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ATP Tidbits – Nike, Adidas, Dunlop Player Parties, Players Complain of US Open Transportation, and Slow-mo Power-Hitting Beauties

Publicity was the name of the game this past week as players, sponsors and fans got ready for the official kick-off of the 2010 US Open in Flushing Meadows, NY. It began with another humorous ATP player joining the twitterverse while others complained of the US Open transportation. The week also featured three player/celebrity events and were held by Nike, Adidas and Dunlop. It was then concluded with Arthur Ashe Kids Day this past Saturday. During the madness, a slow-motion video made by the New York Times of current top WTA players was erected, displaying both the power and elegance in today’s game.

Dmitry Tursunov, hilarious twitter addict

The newest addition to twitter is none other than funnyman Dmitry Tursunov. Known for his tennis, killer physique and DJing skills, he now admits to quickly becoming a fan of twitter. He calls it “dedication” to his online “minions.” We call it an addiction, but same result.


When he was first learning to ‘retweet’ and ‘reply’ to people through twitter, Brad Gilbert was the first unsuccessful target. Gilbert said that “it’s all about the shoes” in an outfit, referring to Tursunov’s tweet jokingly stating that his own was a scandalous one at the US Open. Tursunov tried to respond to Gilbert by saying he’ll wear speedos and bow-ties, but it came out all wrong. I would try to describe what happened next, but Tursunov’s humor is A+. Take a look for yourself (start from the bottom of the picture and read up in chronological order). Try not to laugh at his humor and “genius”. I dare you!

Thank goodness for one of his “minions” giving him tips on how to retweet and reply to others. This will go down as a classic example of why player’s shouldn’t go ‘coachless.’ Catch Dmitry Tursunov at http://twitter.com/tursunovtales.

Players complain about US Open transportation via Twitter

The US Open is full of glitz and glam, so players should be able to get whatever their hearts desire, right? Wrong. Janko Tipsarevic opened up a Pandora’s box of sorts concerning US Open transportation services for players. Clearly frustrated and on a rain-filled day in New York, he tweeted that the “US Open is not givin car transportation to players if you are not on a list that they don’t know what depends on.” After a couple of exchanges with Feliciano Lopez, Lopez offers these words of wisdom: “try to get spanish passport so will be easier.” As awesome of any idea as that might be, it seems more likely that car transportation is dependent on a player being seeded at the tournament.

In fact, Tursunov himself tweeted about “climbing the fence to get to the cars” one evening after practice last week when he was initially denied, citing it was for USTA personnel and that players needed to take “shuttles.” He even offered Tipsarevic advice with his humor: “If u insist on getting a ride just accuse them of profiling Serbians.” Now, this was getting juicy. It was, of course, all in fun as these players chatted via Twitter, but it gave fans a look at how players chat amongst themselves in real life as well.

Vania King also put in her two cents about her hardships via twitter: “Already had a conflict with US Open transport and I’m not even there yet! US is the biggest yet least accommodating of all Grand Slams.” And that’s coming from a Grand Slam Doubles’ Champion. Ouch!

But be careful what you wish for though. Kim Clijsters set the story straight: “90 min from our hotel to the tennis! Traffic is such a waste of time.” Wiser words could not have been spoken by a true veteran. Whether you’re a player or fan, the subway and Long Island Railroad are by far the top choices for transport to the US Open.

Nike Pro/Am event featuring lots of giggles

This past Wednesday evening, Nike held its “Nike Primetime Knockout Tennis Event” at Pier 54 that included players Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, John McEnroe and MC Serena Williams (boot and all). The event not only revealed each player’s night match kit, but also took on a Pro/Am format that pitted Team Nadal (with super model Bar Refaeli) against Team Azarenka (with New York Giant Justin Tuck). And Team Sharapova (with actor Bradley Cooper) took on Team Federer (with New York Tennis League player Sami Ahmad).

There were plenty of fun light-hearted moments, including Williams distracting Federer by screaming while he served and also asking Rafa to reveal his abs. Sharapova even practiced her winning pose. Also check out Global Village Tennis News who attended and recorded a fun press conference the players did afterward:

http://blog.gvtnews.com/2010/08/25/nike-nyc-lights-on-lights-out–news-conference-with-nadal-federer-sharapova-and-azarenka.aspx

Adidas’ players and the giant shoe cake

On Friday evening, it was Adidas’ turn to celebrate in their Soho NY store with the 10th anniversary of their Barricade shoe. Although sidelined due to injury, Justine Henin and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga attended the event, along with Andy Murray and Ana Ivanovic. The event seemed more casual than the Nike one — even down to the players uncoordinated clothes. But, the giant shoe cake makes up for it, don’t you think?

Dunlop players as bartenders, doesn’t get better than this!

On Saturday evening, Dunlop also held a party launching their new Biomemetic line of racquets, with their players posing as bartenders. While Dominika Cibulkova was the only WTAer present, there were plenty of ATP players pouring their drink of choice to fans and media at the Union Square Ballroom in New York City. The list included Nikolay Davydenko, Ross Hutchins, Jurgen Melzer, Fernando Verdasco, Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo. A moment of note occurred when John McEnroe introduced Fernando Verdasco and asked him what it would take to share some of his good looks. Verdasco handsomely replied, “Give me your volley.” Cue female admirers giggling like school girls.

