tennis championships

Pending Fatherhood Forces Chang to Withdraw From Champions Series Event in Grand Cayman

InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced that Michael Chang has withdrawn from the 2010 The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships this week due to the pending birth of his first child. Chang will be replaced in the field by 1986 French Open finalist Mikael Pernfors. Rounding out the field at the clay-court Champions Series event are Hall of Famers Stefan Edberg and Jim Courier, former US and Australian Open champion Marat Safin and former top 10 U.S. standouts Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias.

Said Chang, “I was very much looking forward to competing in the event at the Cayman Islands however at this time I need to be with my wife as we eagerly await the birth of our first child.”

Chang recently played his first event on the Champions Series since 2006, finishing in third place at The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz. Chang married former two-time NCAA singles champion from Stanford Amber Liu on October 18, 2008.

This year’s Grand Cayman tournament will feature for the first time a multi-day pro-am experience that will be combined with the world class tennis competition to create an exclusive tennis destination happening. All six competing pros will participate in the pro-am that will see the legends playing matches and enjoying meals and social time with participating amateurs over multiple days. Tennis fans interested in participating in the pro-am with the legends can find ticket, travel and tournament information by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

Edberg, Courier and Safin have combined to win 12 major singles titles and each achieved the world’s No. 1 ranking. The event will be played on red clay courts in a single-knockout format event with each player vying for a first-prize paycheck of $45,000 and ranking points that determine the year-end No. 1 ranked player on the Champions Series circuit.

In the opening quarterfinal match at 7 pm on November 5, Pernfors will play Krickstein, followed by Courier taking on Arias. On Saturday, November 6, starting at 2 pm, the winner of the Pernfors-Krickstein match will play Safin while the winner of the Courier-Arias match will play Edberg. The schedule of play on Sunday, November 7 will feature the third-place match between the two losing semifinalists starting at 1 pm followed by the championship match.

To be eligible to compete on the Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. Courier finished the 2009 season as the top-ranked player on the Champions Series, followed by Pete Sampras and Todd Martin. Courier won the 2009 edition of The Residences At the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships beating Arias 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

Earlier this year on the Champions Series circuit, former U.S. and Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis defeated John McEnroe in May to win the Staples Champions Cup in Boston and take over the No. 1 Champions Series ranking. Philippoussis maintained his ranking by winning the title at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz., in October, defeating Courier in the final. Former French Open semifinalist Fernando Meligeni of Brazil was the surprise winner of the opening event on the 2010 Champions Series, winning the title in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil by defeating Philippoussis in the final in March.

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

The Weekly Debrief – Mardy Fish’s Winning Secret Weapon

The US Open Series went into full effect this week in Atlanta seeing big names such as Mardy Fish and James Blake in both the singles and doubles draws. We also had a full-on twitter explosion speculating whether Juan Martin Del Potro is ready to defend his US Open title in Flushing Meadows, as well as a new title winner in Hamburg. There was also a dose of celebrity stardom in Los Angeles this weekend seeing the likes of Gavin Rossdale, Jon Lovitz and a slew of tennis legends. Let’s check out this week’s Top Moments in the Weekly Debrief.

Top Four

1. Mardy Fish has been bursting through the scene at lightning speed, picking up his second title in as many weeks at the Atlanta Tennis Championships.

Fish first took out top seed Andy Roddick in the semifinals 7-5, 6-3. This marked Fish’s first win over his good friend in their last ten meetings: “It’s one of the best wins I’ve had … It’s tough to beat a great friend … He (Roddick) said to me at the net: ‘I know how hard you’ve worked, so enjoy it.”

Fish then went on to defeat John Isner 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, in a humid and hot day that saw on-court temperatures reaching well over the 100 degree mark. The 2 hour and 45 minute match saw both players affected by the heat, with Fish even needing an IV after the match because of dehydration. He also had a long visit in the trainer’s room stating that he “sort of went into a lower body cramp with both legs.” In September of last year, Fish underwent knee surgery and had not shown great results until this summer. But he states: “It’s night and day. A year ago I would have fallen in the second set probably, or probably played a match to where I knew physically I couldn’t last so I needed to change my tactics. I just simply don’t have to do that anymore.”

The question surrounding Mardy Fish is how can he rebound so quickly this summer and have the best results of his career? It may be his slimmed down figure or the rehabilitation on his knee, but we found something else that could be the answer: a winning secret weapon, the Power Balance silicone wristband (pictured below).

