USTA

USA Completes Historic Week By Winning Seven Titles At ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships

American teams had a historic week at the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla. as teams won seven of the nine titles at the 37th International Tennis Federation (ITF) Super-Seniors World Team Championships.  The women’s team swept the four women’s divisions and the men won three of five divisions, including the inaugural men’s 85-and-over division.

 

The tournament is the senior tennis equivalent of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions, with top American tennis players representing their country in the 65-, 70-, 75-, 80- and 85- and-over age groups. This is the first time that the event will feature the men’s 85-and-over division.  The ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships is the most prestigious team event on the ITF Seniors circuit.

 

The U.S. brought home the titles in the Kitty Godfree Cup (Women’s 65 & over), Althea Gibson Cup (Women’s 70 & over), Queens’ Cup (Women’s 75 & over) and Doris Hart Cup (Women’s 80 & over), Britannia Cup (Men’s 65 & over), Gardnar Mulloy Cup (Men’s 80 & over) and Men’s 85 Cup. This was the eighth consecutive year that the U.S. team triumphed in the Queens’ Cup, the third consecutive year for the Doris Hart Cup and marked the sixth Gardnar Mulloy Cup victory in the last seven years.

 

Following the ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships, the World Individual Championships will be held Oct. 14-21, also at the USTA National Campus.

 

Below is a list of players representing the United States in each competition and results:

 

Britannia Cup – Men’s 65 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Austria 2-1)

1. Larry Turville, Dunnellon, Fla., Captain

2. Paul Wulf, Salem, Ore.
3. David Sivertson, Addison, Texas
4. Leonard Wofford, Portland, Ore.

 

Jack Crawford Cup – Men’s 70 & over – Result: Fifth place (draw with Canada)

1. Michael Beautyman, Flourtown, Pa.

2. Leslie Buck, Asheville, N.C.
3. Jimmy Parker, Santa Fe, N.M., Captain
4. Dean Corley, Aliso Viejo, Calif.

 

Bitsy Grant Cup – Men’s 75 & over – Result: Fifth place (USA def. Germany 2-1)

1. Fred Drilling, Estero, Fla.   

2. Joseph Bachmann, Sarasota, Fla., Captain

3. Rudy Hernando, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

4. Ivo Barbic, Atlanta

 

Gardnar Mulloy Cup – Men’s 80 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Austria 2-1)

1. Lester Sack, New Orleans, Captain

2. King van Nostrand, Vero Beach, Fla.
3. Gordon Hammes, Naples, Fla.

4. Jerald Hayes, Westfield, Ind.

Men’s 85 Team Cup – Men’s 85 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Canada 2-1)

1. John D. Powless, Madison, Wisc., Captain

2. George J. McCabe, Oxford, Ohio

3.  Joseph Russell, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

4. Clement Hopp, Sarasota, Fla.

 

Kitty Godfree Cup – Women’s 65 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Austria 2-1)

1. Tina Karwasky, Glendale, Calif. 

2.  Wendy McClosky, Durham, N.C.

3.  Molly Hahn, Belmont, Mass., Captain

4.  Victoria McEvoy, Cambridge, Mass.

 

Althea Gibson Cup – Women’s 70 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Netherlands 2-1)

1.  Brenda Carter, Charleston, S.C., Captain
2. Carol Clay, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
3.  Leslie Pixley, Malvern, Pa.
4.  Susan Kimball, Oak Bluffs, Mass.

 

Queens’ Cup – Women’s 75 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Great Britain 2-1)

1. Charleen Hillebrand, Harbor City, Calif.
2. Cathie Anderson, Del Mar, Calif.
3. Suella Steel, La Jolla, Calif., Captain
4. Susanne Clark, New City, N.Y.

 

Doris Hart Cup – Women’s 80 & over – Result: CHAMPION (USA def. Canada 2-1)

1. Roz King, San Diego, Calif.
2. Doris DeVries, Reno, Nev.
3. Carol Wood, Rockville, Md., Captain
4. Burnette Herrick, Tarboro, N.C.

 

Tennis fans and players can read more about senior tennis in the new book “Sport of a Lifetime – Enduring Personal Stories From Tennis” written by long-time tennis enthusiast Judy Aydelott.

Featuring enriching and motivational stories about those who love and participate in tennis over the age of 35, “Sport of a Lifetime” is a volume of senior tennis through the stories and experiences of players from across the tennis spectrum – from late bloomers to seasoned champions. The book features 28 chapters of personal stories, including those of high profile players and personalities such as three-time Wimbledon champion John Newcombe, current U.S. Tennis Association and former WTA Tour player Katrina Adams and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, as well as little-known but inspiring players such as Tony Franco, who has won 44 USTA national championships since age 75, and Betty Eisenstein, who won tournament titles into her 90s.

The book also features one of the last interviews ever given by International Tennis Hall of Famer and celebrated senior tennis champion Gardnar Mulloy before his death in 2016 as well as the riveting story of how Fred Kovaleski balanced playing international tennis while being a spy for the Central Intelligence Agency.

“Sport of a Lifetime” is available for sale and download wherever books are sold, including here on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559645/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_s7AizbEES0ZD3

Aydelott, a resident of Katonah, N.Y., is a graduate of Abbot Academy in Andover Mass., from Smith College and from Pace University School of Law. She became a trial attorney in the field of medical malpractice, a legal analyst for Court TV, a candidate for U.S. Congress in 2006 and a director of a NYS chartered commercial bank. A tennis late-comer starting in her twenties, Aydelott is married to former Dartmouth tennis standout Gordon Aydelott and also documents their personal story of her and her husband’s life and passion for tennis in the book.