Record-setting crowd at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day

Every year, Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is held on the Saturday just prior to the main draw start at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. It consistently attracts thousands of fans, but this year’s attendance was a record 23,000! Fans got to enjoy tennis exhibitions by pros Kim Clijsters, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Melanie Oudin and the #1 wheelchair player in the world, Esther Vergeer. Celebrity guests also included Lindsey Vonn and singers Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers among others. The Bryan Brothers also took stage to perform two of their hit singles and even had help from newly-minted rap star, Djokovic, on their ‘Autograph’ song which he appeared in. All in all, a huge success and a great way to inspire young athletes to go for their goals.

Photo credit to Michael Alan at http://www.michaelalanphotos.com/

“Women who hit hard”

The New York Times showcases the top ladies dressed up and playing tennis — in slow motion! It displays the delicate beauty as well as the fearsome power needed to rule the women’s game today. It includes Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Elena Dementieva, Jelena Jankovic, Samantha Stosur, Victoria Azarenka and Vera Zvonareva. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/08/29/magazine/womens-tennis.html?ref=magazine

ROGER FEDERER ON TARGET IN MADRID

Roger Federer made it the to semis at the Madrid Open beating Ernests Gulbis 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.  Last month Ernests Gulbis turned into Federer’s “bête noir” beating Federer in Rome and Gulbig was looking to repeat. However, Federer got himself together and ensured victory in Madrid.

“I think it’s one of the toughest things in tennis if you lose against a player and you have to play against him in the next couple of weeks,” Federer said. “I was very happy with the way I was able to return and mix up the game a bit, and at the end I thought it was a really great performance.”

The renewal of the rivalry between Federer and Nadal is coming closer with Nadal also reaching the semis. Nadal faced Gael Monfils and beat him 6-1, 6-3.

“In the first set I played at a very high level,” said Nadal, who compared the high-altitude conditions of Madrid with his previous two tournaments.

“In Monte Carlo I played one of the best tournaments of my life on clay. In Rome, I played very well, too. This is the toughest tournament for me. The conditions are the most difficult of the year for me on clay, but I’m fine. Yesterday I played quite well (against John Isner), today better. I’m very happy.”

Roger Federer faces David Ferrer in the semis while Rafael Nadal plays fellow countryman Nicolas Almagro.

Ralf Reinecke was on the scene taking pics of the Roger Federer / Ernests Gulbis match.

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Win a Chance to Serve for $1 Million on National TV!

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (August 18, 2009) — Ever dream of serving for the big prize, in front of thousands of fans? You can live your dream through a tennis-industry-wide sweepstakes called “Racket UP, America!”

If you’re the lucky winner, you’ll receive a trip to New York City to attend the “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” in Madison Square Garden on March 1, which will feature the top women tennis players in the world. In the middle of it all, you’ll step up to the line and hit a serve to a target that could make you a millionaire.

In the unique promotion, anyone who buys a new tennis racket—of any brand, and at any tennis retailer or pro shop—through Sept. 30, 2009, could win the chance to serve for $1 million. Consumers simply register their racket purchase at playtennis.com/million. Other prizes include a trip for two to the 2010 US Open Men’s Singles and Women’s Doubles finals and 20 $500 tennis merchandise prize packs. (Free entry available, see playtennis.com/million for official rules and details.)

The BNP Paribas Showdown on March 1, which is part of “Tennis Night in America,” will bring together four of the world’s best women pros who are 2009 Grand Slam winners or No. 1 players, vying for $1.2 million in prize money and the Billie Jean King Cup. Serena Williams is the defending champion, and so far, she and Svetlana Kuznetsova have qualified for the Madison Square Garden event. Williams won the 2009 Australian Open and Wimbledon tournaments; Kuznetsova won this year’s French Open. (For more on the BNP Paribas Showdown, visit www.stargamesinc.com/bnpparibasshowdown.html.)

The Showdown’s format will be two one-set semifinals followed by a best-of-three-set final. The “Racket UP, America!” sweepstakes winner will hit the potential million-dollar serve between the second semifinal and the final, in front of the MSG crowd and a television audience. The winner also will meet tennis legends Billie Jean King and Ivan Lendl, along with other tennis champions.

“We are thrilled to be able to have the ‘Racket UP, America!’ sweepstakes winner go for a million dollars at the BNP Paribas Showdown,” says Jerry Solomon, president of StarGames, which is partnering with Madison Square Garden to produce the event. “This is what Tennis Night in America is all about—a real celebration of tennis. We’re happy to help bring attention to such a worthwhile industry-wide promotion.”

“‘Racket Up, America!” is a collaborative effort by the tennis industry designed to generate excitement and interest in the sport while helping to stimulate retail sales. “Tennis is a fun, social, healthy, lifelong sport,” says Jon Muir, president of the Tennis Industry Association, which is spearheading the promotion. “We’ve been thrilled that over the last eight years, tennis participation has grown 43 percent, far outpacing all other traditional sports, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.”

You can follow “Racket Up, America!” on Twitter and Facebook. More information, including official rules and details, is at playtennis.com/million.