Hundreds of athletes in various sports are using Power Balance, and the company is stressing that the athletes wouldn’t be wearing them if they didn’t firmly believe in its benefits. Several NBA players stand behind the product, including Los Angeles Lakers’ Lamar Odom who wears one on each wrist. “I definitely feel a difference on the court when I wear the wristbands. It gives me more energy and balance when I’m on court.” Fish also recently started wearing one on each wrist and the results are fast coming. Power Balance bands feature a “performance technology using holograms embedded with frequencies that react positively with the body’s natural energy field to improve balance, strength and flexibility.” Check out Power Balance’s website and the numerous athlete testimonials advocating its benefits at http://www.powerbalance.com/ .

2. Over at the German Open Tennis Championships in Hamburg, first-time ATP winner Andrey Golubev took out Jurgen Melzer in 90 minutes, recording a 6-3, 7-5 win. Ranked 82 in the ATP rankings, he will move up to a career-high of 37. Golubev just turned 23 last week and celebrated by beating world number 6 Nikolay Davydenko. After his run to the finals in Saint Petersburg in 2008, he failed to win more than two matches in a row at any ATP level tournament and had only won eight matches this entire season before coming to Hamburg. This also marks the first time a player from Kazakhstan has won a title.

3. If you were anywhere near twitter this past week, then you could have come across the news that Juan Martin Del Potro was “expected” to defend his title at the US Open. News first broke out when a provisional entry list for the US Open came out with Del Potro’s name on it, after which the USTA claimed that the Argentine has begun hitting in preparation for the US Open. The fact that Del Potro’s name is on the provisional entry list should not be news. For Grand Slams, players are usually on this list until they officially pull out. Undoubtedly, this news was meant as promotion and marketing for the event but it was handled poorly by the USTA.

After several hours of back-and-forth communication between reporters, media and writers, a dependable source out of Argentina claimed to have spoken to Del Potro’s camp and was told that he was not hitting yet. Later that evening, Del Potro updated his twitter and addressed his return (via translation): “I haven’t picked up a racquet yet so I can’t tell an exact date. When I know I’ll tell you the news here. I’m improving, that’s a good thing.”

The same day, Del Potro’s kinesiologist spoke on ESPN Radio in Argentina and confirmed that Del Potro is slated to still come back at the Thailand Open in September, but most likely not in time for the US Open.

4. In a new partnership with the Andre Agassi Foundation, this week’s Farmers Classic tournament held a “Stars Under the Stars” gala in Los Angeles in preparation for the event this week. As part of the opening, Andre Agassi took on John McEnroe and defeated him 6-4, 6-2. Below are photos of their warm-up and post-match handshake.

This was followed by a celebrity showdown, consisting of Michael Chang and musician Gavin Rossdale beating out Jim Courier and comedian Jon Lovitz, 5-3. Laughs were exchanged as well as some great points between the players. Rossdale is married to fellow musician, Gwen Stefani. He may better be recognized in the tennis world as a friend and supporter of Roger Federer, having often been seen in Federer’s box at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

Tennis player, Tommy Haas with pregnant fiancè Sara Foster were among the spectators.

Clockwise from top left: Courier and Lovitz; Rossdale and Chang; Rossdale serving; Lovitz, Courier, Rossdale, Chang

ATP BONUS
The ATP catches up with James Blake as he answers questions posed by his Facebook fans. See what he has to say about Serena Williams, why he doesn’t shave his beard during tournaments and what he has in store for the future. http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2010/07/30/Blake-Facebook-Answers.aspx

That’s it for this week’s Debrief. Just stop by anytime you want a recap of the ATP tour. We’ve got you covered!

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

FEDERER’S ABU DHABI TENNIS MATCH

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Roger Federer posted this photo on the Facebook fan page of him hitting tennis balls the Yas Race Track in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.  The Yas track is the site of Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 race. Federer competed in the Capitala World Tennis Championships exhibition last week, losing to Robin Soderling in his first match, but defeating David Ferrer in a third-place match.

Agassi To Face Martin In Outback Champions Series Final In Surprise

SURPRISE, Ariz., Oct. 10, 2009 – Andre Agassi advanced into the final of the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise Saturday with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Wayne Ferreira of South Africa. Agassi, playing in his debut event on the Outback Champions Series tennis circuit, will face Todd Martin in Sunday’s final at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex. Martin advanced to the final with a 7-6 (3), 6-3 win over fellow American Aaron Krickstein in Saturday evening’s second semifinal.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise is the seventh and final event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.