Said 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee and author of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” Steve Flink, “Here is a book that must be read by everyone who celebrates the best of all lifetime sports. Judy Aydelott has reached out to both renowned players and those who are less well known, and the common thread that runs across the pages is the enduring passion they all have for tennis. Yet Aydelott’s superb and poignant book transcends tennis; it is equally about the larger game of life.”

Rosie Casals Honored With USTA President’s Award

The USTA has announced that former American tennis player and pioneer of the women’s professional game Rosie Casals has been honored with the 2017 United States Tennis Association’s President’s Award. Casals was honored at the USTA Semi-Annual Meeting earlier this month in New York City.

 

Born and raised in San Francisco, Casals is the daughter of parents who immigrated to the United States from El Salvador. By age 16, Casals became a top junior player in Northern California, and at age 17 she was ranked No. 11 in the United States.

 

Casals rose to No. 3 in the world in singles in 1970, and throughout her more than two-decade career, she won 12 major doubles and mixed doubles championships, played for the US Open singles title in 1970 and 1971, amassed 595 wins in singles and 508 in doubles, and was ranked among the world’s Top 10 players in 12 seasons.

 

Casals and Billie Jean King forged a partnership at the Berkeley Tennis Club in 1964. From 1966 to 1975, Casals and King won seven major doubles titles and were finalists seven other times. At Wimbledon, Casals and King won five championships (1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973). In singles, Casals was a French Open finalist in 1968, 1970 and 1982, and she advanced to the Australian Open final in 1971. Casals and King are the only doubles team in history to win the U.S. Championships/US Open on all three surfaces.

 

Casals is currently involved with the NJTL Coachella Valley and coaches American junior Taylor Johnson.

 

“Rosie has been a motivating force behind the positive changes and progress in women’s tennis,” said Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “Her love for tennis reaches beyond the courts and translates into her continuous efforts fighting for rights of professional and women players. Rosie’s legacy and advocacy will never stop inspiring today’s youth to become the next great generation of American tennis players.”

 

The President’s Award honors an individual who has given unusual and extraordinary service to the sport of tennis in the public’s interest. Since its inception in 1999, award recipients have included Billie Jean King, Lindsay Davenport, Mary Joe Fernandez, Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, and United States Army veteran and tennis photographer Benjamin Woods.

 

US Open Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary of Being Green

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Green Initiative program at the 2017 US Open. Since its inception in 2008, the US Open Green Initiative has expanded each year to continuously make environmentally-sustainable choices that reduce the impact the US Open has on the environment.

In this, the 10th year of the program, 90 percent of US Open waste will be diverted from landfills, 12,000 gallons of kitchen grease will be recycled into biodiesel fuel, and more than 60 tons of organic waste from US Open kitchens will be composted.

Since 2008, the US Open has reduced its greenhouse emissions by 94,000 metric tons through waste diversion, recycled paper use, carbon offsets, and renewable energy certificates. This includes the diversion of more than 3,400 tons of waste and the recycling of nearly 2.6 million plastic bottles. The US Open has obtained enough renewable energy credits to provide electricity to 1,600 homes for an entire year and has donated more than 100 tons of food to local communities.

In addition, as the USTA continues its strategic transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, green building choices are incorporated into each step of the process, demonstrated by the LEED certification of the Grandstand Stadium and Transportation Building. The new Louis Armstrong Stadium, set to debut in 2018, is on track to be LEED certified for the 2018 US Open.

More than 95 percent of the waste from the demolition of both the original Grandstand and Louis Armstrong Stadiums was recycled. The new Louis Armstrong Stadium will use 40 percent less water through waterless urinals and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Landscaping around the new stadium has been designed to use 55 percent less water and the stadium, as a whole, has been designed to consume 25 percent less energy.

In collaboration with environmental consultant, eco evolutions, initiatives for 2017 include:

Waste Diversion

  • The USTA will recycle cardboard, plastics, glass and metals collected throughout the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
  • More than 60 tons of food waste will be collected from the kitchens to be turned into compost for landscape and farming uses.
  • The USTA will collect the 45,000 tennis balls used during the matches and player practices to reuse in USTA tennis programs and donate to various community and youth organizations nationwide.
  • Following the US Open, approximately 15,000 tennis ball cans are recycled.
  • From the kitchens at the US Open, approximately 12,000 gallons of food grease will be collected to convert into biodiesel fuel.
  • Unused food will be donated to the community.

Recycled Paper

  • More than 90% of the paper products, including the 2.4 million napkins in the general concession area will be made of recycled materials and/or compostable materials.
  • All US Open-related printed materials (US Open media guide, marketing collateral, tickets and the Daily Drawsheet, among others) are composed of at least 30 percent post-consumer waste.
  • US Open tickets are printed on paper comprised of 30 percent post-consumer waste, and parking books, parking visors and coupon books are printed on paper made up of 10-15 percent post-consumer waste.
  • All paper towel dispensers have been replaced with motion-sensor dispensers and all paper towels are comprised of 40 percent post-consumer waste.
  • Paper use is reduced through electronic communications to players, media and fans, and players have access to a player’s-only web portal.

Transportation

  • Carbon offsets are acquired for the estimated miles players travel by air as well as the miles they travel on the ground to get to the US Open.
  • Carbon offsets are also acquired for the estimated 800,000 vehicle miles traveled by employees to work at the US Open.

