on the Champions Series tennis circuit, blogs his thoughts about Federer and his match with Falla as well as thoughts about the women’s draw and his pick of Venus Williams to win the women’s singles title at SW19. The blog can be read here: http://www.championsseriestennis.com/player_blog.php?id=47

Philippoussis defeated John McEnroe 6-3, 4-6, 10-5 (Champions Tie-Breaker) last month to win his first career Champions Series singles title at the $150,000 Staples Champions Cup in Boston. The win for Philippoussis also vaulted him into the No. 1 Champions Series ranking after reaching the singles final in the circuit’s opening event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he lost to Fernando Meligeni.

Philippoussis will join McEnroe, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, Mikael Pernfors, Wayne Ferreira, Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias at the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz., to be played October 20-24 at the Surprise Recreation Campus Tennis and Racquet Complex. For more information on the Champions Series, go to www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com

UP IN THE AIR WITH JIM COURIER

Being a tennis player means a lot of traveling.  You get to see many interesting places and collect Airmiles. Maybe some tennis players are just like Ryan Bingham from Up in the air and try to collect 10 million miles. Who knows?

The life of a tennis player however is not always glamorous. Jim Courier depicts that in his blog entry.

Here is a quick excerpt:

Flights out of Rio depart late in the evening back to both Europe and the US so all of the foreign players, save Mikael Pernfors who had flown back Saturday night and Wayne Ferreira who was staying an extra day in Rio, were booked to depart on Sunday evening following the 3rd place and Championship matches on Sunday. Cedric Pioline, Marat Safin, Mark Philippoussis, Mats Wilander and myself along with Champions Series head honcho Jon Venison and Mats’ wife, Sonya all met up in our airline’s VIP lounge (business class, one of the perks of Champions Series life) to await the boarding of our planes. Marat and Cedric were headed back to Paris at 11:30pm and the rest of us were going to NYC at 11pm, or so we thought. Note: we’re all flying on the same Brazilian airline.

For the full entry click here: http://www.championsseriestennis.com/player_blog.php?id=6