Agassi jumped on Ferreira early and opened the match by breaking serve with a series of well-struck backhand returns. Agassi hit two aces in each of his next three service games and broke Ferreira again to close out the first set 6-3. Ferreira was able to break Agassi’s serve twice in the second set, but was unable to solidify his breaks with service holds and succumbed in straight sets.

“I was able to find my swing early which was really the key to the whole match,” said Agassi. “I served well and really was able to run away with the first set. I knew which shot I was going to hit and that’s such a huge difference to be able to do that. I played a few really good games to hold serve and things just got very comfortable.”

During their ATP careers, Agassi held an 11-0 career record against Ferreira, while losing only one set in their 11 meetings. Agassi’s final-round match with Martin will be a re-match of their five-set U.S. Open final 10 years ago in 1999.

Said Agassi of his 1999 U.S. Open win over Martin, “I think about that match a lot. It was a really good time in my life and that was a beautiful match.”

Martin needed only one service break to defeat Krickstein and advance into his 11th career Outback Champions Series final and his first of the 2009 season. After taking the first set in a tie-breaker, Martin registered the only service break of the match to take a 3-1 lead and held on to advance into the final.

“I served great tonight, especially in the tiebreaker,” said Martin. “He knows where I am vulnerable so serving well is important.”

Said Krickstein, “It was a one break match. Todd served extremely well and there’s not much you can do when that happens. He had 15 or 20 aces and was hitting a lot of corners. This match was all about the serve.”

Sunday’s order of play is as follows;
12pm
Wayne Ferreira vs. Aaron Krickstein – Third Place Match
Followed by
Andre Agassi vs. Todd Martin – Championship Match

John McEnroe won the inaugural event in 2008 in Surprise defeating Martin in the final. Ticket, travel and tournament information can be found by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

Pete Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Jim Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Arias in the final. Pat Cash successfully defended his title on the grass courts at the Hall of Fame Champions Cup in Newport, R.I. in August, defeating Courier in the final. Courier won his second title of the season in Charlotte in September, defeating Sampras in the final.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features seven events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Champions Rankings No. 1.

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent 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 Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events, corporate outings and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.

USTA Becomes Title Sponsor And Host Of USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships In 2010

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., September 5, 2009 – The USTA announced today a three-year sponsorship agreement with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association to become title sponsor of the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships and 88 USTA/ITA Regional Tournaments starting next year. Additionally, the USTA will host the 2010-12 USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

“This partnership with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association reinforces our commitment to college tennis and our efforts to create a complete competitive pathway for the USTA and American tennis,” said Patrick McEnroe, General Manager, USTA Player Development. “College varsity tennis is an integral part of the development process for the vast majority of American players.”

The ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships features a 32-player singles field and 16-team doubles field for men and women, including: champions from the 24 Division I ITA Regional Championships, the ITA National Small College champions, the winners of the ITA Men’s All-American Tennis Championships and ITA Women’s All-American Championships, and at-large and wild card selections made by the ITA National Tournament Committee.

“The ITA is delighted that our USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Singles and Doubles Championships will be sponsored by the USTA and hosted at the fabulous new indoor tennis facility at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center,” said David A. Benjamin, Executive Director, Intercollegiate Tennis Association. “The original Intercollegiate Tennis Championships were administered by the USTA at the turn of the 20th century, and it is wonderful to have this extraordinary event return to its historic roots in the first decade of the 21st century. We’re also excited to be the first national collegiate championship that will take place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and we know that all of our outstanding men and women varsity student-athletes will be thrilled to be competing on the same grounds as the past and current legends of the game.”

This USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Tennis Championships was inaugurated in 1978 for the men and 1984 for the women. Past champions and finalists include current professionals Benjamin Becker (Baylor), James Blake (Harvard), Bob and Mike Bryan (Stanford), Laura Granville (Stanford), John Isner (Georgia),Kevin Kim (UCLA), and Lisa Raymond (Florida). Big Ten legends and Grand Slam finalists Todd Martin (Northwestern) and MaliVai Washington (Michigan) are also among the past champions.