Energy

  • Champion Energy, the US Open’s energy supplier, is donating Green-e certified Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset the electricity consumed during the 2017 US Open.
  • Carbon emissions from player travel and on site fuel use will be offset with the purchases of Green-e Climate Carbon Offsets.

Green Cleaning

  • Vendors are provided with a US Open Green Cleaning Policy specifying preferred cleaning products to be used during the US Open.

Site renovations and expansion

  • The stadium lights throughout the NTC have been replaced with LED lights which will reduce energy use by 50 percent.
  • Water refilling stations have been added to the site to encourage waste minimization by reducing single use water bottle.
  • As part of recent renovations at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the USTA has incorporated green building design elements (such as water efficient fixtures, recycling of construction waste, low emitting paints and sealants, recycled materials, efficient lighting and HVAC systems). To facilitate this process, the USTA has become members of the United Sates Green Building Council as of August 2013 and achieved LEED certification for the newest Grandstand Stadium and Transportation building. We are currently pursuing LEED certification for the new Armstrong Stadium.

Merchandising

  • At the US Open Collection merchandise locations, fans will receive with their purchase a US Open souvenir-style shopping bag designed for multiple-use.
  • The US Open Collection will include environmentally friendly items including a reusable tote made from 80 percent post-consumer waste, cinch bags constructed from recycled bottles and 100 percent recycled post-consumer and post-industrial paper product.

Fan Awareness

  • US Open Green Initiatives are featured in the official US Open Program.
  • Environmental tips are featured in the Daily Drawsheet as well as communicated through US Open social media channels. Labels on waste bins to educate fans on waste diversion program.
  • Signage on paper towel dispensers to remind fans to use only what they need.​
  • Signs in kitchens to educate staff on proper recycling and composting procedures.

Food

  • 20 percent of produce used during the Open is from local farms.

USTA Donates $500,000 To Hurricane Harvey Relief

The USTA announced that it has donated $500,000 as part of its initial contributions toward immediate Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, with additional funds to come from on-site fundraising at the US Open – including efforts involving five-time US Open champion Jimmy Connors – and future donations to aid those affected by the storm.

 

On site at the US Open, five-time champion Jimmy Connors is participating in a campaign to raise relief funds through signing autographs and taking photos with fans, all while encouraging them to donate. The USTA will match any funds raised by Connors and will ensure it is all donated directly to the Red Cross for Harvey relief.

 

Fans at the US Open have also been encouraged to donate to the Red Cross through advertisements of a 1-800 number, a text-to-donate system and RedCross.com, which have appeared on the video boards in all four stadiums and throughout the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s grounds.

 

The USTA has also worked with ESPN to develop messaging for on-screen graphics and other programming encouraging US Open viewers to donate to Harvey relief, including a PSA featuring players John Isner, Madison Keys and Sam Querrey.

 

Following the $500,000 immediate donation, the USTA will work with the USTA Texas Section to allocate future funds toward upgrades needed for storm-affected tennis facilities.

 

The USTA Foundation, the national charitable arm of the USTA, is also working with Wilson through its “Ultra Aces” program, in which Wilson will donate $200 to the Foundation for every ace during the tournament hit by a player using Wilson’s new Ultra racket, to direct all of that donation money toward Harvey relief.

 

“Everyone in Houston affected by Hurricane Harvey is in the hearts and minds of the tennis world in New York,” said Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO and President. “Our support has to be both immediate and ongoing, and we encourage everyone to contribute to the efforts to help Houston and assist those whose lives were affected by the storm.”

 

James Blake, Luke Jensen, Vince Spadea and Jan-Michael Gambill To Play Forest Hills Friday

Former standout tennis professionals James Blake, Luke Jensen, Vince Spadea and Jan-Michael Gambill will compete in a special one-day tennis tournament Friday, August 25 starting at 4:00 pm at the historic West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills in Queens, New York as part of the club’s 125-year celebration.

The tennis matches are part of a day-long celebration at the club, the long-time former home of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships and the site of the most ever U.S. Davis Cup matches. The public has the opportunity to play on the famed grass tennis courts, watch the pro tennis matches and a special anniversary ceremony at the Forest Hills Stadium, followed by a Gala dinner with entertainment and dancing.

Blake, the former world No. 4 and member of the 2007 championship winning U.S. Davis Cup team, will play Gambill, the former world No. 14 and also a former member of the U.S. Davis Cup team, in the first semifinal match at 4:00 pm. It will be followed by Spadea, the two-time U.S. Olympic team member and former world No. 18, taking on Jensen, the charismatic winner of the 1994 French Open doubles title, in the second semifinal. The winners of each semifinal will then compete in a championship match. Each match will consist of one FAST-4 set, first to four games, no-ad scoring and a tie-breaker at three games all.

Following the tennis, fans will also be able to stay for a special 125-year anniversary ceremony featuring USTA President Katrina Adams and International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin. The legacies of Jack Kramer, a two-time U.S. singles champion, and Maureen Connolly, the second player to win the “Grand Slam” of tennis in 1953, will also be honored with a banner raising ceremony at the famed Forest Hills Stadium, the site of their greatest triumphs, with each family being represented.

