tennis league

Weekly Debrief: McEnroe vs Roddick. Yes You Read That Right!

This week has been exciting for the tennis world with announcements from players, a few Spanish winners sprinkled in between, and a match between Andy Roddick and John McEnroe. Yes, you read that right. Roddick vs. McEnroe. Let’s check out this week’s Top Moments in the Weekly Debrief.

Top Six

1. Thought we were done with the clay court season after Roland Garros? Think again. Two ATP tournaments were in full swing this week. First up, the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad saw its winner Nicolas Almagro triumph over defending champ and country hero Robin Soderling in a contested three-set battle. Almagro has proven he is an immense clay court player as he beat Soderling in Madrid in May of this year as well. But don’t expect him to be a big threat at the upcoming US hard court season as his biggest wins have been mostly on clay.

This photo of Almagro hoisting up the winner’s trophy as Soderling watches on is priceless.

2. Over in Stuttgart, Germany, the MercedesCup saw a less-than-stellar final as Gael Monfils was forced to retire against Albert Montanes with an ankle injury he sustained in the first set. Montanes’ name may sound familiar if you happened to catch him sending Federer crashing out of the Estoril Open earlier this spring in Portugal. Montanes not only won his fifth career title and a nice fat check for close to $94,000, but also a new Mercedes convertible, pictured below.

3. Across the Atlantic Ocean, World Team Tennis (WTT) was taking place all over the United States this past week. WTT is a professional coed tennis league that takes place during the summer months and typically lasts three weeks. Although some may argue that WTT doesn’t offer the high-caliber tennis we see at regular season tournaments, it’s nevertheless, a way of attracting fans on a more local-level. It offers intimate settings with tennis stars of old and new showcasing their skills as well as their personalities.

In the most interesting match-up to date, 51-year-old legend John McEnroe playing for the New York Sportime took on 27-year-old Andy Roddick playing for the Philadelphia Freedoms. The event took place just outside of New York City on Randall’s Island, the future site of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. Roddick himself even asked McEnroe if he could get a scholarship to train there.

Joking aside, Roddick and McEnroe took to the court and played a competitive set that saw Roddick come out on top winning 5-4 (5-4 in a sudden death 9-point tiebreaker). Once a point was in play, Roddick had sufficient problems putting McEnroe away, and McEnroe further exposed Roddick’s inability to pass him with his flat backhand. And while true that this is no five-set encounter, McEnroe’s quickness, precise volleys and pressure he is able to put on an opponent half his age even in today’s game is nothing short of brilliant. To follow WTT news and see if a match is being played in your city, check out: http://www.wtt.com/

McEnroe (white) and Roddick (black) played a WTT match on Randall’s Island, New York.

4. How would you like to go home $1.7 million wealthier? That’s the minimum worth of this year’s US Open winner’s check. That is an increase of nearly 7% from a year ago. With an additional $1 million possible bonus from winning the Olympus US Open Series, singles champions can walk away with a cool $2.7 million. In what amounts to be the biggest payout in tennis history, the tournament also saw an increase of its total purse to top $22.6 million. It’s good to a tennis player!

5. Swiss #2 and former top-10 player Stanislas Wawrinka formed a new coaching partnership with Peter Lundgren this week. Lundgren, himself reaching a ranking of 25 in singles in 1985, also has an extensive coaching resume including Marcelo Rios, Marat Safin, Marcos Baghdatis, and Grigor Dimitrov. Most impressively, he coached Roger Federer to win his first major title at Wimbledon in 2003. Lundgren had this to say on his new pairing with Wawrinka: “When I asked what he wanted help with, he said he wants to return to the top 10. It’s what you want to hear as a coach … I’m going to try to get Stan to become more aggressive.” The two will begin working together at the upcoming Gstaad event next week.

6. And in the most cheerful news of the week, Juan Martin del Potro may be expected to recover from his wrist surgery quicker than anticipated. Del Potro took the US Open by storm last September when he came back from almost two-sets down against Roger Federer to win the title in a tremendous battle. He has been securely planted in the top 10 even while playing only five tournaments since his breakthrough performance in New York last year. The star announced on his new twitter account that a post-surgery medical examination by his doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota showed positive strides: “The doctor is happy with the progress. Now we have to keep strengthening [the wrist] and then be ready for the racquet.”

Del Potro originally stated months ago that he would not be back until at least November, but he is now hopeful that he may be ready in time for Argentina’s Davis Cup semifinal against France in the week after the US Open. There is also speculation that he may even be ready to defend his title in Flushing Meadows: “Davis Cup is a good date for returning to the tour, I hope I can come back sooner,” del Potro stated last week.

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!