“This is an exciting and important step in the right direction for the USTA,” said 1999 US Open finalist Todd Martin, who won the 1990 ITA Intercollegiate Indoor singles title as a sophomore at Northwestern University. “College tennis was a critical step in my development as a player. When I won the ITA Indoors, it was the first sign that maybe I had what it took to make it on the pro tour.” and the USTA is smart to recognize that 99% of our juniors should be going to college not only to get a great education, but as part of the player development path to the pros.”

The USTA/ITA Regional Championships include varsity college tennis players from all NCAA Divisions as well as small colleges and junior colleges from across the country. In all, close to 10,000 players from nearly 600 schools participate annually in the ITA Regional Championships. A total of 88 host sites include 24 from the Division I level and 64 from the small college divisions nationwide.

The new USTA Player Development unit has been created to identify and develop the next generation of American champions by surrounding the top junior players and young pros with the resources, facilities and coaching they need to reach their maximum potential. The Player Development program is based at the USTA Training Facility in Boca Raton, Fla., and also utilizes the USTA West Coast Training Center in Carson, Calif. Last year, the USTA announced its first two Certified Regional Training Centers, in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., as part of its expanded efforts to develop future American tennis champions. The USTA expects to name approximately ten more Regional Training Centers over the next five years.

Field of Tennis Greats to join Andre Agassi in Surprise, Ariz.

NEW YORK, May 18, 2009 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment announced today the full field of players who will join Andre Agassi at the 2009 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships in Surprise, Ariz., to be played Oct. 8-11. Completing the eight-player field will be Hall of Famers Jim Courier and Mats Wilander, 2003 Wimbledon finalist Mark Philippoussis, 1992 Olympic silver medalist Wayne Ferreira, 1986 French Open finalist Mikael Pernfors and former U.S. Davis Cup standouts Aaron Krickstein and Jimmy Arias.

Tickets for the event, which will mark the Outback Champions Series tournament debut for Agassi, are on sale starting today and can be purchased at Ticketmaster, by calling 800.745.3000, on site at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex or by visiting www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships is one of eight events on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over. The tournament will be an eight-player, single-knock-out event with the winner earning $60,000.

During his 21-year ATP career, Agassi won 61 career singles titles, including two U.S. Open titles (1994, 1999), four Australian Open titles (1995, 2000, 2001, 2003), Wimbledon in 1992 and the French Open in 1999. He also won the Olympic Gold Medal in men’s singles in 1996 and helped the U.S. to victories in the Davis Cup in 1990, 1992 and 1995. Wilander, Philippoussis, Pernfors and Krickstein will all be making their first appearances in Surprise, while Courier, Ferreira and Arias will be competing in the event for the second straight year. At last year’s debut event in Surprise, John McEnroe won the singles title, defeating Todd Martin 3-6, 7-6 (3), (11-9 Champions Tie-Breaker) in the title match.

Pete Sampras won the opening event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series, defeating McEnroe in the final of the Champions Cup Boston in February. McEnroe won the second event of the year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, defeating Courier in the final. Sampras won his second title of the year at the Del Mar Development Champions Cup in Los Cabos, Mexico, defeating Patrick Rafter in the final. Courier won his first title of the 2009 season in April at the Cayman Islands, defeating Arias in the final. Newport, R.I. (August 20-23), Charlotte (Sept. 24-27) and Dubai, U.A.E. (Nov. 18-21) will also host Outback Champions Series events later this year.

Courier leads the current Stanford Champions Rankings on the Outback Champions Series with 2000 points, followed by Sampras with 1600 points and McEnroe with 1300 points. Arias sits at a career-high No. 4 Outback Champions Series ranking with 1050 points, followed by Pat Cash with 700 points at No. 5 and Philippoussis at No. 6 with 600 points. Wilander, Pernfors and Rafter are tied at No. 7 with 500 points, while Martin rounds out the top 10 with 400 points.

Founded in 2005, the Outback Champions Series features some of the biggest names in tennis over the last 25 years, including Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe, Courier and others. To be eligible to compete on the Outback Champions Series, players must have reached at least a major singles final, been ranked in the top five in the world or played singles on a championship Davis Cup team. The Outback Champions Series features eight events on its 2009 schedule with each event featuring $150,000 in prize money as well as Champions Series points that will determine the year-end Stanford Champions Rankings No. 1.

InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a New York City-based independent 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 Outback Champions Series, a collection of tennis events featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, charity events and tennis fantasy camps such as the annual “Ultimate Fantasy Camp”. Through 2008, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment events have raised over $4 million for charity. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com.