Tickets for the tennis tournament and the Anniversary ceremony – that includes an Open Bar – are $100, with $50 being a tax-deductible contribution to the West Side Tennis Club Foundation, the non-profit organization that helps introduce tennis to children and the physically challenged while also preserving the history of the West Side Tennis Club.. A $250 ticket ($125 tax-deductible) includes play on the grass tennis courts starting at 2 pm, including the tennis and ceremony viewing, and the Gala Dinner starting at 7:30. To order tickets, go to www.WSTCFoundation.org or by calling the West Side Tennis Club front desk at 718 268 2300.

The West Side Tennis Club was founded in 1892, then located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The private club moved to its current location in Forest Hills in 1913, where it hosted the U.S. National Tennis Championships (known as the modern-day U.S. Open since 1968) from 1915 until 1977. In addition the club has hosted a total of 16 U.S. Davis Cup ties, more than any other facility. The club features 38 tennis courts featuring four different court surfaces – grass, hard, red clay and Har-Tru – including the 13,000-seat Forest Hills Stadium that is now a popular concert venue. The club also features a junior Olympic-size pool, paddle tennis courts and its famous Tudor-style clubhouse. For more information on the club, including membership information, go to www.ForestHillsTennis.com

Inspiring Senior Tennis Players Profiled In New Book “Sport of a Lifetime – Enduring Personal Stories From Tennis”

New Chapter Press announced the release of the book “Sport of a Lifetime – Enduring Personal Stories From Tennis” written by long-time tennis enthusiast Judy Aydelott.

Featuring enriching and motivational stories about those who love and participate in tennis over the age of 35, “Sport of a Lifetime” is a volume of senior tennis through the stories and experiences of players from across the tennis spectrum – from late bloomers to seasoned champions. The book features 28 chapters of personal stories, including those of high profile players and personalities such as three-time Wimbledon champion John Newcombe, current U.S. Tennis Association and former WTA Tour player Katrina Adams and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, as well as little-known but inspiring players such as Tony Franco, who has won 44 USTA national championships since age 75, and Betty Eisenstein, who won tournament titles into her 90s.

The book also features one of the last interviews ever given by International Tennis Hall of Famer and celebrated senior tennis champion Gardnar Mulloy before his death in 2016 as well as the riveting story of how Fred Kovaleski balanced playing international tennis while being a spy for the Central Intelligence Agency.

“Sport of a Lifetime” is available for sale and download wherever books are sold, including here on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937559645/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_s7AizbEES0ZD3

Aydelott, a resident of Katonah, N.Y., is a graduate of Abbot Academy in Andover Mass., from Smith College and from Pace University School of Law. She became a trial attorney in the field of medical malpractice, a legal analyst for Court TV, a candidate for U.S. Congress in 2006 and a director of a NYS chartered commercial bank. A tennis late-comer starting in her twenties, Aydelott is married to former Dartmouth tennis standout Gordon Aydelott and also documents their personal story of her and her husband’s life and passion for tennis in the book.

Said 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee and author of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All Time” Steve Flink, “Here is a book that must be read by everyone who celebrates the best of all lifetime sports. Judy Aydelott has reached out to both renowned players and those who are less well known, and the common thread that runs across the pages is the enduring passion they all have for tennis. Yet Aydelott’s superb and poignant book transcends tennis; it is equally about the larger game of life.”

Said Renee Richards, 1977 U.S. Open women’s doubles runner-up, “Judy Aydelott’s stories of senior tennis players, where they came from, where they’ve been – from World War II stories of Gardnar Mulloy and Mayor David Dinkins to the high jinks of the Australian legends, John Newcombe, Roy Emerson and Owen Davidson, to the tales of ‘The Saw Mill Boys’ – are a must read for all tennis players and would-be tennis players. You’ll laugh; you’ll be moved; you’ love this book.”

Said Ivan Lendl, three-time French and U.S. Open champion, “Sport of a Lifetime is a great read for tennis players and non-players alike. A terrific collection of life lessons.”

Said Nancy Richey, former French and Australian women’s singles champion, “My friend Judy Aydelott has authored a great book for serious tennis fans! A nice trip down memory lane – an inspiring read!”

Said Tim Mayotte, 1988 Olympic silver medalist, “This book is filled with entertaining personal stories filled with humor, adventure and an appreciation for the Sport of a Lifetime.”

Said Chuck Kinyon, former Dartmouth men’s tennis coach, “I greatly enjoyed reading Judy’s book. The cast of characters is diverse. As they progressed through their lives, the importance of being able to accept what comes their way and to learn and build as they moved on life’s path were shown to be essential over and over again. As a lifetime activity, tennis can bring great rewards on the court, but even greater lifetime bonuses and relationships off the courts.  Each individual is different and the stories are uplifting. A must read for tennis players and anyone interested in how people achieve happiness and stature as their lives evolve.”

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “How To Permanently Erase Negative Self Talk So You Can Be Extraordinary” by Emily Filloramo, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer, “The Days of Roger Federer” by Randy Walker, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com), “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.

Jay Berger – The Man With The Back-Scratch Serve

The following is a chapter excerpt on Jay Berger from Sandy Harwitt’s book “The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time” (for sale here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/193755936X/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_RIZZyb1KGTC5C

It sounds very cliched to say, but nonetheless is very true: Trying to catch up with Jay Berger is like trying to hit a moving target.

Jay is here, there and everywhere, which is not that surprising considering that since 2008 he’s served as the USTA Head of Men’s Tennis. Trying to develop talent is no easy or part-time responsibility. It was never that Berger wasn’t amenable to chat about himself, his life in tennis, and his relationship to Judiasm. It’s just he’s one guy trying to be in a multitude of places at the same time. Just watching him traverse a Grand Slam tournament with American players — pros and juniors alike — on courts peppered around the grounds is dizzying to the observer.

