tennis competition

“What makes you run better?” Enter to win Roddick and Raonic signed merchandise

Want free merchandise signed by SAP Ambassadors Milos Raonic and Andy Roddick? Well, you’re in luck! SAP Sponsors is currently running a fun competition where people can submit a photo of something that helps them “run better” for a chance to win some signed merchandise by the ATP pros.

In answer to the question “What makes you run better?” it seems that Raonic admits it’s maple syrup. He’s Canadian, remember? But I wonder what Roddick’s answer would be …

Submissions can be made through the SAP Sponsors Facebook Page. Contest open now until April 1, so make sure to enter at the link above!

Thank you to SAP Sponsors for sharing the contest!

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“A Player’s Guide to USTA League Tennis” – Published by New Chapter Press

New Chapter Press announced the publication of the book “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” – a guidebook for competing in the U.S. Tennis Association League Tennis program or any team tennis competition.

Written by Tony Serksnis of Mountain View, Calif., who has more than 25 years of competing and 15 years of captaining tennis teams in USTA League Tennis play, A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis, is an engaging tutorial that explains the ins and outs of being on a tennis team and provides a blueprint for managing and competing within the team structure. The book also provides strategies, concepts and tips on everything from pre-match preparations to maintaining team chemistry. This is not a book on the “how to” of tennis strokes or play, but rather a blueprint for a team to operate effectively towards their goals. The book is a paperback that retails for $14.99.

Serksnis is a 25-year veteran of United States Tennis Association (USTA) League Tennis play and has participated on 53 different USTA League Tennis teams, playing in 343 total matches in 36 total leagues (Adult, Senior, Mixed) and has served as captain or co-captain of 15 league tennis teams. Serksnis began playing USTA League Tennis in 1985 as a 3.5-rated player and in 2009, at the age of 63, earned a 4.5 NTRP rating, making him one of the oldest players to ever be moved from a 4.0 to a 4.5 rating. A resident of Mountain View, Calif., he also serves as the President of the Mountain View Tennis Club.

“I am very proud to share my 25-years of experiences as a player, captain and astute observer of the USTA League Tennis program in this book,” said Serksnis. “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis allows participants of any level of play to understand what USTA League Tennis is all about. Whether you are new to USTA League Tennis, a seasoned-veteran, or a participant in any other type of team tennis, the book will be an excellent tool for how to get the most out of personally helping the team to achieve its goals, growing your own game and maximize your individual experience.”

USTA League Tennis, the country’s largest recreational tennis league, has more than 330,000 players nationwide competing in match play, meeting new people and enjoying the camaraderie of teammates in one of four national divisions (Adult, Senior, Super Senior and Mixed Doubles). Play is based on the NTRP rating system so players will play with and against players of similar ability age 18 and older. USTA League Tennis also offers players a chance to advance from local play to USTA League National Championship events.

A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis is published by New Chapter Press – also the publisher of Tennis Made Easy by Kelly Gunterman, Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), The Bud Collins History of Tennis by Bud Collins, The Education of a Tennis Player by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf (www.CliffRicheyBook.com), Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda (www.TheLennonProphecy.com), Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog by Susan Anson, The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle by Stewart Wolpin, People’s Choice Cancun – Travel Survey Guidebook by Eric Rabinowitz and Weekend Warriors: The Men of Professional Lacrosse by Jack McDermott, among others. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com.

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.

Around The Corner – Rogers Cup Gives Canada The Tennis Spotlight

For a land known more for its on-ice accomplishments than on-court, Canada boasts one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the history of the game. Third behind Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in terms of longevity, The Rogers Cup seems to get better year after year.

A quality field once again descends upon Toronto this summer led by world number one Rafael Nadal along with the always dangerous Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. All are former champions here in Canada and possess an almost-equal chance of hoisting the trophy again in 2010.

The tournament benefits from an excellent window in the ATP World Tour schedule that has been void of any major tennis competition since Wimbledon wrapped-up in early July. Nadal, Djokovic and Federer have all spent the past few weeks resting from match-play so it should be quite intriguing to see how they respond in their return to the court.

A change in surface should also provide some interesting results as the clay and grass court swings are now behind us. Once known more for his play on the dirt, Nadal has truly morphed into a master on every playing field as he mentioned on Friday at the tournament draw ceremony held atop the CN Tower.

“Sure I think I am a better player or more complete player now than in 2005 on every surface,” the Spaniard admitted. “If I play well I’m going to have the chance to have good results in every surface. If I play bad, on clay maybe I still have any chance, but on the rest of the surfaces I don’t have a chance to play at the top level. Yes I am more complete, but if I am not feeling at my best…it is going to be impossible because every match is difficult and the level between players is very close.”