RODDICK TALKS WORLD TEAM TENNIS

Andy Roddick will play World Team Tennis for a sixth season this summer when he represents the Philadelphia Freedoms. Roddick, a Wimbledon finalist in 2009, talks to Harry Cicma, host of the New England Sports Network (NESN) television show “World Tennis with Harry Cicma” about his history of playing for the U.S.-based co-ed tennis league founded by Hall of Famer Billie Jean King in this video.

“World Tennis With Harry Cicma” is airing for a second season on the New England Sports Network (NESN) this year with five new shows that air on the third Saturday of each month from May through September. The thirty-minute television show with television personality Harry Cicma, features interviews and stories from the world of tennis, including one-on-one interviews with such stars as Venus and Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, John McEnroe, Ana Ivanovic and others.  In addition, the show will be available globally on the internet at www.WorldTennisMagazine.com and on the WorldTennisMagazine YouTube channel following its airing on NESN.

The New England Sports Network (NESN) is the flagship station for both the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins and is available on New England cable systems and nationally (in both standard definition and high definition through satellite TV providers DirectTV (Channel 628) and Dish Network (Channel 434). The Red Sox are a co-founder and majority owner (80 percent) of NESN with the Bruins owning the remaining 20 percent. NESN is delivered to over four million homes throughout New England and consistently receives higher ratings of any other national or regional sports channels in the region combined.

Nike introduces US Open Competition LOOKS for Serena williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal AND Maria Sharapova

BEAVERTON, Ore. (August 26, 2009) – As excitement builds for the season ending grand slam, NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) today unveiled its US Open apparel and footwear for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams at a Nike-built, regulation-sized tennis court in the heart of Manhattan.

At the temporary court, located at 23rd Street and Broadway, tennis fans and youth from New York Junior Tennis League, Athletes for Charity, New York City Parks Foundation and Mentoring USA were treated to inspirational tennis tips and guidance from Federer, Nadal, Williams, and McEnroe. A youth representative from each organization had a chance to win a donation for their local group by returning balls from a tennis simulator set to mimic pro shots. The chance to hit against the simulator was also open to the public.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring the thrill of the US Open directly to tennis fans in New York,” said tennis icon John McEnroe. “Providing a platform for kids to experience the beauty and power of this game and meet their tennis icons is incredible.”

On site, Nike also unveiled the much anticipated apparel and footwear looks for Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, and Maria Sharapova.

“We are very proud to raise the bar for this year’s US Open apparel and footwear collection by drawing inspiration from New York’s style and energy,” said Janice Lucena, Global Tennis Design Director. “From Nadal’s taxi cab yellow polo to the sleek sophistication of Maria and Serena’s night dresses, we continue to create product that helps our athletes perform better on the court while looking incredible.”

Apparel and Footwear
Roger Federer’s contemporary style is embodied in the details and craftsmanship of his US Open day and night looks. These looks are modern, consisting of bold red and black. Federer’s in-game polos are constructed of knit Nike Dri-FIT fabric in the body and a woven Nike Dri-FIT collar for comfort and moisture management. The body of the shirt has an embossed dot pattern inspired by the subway signs of New York, and the button placket features Roger’s black RF monogram logo, applied using bonded innovation and laser cut detailing.

As the 2008 US Open defending women’s singles champion, all eyes will be on Serena Williams as she looks to defend her title. Her day and night looks were inspired by cocktail party attire, with design call outs including soft pleating at the neckline, a starburst pin tuck detail at the back, and a hemline featuring a bold contrast of color. Both the magenta day dress and black night dress are made of Nike Dri-FIT knit fabric to wick away moisture and help keep Williams cool on the court.

Rafael Nadal has a contemporary style, and the energy of New York serves as the design inspiration for his apparel. Rafa is known for wearing bright colors and will debut a bold yellow and black look, inspired by the streets of New York City and its’ signature yellow taxi cabs. Also featuring a multi-row dot print across the chest, the polo is inspired by the colorful numeric subway signs of New York City. Nike Dri-FIT Mesh is incorporated in strategic places for breathability to keep Nadal cool.

Maria Sharapova is always closely involved in the design process for her apparel. Maria will wear two dresses at the Open, the first features a soft pink Dri-FIT knit body contrasted with electric yellow bonded seams. The dress features asymmetric lines that crossover to the back and create a sophisticated take on a traditional athletic racer-back style. Maria’s US Open warm-up jacket is a lightweight feminine ¾ sleeve length jacket with a ruffle at the collar and pleating along the waist and sleeve ends. Maria’s second on-court dress is inspired by the New York City skyline, and features a dramatic t-back style, keeping Maria’s shoulders free for the mobility she needs during play.