Finally, during a relatively mundane work week at the USTA’s Boca Raton training facility, Jay phoned, first offering apologies for being so hard to pin down, and then with the good news that he had some time to talk – right then and there.

“You’re in a car,” the question was posed, but not needed since the background noise betrayed Berger’s whereabouts. He laughed, “Yes.” The response: “Perfect, you’re a captive audience then.” Jay patiently waited as the tape system was turned on and then spent some quality time telling his story.

Jay was born in Fort Dix, New Jersey, but relocated with his family to South Florida where Jay grew up and initially facilitated his own interest in tennis.

“I started playing tennis on my seventh birthday,” said Berger, the son of a dentist. “I got $10 from my grandmother and I went out to Walmart and bought an Emerson racket. I started by hitting balls in the street with my dad.”

Berger quickly upgraded from the road in front of his house to a tennis court, playing at Center Court, a club in Sunrise, Fla., where standout doubles star Robert Seguso also played. A half year into owning that Emerson racket and Jay was taking a once-a-week tennis lesson and by eight he was starting to play 10-and-under tournaments.

“I was dropped off at the courts at eight in the morning and picked up at five o’clock,” said Berger, thinking about how he developed as a youngster. “I would just try to find people to play with. I’d just hang out at the courts at the club all day. I’d play with anyone I could find.”

Back in Berger’s time, there were so many quality juniors in South Florida alone that a player had all the competition they needed to improve while living a more traditional childhood. Part of Jay’s normal childhood routine was attending Hebrew School and being Bar Mitzvah’ed.

Of growing up, Berger said, “Judiasm was definitely part of my life and who I was.”

He remembered that his dad donated money to the Israel Tennis Center. Nowadays, however, Berger says, “Not so much,” when asked if he’s active within the Jewish community. His wife, Nadia, isn’t Jewish and they haven’t raised their four children in the religion.

“There was definitely a sense of who the other players were who were Jewish and I think there probably still is,” Berger admitted. “You know, when I see (Israeli tennis player) Dudi Sela I think he knows who I am and I know who he is — there’s definitely some recognition.”

From the time Berger was 12-years-old to throughout his pro career his main coach was Jorge Paris. But he also was fortunate enough from his mid-teens to pick the brains of tour players Brian Gottfried and Harold Solomon. Solomon would frequently hit with Berger, but it was Gottfried who would become a vital mentor and coach. Besides for Berger, Gottfried worked at the same time with Aaron Krickstein, Jimmy Arias and Greg Holmes.

“I was lucky at 16 to start training with Brian Gottfried,” Berger said. “Brian was a huge influence in my life, my pro career. I couldn’t have a better transition to the pros than with someone like Brian, who was such a consummate professional. In a different way, Harold was also an influence.”

In 1985, Berger made quite a splash in the juniors, winning the USTA Boys’ 18s Clay Court and USTA Boys’ 18s Hardcourt titles. The latter, more commonly known as Kalamazoo, comes with a special prize to the victor every year – a wildcard into the upcoming U.S. Open. Still an amateur, the No. 730th-ranked Berger, who had only ever played one pro tournament prior to the U.S. Open — losing a first-round match in Boston that summer — made great value of that U.S. Open wildcard. He journeyed to the fourth round, where he fell in four sets to Yannick Noah. To reach that fourth round, however, Berger upset Brian Teacher, the 1980 Australian Open champion, in a four-setter in the third round. The big joke about Berger at that U.S. Open was that this unknown junior and his family had to keep checking back into the swank St. Moritz Hotel on Central Park South every time he’d win his match. No other Kalamazoo champion has fared better as Berger did at that U.S. Open in the Open Era.

In today’s world, Berger would’ve probably taken that fourth-round appearance as a sign he was ready for the real world: the pros. But in those days, juniors went on to college and that’s exactly what Berger did. He enrolled at Clemson University, where he spent two years and received All-American honors before joining the pro tour.

During his career, Berger won three titles (Buenos Aires in 1986, Sao Paulo in 1988 and Charleston in 1989). He ended the 1989 season with a year-end best ranking of No. 10, enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 7 in April of 1990. His best results at the Grand Slams was reaching two quarterfinals — at the 1989 French and U.S. Opens. He also represented the United States in Davis Cup, winning both singles matches he played.

“For me, the highlight was playing Davis Cup, without a doubt,” Berger said. “That’s something I always dreamed of being part of and is one of my greatest memories. Obviously, making it to the Top 10 was something I’m not sure I ever thought I’d be able to do. Getting to the quarterfinals of a couple of Grand Slams would be some of my highlights. And getting to the semifinals at the Lipton (Key Biscayne) at home in front of friends and family was exciting.”

During his career, Berger claimed a number of victories against top players, including Mats Wilander, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Boris Becker. In fact, when he upset Becker 6-1, 6-1 in the Indian Wells third round, en route to the semifinals, it would turn out to be the worst defeat Becker would suffer during his stellar career.

“Really, when I look back on my career I think the thing that is nice is that I did everything I could to be the best player I could become,” Berger said. “I was known by my peers to be a great competitor, somebody who was pretty fierce on the court. You know, it’s great to be able to look back and have no regrets in the way I went about my tennis and I think that’s what it’s all about.”