That narrowing talent level between players has perhaps never been more distinguished than it is now. Joining the top four as legitimate threats this week are Andy Roddick, Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic.

Meanwhile, Canada will have a visible presence in the draw with the foursome of Frank Dancevic, Pierre-Ludovic Duclos, Peter Polansky and Milos Raonic all benefiting from wildcards.

Of the four, Dancevic has experienced the most success since turning pro as was most evident with his quarter-final run at the event in Montreal in 2007. That year he defeated Juan Martin Del Potro, Fernando Verdasco and took a set off Rafael Nadal before being defeated 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Health issues have side-tracked Dancevic’s progress, which peaked at 65th in the world in the fall of 2007. Recovering from back surgery kept him off the tour for the first six months of this year but since then he has reached the quarter-finals in Newport and made the semi-finals of the challenger event in Granby. A tough first round match against Stanislas Wawrinka looms but it is challenge Dancevic is equipped to handle.

While Canada has some limitations that may hinder the development of a strong contingent of players inside the top one hundred in the rankings, its fans will be out in full force to support the boys. The lack of suitable year-round outdoor weather, distractions from other sports such as hockey and lacrosse and the absence of a real big-gun to motivate youngsters might be part of the issue thwarting our own emergence on the world scene.

John McEnroe joked with me this past spring that Canada would have a top-ten player if tennis was played on ice. While I couldn’t help but chuckle at this slight jab at our tennis pride, I feel like the potential to realize tangible achievements is certainly on the horizon in our country.

A positive result from any of the four Canadians here in Toronto might just be the confidence boost that is needed for one of them to take that next step and it could also encourage the next Rafa Nadal to pick up a racquet within the boundaries of the true, north, strong and free.

The Friday Five: Pre-Mature Death Bells For Federer

By Maud Watson

Return of the King – It seems like only yesterday a sobbing Australian Open finalist Roger Federer had the critics convinced that his star was fading fast.  But after an amazing summer that saw him complete the career Grand Slam as well as break Pete Sampras’ record for most Grand Slam singles titles, it is evident the death knells on Federer’s career were premature.  Today, Federer’s star couldn’t be shining brighter, as with his three-set win over home favorite Andy Murray in the round robin competition of the ATP World Tour Finals, Federer became just the second man since Ivan Lendl to regain the year-end No. 1 ranking. So while Federer himself has declared he’s in the second half of his career, and although he is 5-6 years older than his fiercest competition, there’s no doubt that the Swiss maestro is still the man to beat.

Surprising Swede – Another player who is also enjoying himself at the ATP World Tour Finals is Swede Robin Soderling, who is making his premiere appearance in London thanks to the withdrawal of Andy Roddick through injury. Soderling has made the most of this golden opportunity, taking out both world No. 2 Rafael Nadal and world No. 3 Novak Djokovic in successive straight-set matches.  His dominant victories have made him the first player to qualify for the semifinals.

On the Mend – American Andy Roddick was spotted in the audience at the O2 Arena and was greeted by thunderous applause.  The American admits he’s envious of his fellow peers who are out there competing, but he does have some positive news. His knee is healing quicker than anticipated, and the doctor has given him the green light to start hitting the courts. Not only is the American optimistic of starting the New Year off right, but he’s also doing some serious talking about playing the 2012 Olympic Games. Roddick opted to sit out the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, but with his booming serve and the tennis competition of the 2012 London Games slated to be held at the All England Club, who could blame Roddick for relishing the opportunity to go for Olympic glory on those hallowed lawns?

He’s Ba-ack…Maybe – Remember that Spanish guy named Carlos Moya? It turns out that he hasn’t officially retired. Having recovered from surgery, the former world No. 1 is looking to play an exhibition in Buenos Aires in December. One of the most popular players on the tour, fans from all over the world will have high hopes that Moya will be able to put together another good year or two before hanging up the racquet.

Clothes Make the Man – While it was announced earlier this week that Andy Roddick was sticking with his current clothing sponsor Lacoste, Novak Djokovic has opted to switch from Adidas to Sergio Tacchini. It is a ten-year deal that Djokovic is eager to embark on, stating he is happy to join the Italian clothing company that once sponsored his idols John McEnroe and Pete Sampras. The Tacchini team must also be happy with the Djokovic catch, as currently the biggest names that wear the apparel are Tommy Robredo and Ivo Karlovic, and the last man to win a major while wearing the Sergio Tacchini duds was Juan Carlos Ferrero at the 2003 Roland Garros Championships.