Berger would be the first to admit that although he was a top 10 guy his American compatriots, such as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, kept him from being a major focal point in the game. However, there is one notable, quirky style to his game that many fans remember clearly. Berger had a unique service motion where he did away with the normal backswing motion of a serve. When he got in position to serve, his starting point was with the racket located behind his back — almost as if he was using it as a back scratcher.

“My serve developed — the first time I ever used it I was 16-years-old and I was playing the 16-and-unders at Kalamazoo,” Berger said. “I was going to graduate high school a little bit ahead so that was the year that college coaches were going to be looking to recruit me because I was going to graduate at 17. In my first round match I pulled a muscle very badly — my chest muscles — and the only way I could’ve continued the tournament was to continue serving in a half motion. I served some of the best tennis I ever served.

“That was the first time I ever used that serve,” Berger continued. “When I went to college my first year I was having a lot of shoulder issues and I also wasn’t serving that great – it was probably the weakest part of my game. So I just decided to try the serve again and it just worked better for me so I stuck with it and never went back.”

Upon his retirement, Berger went into coaching and spent some time as a coach at the University of Miami. In 2003, he joined the USTA national coaching staff, working to help current players and assist in identifying talent for the future. Berger believed his path after playing the pros was to pursue coaching as it would fulfill his desire to give back to the game he loved.

“I find it extremely satisfying at times, sometimes not as satisfying, but overall I really enjoy what I do,” Berger said. “I do love learning about tennis. I enjoy trying to become as good as I can as a coach. I don’t feel like I go to work every day. I feel like I get to follow my passion.”

“The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players Of All Time” is a guide to the best and most influential Jewish tennis players in the history of the sport and includes features and biographies of the greatest players, stories of both break-out success and anti-Semitism. Beginning with the Italian Baron Umberto de Morpurgo in the 1920s, the book features stories such as the best German player who was prevented from playing by the Nazis, the player who competed on both the men’s and women’s tour, the only fully Jewish player to rank No. 1 in the world, and the player who was denied entry into a country to play a Women’s Tennis Association tournament—in the 21st century. This history also discusses the ways in which Jewish individuals have been instrumental behind the scenes, playing key roles in the growth of tennis into one of the world’s most popular sports. Among the 37 players featured are Dick Savitt, Brian Teacher, Ilana Kloss, Aaron Krickstein, Brad Gilbert, Julie Heldman, Amos Mansdorf, Anna Smashnova, Justin Gimelstob, Angela Buxton and Brian Gottfried. The book retails for $19.95 and is available where books are sold, including here on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/193755936X/ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_vl8rub1RK7P00

“Tennis does have its ‘Game, Set and Matzo’ element and I am thrilled to present them in ‘The Greatest Jewish Tennis Players of All Time,’” said Harwitt. “Each player’s personal saga will touch all tennis fans, Jewish or not, because their stories are instrumental to the history of the game. The experience writing this book was an exciting and rewarding adventure in discovering many fascinating stories.”

Harold Solomon, who is also profiled in the book, contributed the foreword to the book. “You don’t need to be Jewish to appreciate the story of any of these Jewish tennis players,” wrote Solomon. “You just have to be someone who has a curious side and likes to learn about people and how they ended up being who they are and doing what they did.”

Gottfried, the 1977 French Open singles finalist, said of Harwitt, “Who better to write a story about the lives of Jewish tennis players than someone who has ‘been there and done that.’ Sandy has been a fixture on the ATP and WTA Tour for many decades as a very knowledgeable and respected tennis journalist. My family and I have enjoyed getting to know her over the years and being included in her book has been an honor and a privilege.”

Peter Bodo of Tennis.com said, “Sandy Harwitt is a deeply experienced and well-traveled writer, which brings to this book a special stamp of authority. It isn’t just a good book about Jewish tennis players – it’s a good tennis book, period.”

U.S. Davis Cup captain and former world No. 1 Jim Courier said, “Sandy has lived and breathed the sport for years. Her detail and insight into these players personal and professional lives is both remarkable and inspiring.”

Tennis writer and historian Joel Drucker said, “Dozens of Jewish men and women have made a distinctive mark on tennis. Longstanding tennis writer Sandra Harwitt has dug deep to bring these compelling stories to life – fascinating backstories and remarkable journeys both inside and outside the lines.”

Television commentator and former player Mary Carillo said, “Sandy Harwitt is the ideal writer to bring you the lives of the people in this book. She is a true tennis “lifer” and her love and knowledge of the game has produced one remarkable story after another, about tennis players you knew, or wish you knew.”

Harwitt, a freelance sportswriter who specializes in tennis, has covered more than 70 Grand Slam tournaments for media outlets such as the Associated Press, ESPN.com, ESPNW.com, the Miami Herald, the New York Times, and Tennis magazine. She is a member of the International Tennis Writers’ Association and the Association for Women in Sports Media. She lives in Boca Raton, Florida.

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “The Days of Roger Federer” by Randy Walker, “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Secrets of Spanish Tennis” by Chris Lewit, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com), “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.

Young American Vasil Kirkov Falls In U.S. Open Qualifying

By Randy Walker

@TennisPublisher

 

Vasil Kirkov, the 17-year-old who reached the semifinals as a lucky loser in the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships USTA Futures event earlier this year in Vero Beach, Florida, competed in the qualifying rounds of the 2016 U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center.

Kirkov, however, suffered an early exit, falling 6-2, 7-5 in the first scheduled match of the competition to No. 242-ranked Yannik Reuter of Belgium.

Kirkov, ranked No. 1146, played the match on Court No. 5 – the shadow of the new Arthur Ashe Stadium retractable roof – in front of an audience of about 200 people that included U.S. Olympic men’s tennis coach Jay Berger, former US Davis Cup Captain Tom Gullikson and Hallof Famer – and Vero Beach resident – Ivan Lendl, who works with Kirkov as part of his advisory role with the USTA Player Development program.

Kirkov was awarded a wild card entry into the U.S. Open qualifying tournament by the U.S. Tennis Association after, not only his strong result in Vero Beach, that saw his ATP ranking rise almost 1000 spots, but by reaching the final of the USTA National Boy’s 18 Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., where he lost to another Vero Beach Futures alumnus Michael Mmoh.

Kirkov is expected to compete in the U.S. Open junior championships in two weeks.

Rubin Posts Australian Open Upset Over Sour-Grapes Paire

By Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Noah Rubin of the United States registered the upset of the day on the opening day of the 2016 Australian Open as the No. 328 ranked rookie pro knocked out the No. 17 seed Benoit Paire of France, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6.

The match was very tight throughout as neither player gave the other many opportunities to get a lead, each player was only broken three times in the match, forcing each set to go into a tiebreak. Rather surprisingly, Rubin was the one who was able to keep his composure in the big moments and take each of the three tiebreaks using his incredible speed and defense to frustrate Paire. The Frenchman was unable to break through Rubin on the important points, seeing him fall in straight sets to the 2014 Wimbledon juniors champion. Paire’s inconsistent level of play and Rubin’s defense were the major factors in the match, as Paire hit 72 unforced errors, compared to Rubin’s 22, and managed to win only 48 percent of his second serve points.

After the match, Paire refused to give any credit to the 19 year old American, and was very candid in claiming that Rubin is “not a very good player,” but that Paire “was worse than him today.” Also, Paire was heard many times throughout the match saying that he was losing to the worst player in the world. Nevertheless, Rubin moves on to the second round of a major event for the first time in his career, as he will take on another Frenchman in Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Rubin earned a wild card entry into the Australian Open in an reciprocal agreement between the U.S. Tennis Association and the U.S. Open and Tennis Australia. Rubin was granted the wild card by the USTA by virtue of having the best record among American players on the USTA Pro Circuit last fall. He won the singles title at the event in Charlottesville, Va. Rubin, 19, turned professional this summer after his freshman year at Wake Forest University, where he reached the NCAA singles final. He is a student at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City and hails from nearby Long Island. He won the Wimbledon junior title and the USTA National Boys 18 Championships in 2014, earning him a main draw wild card into the US Open, where he lost in the first round to Federico Delbonis in his only previous major tournament main draw appearance.

Davis Cup In Uzbekistan – Clean, Safe, Secure and Photos with Pretty Girls

by David Foster

(The following is written by David Foster, who heads up the U.S. Davis Cup Team’s cheer squad “The Netheads.” David was the one and only non-USTA delegation fan from the United States to travel to Tashkent, Uzbekistan for the recent USA vs. Uzbekistan Davis Cup series. To get involved with the Netheads, email David at [email protected]  and mentioned “Nethead” in the subject line)

 

Going to Tashkent, Uzbekistan for the USA vs. Uzbekistan Davis Cup Playoff Round was an unbelievable trip! There were super friendly Uzbeks, super pretty girls (for some reason as I get older girls keep getting prettier), awesome American support from the Marines and the Embassy staff, a beautiful city and beautiful weather.

I arrived in Tashkent at 2:45AM on the Wednesday before the Friday start. The USTA provided a special envoy to get me to VIP customs and then a ride to hotel. That was a nice start.

After a few hours sleep, I headed for Amir Temur park to see the statue of this great Uzbek leader from the 1300s. Within half hour of my first walk in Tashkent, two pretty Uzbek girls (students) asked if they could ask me survey questions on video. Never being able to turn down a pretty girl in any country, I consented. They asked me to compare US (60 years for me) to Uzbekistan (30 minutes on street). All I could say is Tashkent is much cleaner than American cities. After videos were done, one for each girl, they asked me if I thought Uzbek girls were pretty. Geez, did they pick the right person to ask? But what was funny was that in one article I read about going to Uzbekistan it stated you should not comment on ladies’ looks. Well, I bypassed the article and stated, yes, Uzbek girls are pretty.

I then sat on bench in park to watch people. Watching moms with their kids showed me once more people are all the same in the world. I just wish governments could get along. I had two folks ask me for directions before I could say “Ingliz.” It happens everywhere I go.

Then I committed my first American error. I stopped at ATM to get some “som” (Uzbek currency). The ATM had English on the initial screen but after I entered my card, there was no English option. Being a smart American, I thought I know what it is asking (pin number first, then do I want withdrawal) even though it was in Uzbek. I finally got to screen that had 50, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400. So I assumed this is stating how much in US dollars to I want to be given in som. I hit 100 and low and behold a Ben Franklin $100 bill came out of the machine. I have never been anywhere where foreign ATM had an option for US dollars.

To tell you what prices are like in Uzbekistan, when I went to hotel exchange desk to convert my Ben Franklin, the lady questioned why I would want to convert the whole thing. She asked “are you sure you are going to spend all that?”

The draw was held in courtyard at the hotel, the Lotte Palace Hotel. After draw I went on long walk (4 miles each way) to visit the US Embassy. Unfortunately, I followed the Google map directions I had and I never found it. I asked several Uzbeks for help but they couldn’t even recognize the street names. After wandering around neighborhood for a while I just headed back to hotel. But I did get to see non-downtown section of city and see mucho people so all was not lost.

On Friday, I took a taxi to tennis facility and had driver who had lived in Pittsburgh for awhile. The road to the tennis went by government offices so he pointed out presidential building (president works there and lives elsewhere) and Uzbek version of Pentagon. The highway signs on this road not only showed the speed limit but also signs indicating no pictures/videos allowed, for security purposes. The Pittsburgh driver pointed out that road was in great shape until after road where president turns to go home. Then two lanes have been under construction for years, finally turning into dirt and gravel before we got to tennis courts.

In Uzbekistan, they have instant Uber. As my Pittsburgh driver told me, every car in Tashkent is a taxi. Folks stand on side of road. A potential driver stops, they discuss location and price, and if agreement, the passenger climbs in for ride. On my taxi ride back to hotel, my driver picked up two extras and dropped one off. No official name for process – may be they should call it Uzber.

The tennis facility was interesting with seats only on one side. The capacity was maybe 2,000. Admission was free. School kids, probably age 12 to 16, filled the stadium on Friday and Saturday. They were wearing school uniforms consisting of a white shirt and black pants or skirts. We had a couple of folks from the U.S. Embassy and three U.S. Marines joining me in our small U.S. cheer section

After first match between Steve Johnson and Denis Istomin finished (Istomin winning in five sets), the students all left – but not before 50 or more stopped by me to ask for a selfie. I went off to concession store and had my picture taken with ball kids and two very pretty girls who then asked if I could get them a picture with players (never understand why they are not satisfied with me). The second match went quickly for Jack Sock in front of probably less than 300 fans. It rained, a light shower, during the match but they kept going on the clay.

In addition to selfies, I had a gentleman hand me some pictures at the end of the first match. When I got back to hotel, I discovered in middle of pictures was a visa/immigration request. I showed this info to one of embassy folks and he just assumed the person was asking me to help with visa process. That was very Interesting.

On Friday night, the Marines picked me up at hotel and we went to the embassy annex for movie and hot dogs night with embassy folks and families. They couldn’t believe I got visa to come to Uzbekistan in seven days.

On Saturday, I took a taxi early to stadium and posed for another twenty to twenty-five pictures before match. Students were there again in uniform. One young lady sat down next to me and when I told her USA girls do not go to school on Saturday and do not have to wear uniforms, she was ready to head to America. Before the match, I was able to get large group of students to do the “USA” cheer. Randy Walker, press guy for USTA, got the USA cheering on video and posted it here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56KVDZGeREQ

Three Marines joined me for doubles and we won pretty easily in three sets. We had two good players (Johnson and Sam Querrey) against one good (Istomin) and one fair player (Farrukh Dustov). After the match, the Marines gave me a ride back to hotel. It’s nice to have those guys looking out for you.

On Sunday at breakfast, a Japanese lady decided I had interesting face and asked for obligatory picture. After I finished eating, I went upstairs and came back with Nethead on and she was really excited to take another picture. She asked for an autograph and was super excited when I signed “Robert Redford.”

At the match, there were more adults than students for a change. Besides the Marines, there were probably 25 embassy folks there, including the ambassador, who sat with the USTA folks. I did not get to meet her since she was gone after I had my last session of stadium selfies. It was a good match on Sunday with Sock trying to serve it out for tie and went back and forth several times with Istomin. It let our fans experience some tension before with Sock closed it out. I got a final ride back with the Marines and thanked them for their service for us.

After the matches on Sunday afternoon, I took another walk around Amir Temur Square. (A video of this area can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-mf7VtKO8E. I saw two pretty girls ahead of me taking pictures towards the statue and, as I got close, I got another request for pictures with each one. I figured it was pictures No. 99 and 100 for the trip.

Everybody in the USTA contingent left on Sunday night, leaving me alone on Monday. I took a personal tour with an English-speaking guide, who was a very knowledgeable guy. He explained that Independence Square was originally Red Square under the Russian Empire and Lenin’s square under Soviet rule. At the 1966 earthquake statue, he explained how Soviets came in to rebuild and add new housing after earthquake damage. I then saw the World War II memorial which had books of gold with names of 500,000 Uzbek men who never came home. I also saw Osman’s Koran which many believe is oldest Koran in existence. The Koran shows Osman’s blood stains where legend is he was stabbed while reading the Koran.

My tour guide explained there is freedom of religion in Uzbekistan but not freedom of where to practice it. Muslims cannot pray in public. Minarets at mosques are for looks only. One cannot issue any calls to prayer. The government does not want religion to be involved in government at all, trying to avoid the problems of other countries – a true separation of church and state. He also told me the building secured with guards with AK-47s I had jogged past for five days was the National Security building, the old KGB. I never saw any indication of street crime during my time in Tashkent. I felt safe wherever I went. My guide indicated Uzbekistan is considered in top five safest countries in the world. In discussion on security with one of embassy staff, she stated there is security in a police state.

I left the hotel at 5PM (Monday) EST time (2AM Tuesday Uzbek time) and got back to my condo in Atlanta at midnight EST Tuesday – 31 hours of travel. It was an uneventful trip except for a two-hour delay on my Paris to Atlanta flight. In Moscow, I saw the prettiest TSA person I’ve ever seen. It was the only time I’ve ever wanted to set off the buzzer and require a pat down! I told her she was prettier than agents in USA, but either she did not understand or she was just giving me the normal cold shoulder I usually get!