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Todd Martin Wins “Retro Racquet” Invesco Series QQQ Event In Newport

NEWPORT, R.I. – During his down time from his role as Chief Executive Officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Todd Martin will sometimes hit the grass courts at the Newport Casino and play tennis using an old wooden Jack Kramer Pro Staff racquet, the racquet he used growing up as a young boy. Martin’s comfort with the wooden racquet on his home courts at the International Tennis Hall of Fame served him well Sunday as he won a special “retro racquet” version event on the Invesco Series QQQ, held in conjunction with the ATP’s Hall of Fame Open and the induction ceremonies for the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

“It’s nostalgic,” said Martin after beating Mats Wilander 6-2 in the one-set championship match with the Jack Kramer Pro Staff. “I’ve spent my entire life in tennis in various capacities. This is my original racquet. It makes me think about my childhood.”

Wilander, the former world No. 1, used a steel Yonex racquet that he got as a prize when he won a 12-and-under tournament back in Sweden. Wilander, however, could not play with the racquet because his father stole it from him to use himself. Wilander found the racquet in a closet a few weeks ago and decided to use it for this specially-designed event.

The quality of play with the older racquet frames was quite high in all three Invesco Series QQQ matches with few unforced errors. Said Martin of his wood racquet prowess, “Actually my backhand feels better with wood than it does with graphite. My forehand is horrible with both.”

The title was the first for Martin on the Invesco Series since he won the title in Minneapolis in 2011 and his sixth overall title on this North American tennis tour for champion tennis players over the age of 30. Martin also won the title in Newport on this tour back in 2007 defeating John McEnroe in the final. This year’s event in Newport marked only the second Invesco Series QQQ event for Martin since 2014 after competing in New Haven last summer.

En route to the final, Martin beat newly-minted International Tennis Hall of Fame member Yevgeny Kafelnikov 6-4, while Wilander beat Jim Courier 6-2. Kafelnikov, the Russian former French and Australian Open champion, was appearing in his first career Invesco Series QQQ event and used a Jack Kramer Autograph racquet. In his loss, Courier used the steel Wilson T-2000 racquet.

The 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit continues August 3 with the Invesco Legends San Jose as part of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State University.

Earlier this season, Haas kicked off the 2019 Invesco Series QQQ circuit by defeating Roddick 7-6 (2) in the title match at the Oracle Champions Cup in Newport Beach, California. James Blake won the second event of the season at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., defeating Courier 6-3 in the final. Lleyton Hewitt won the third title of the season in Charleston, S.C., as part of the Volvo Car Open in April while Tommy Haas won the Hawaii Champions Cup at the Royal Lahaina Resort in May.

The remaining 2019 Invesco Series QQQ schedule is as follows:

San Jose, CA – August 3 (San Jose State University) James Blake, Andy Roddick, Mark Philippoussis, Michael Chang
New Haven, CT – September 7 (Yale University, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Tommy Haas, Mark Philippoussis)
Toronto, ON – September 26 (Mattamy Athletic Centre): Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis)
Los Angeles, CA – October 26 (Sherwood Country Club) Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish)
Houston, TX – November 15: (Rice University) Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis, Juan Carlos Ferrero

In 2018, Blake won his first Invesco Series QQQ year-long points championship by winning titles in Winston-Salem, New Haven and Houston, while also finishing as runner-up in Los Angeles and Orlando.
In 2017, the year-long points championship was decided in the final match of the season when Andy Roddick defeated James Blake in the Los Angeles final at the Sherwood Country Club. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and world No. 1, won four Invesco Series QQQ titles in all in 2017, winning in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Lincoln, Neb., and Los Angeles. Blake, the former world No. 4 and former U.S. Davis Cup star, won series titles in Charleston, S.C., Winston-Salem, N.C. and in Lynchburg, Va.

In 2016, Mark Philippoussis won the Series points title with 1600 points and tournament titles in Memphis, Tulsa, Newport, Winston-Salem and New Haven. Roddick finished in second place, also earning 1600 points but losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philippoussis 5-2, while winning titles in Charleston, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Orlando. Blake finished in third place with 1100 points and tournament titles in Chicago, Portland and Brooklyn.
In 2015, Roddick won the Series points title in his second year of competing on the series with 1,600 points. Roddick won a record eight events Los Angeles, Lincoln, Chicago, Austin, Little Rock, Dallas, Richmond and Minneapolis. Blake finished second in the points rankings with 1,200 points, winning events in Boston and Cincinnati. Philippoussis finished in third with 1,100 points, winning titles in Salt Lake City and Vancouver. The year before in 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Invesco Series QQQ tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte.

ABOUT INSIDEOUT SPORTS + ENTERTAINMENT
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment is a Los Angeles based 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 Champions Series, a collection of tournaments featuring the greatest names in tennis over the age of 30. In addition, InsideOut produces many other successful events including “Legendary Night” exhibitions, The World Series of Beach Volleyball and numerous corporate outings. Since inception, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment has raised over $5 million for charity. In 2014, InsideOut Sports + Entertainment merged with Horizon Media, the largest privately held media services agency in the world. For more information, please log on to www.InsideOutSE.com or InvescoSeries.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

ABOUT HORIZON MEDIA
Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing privately held media services agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York and has offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. Horizon Media was chosen as 2011 Independent Media Agency of the Year by Mediapost, 2010 U.S. Media Agency of the Year by Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek as well as by Ad Age and as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company in 2011. In 2012, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder, was honored by Advertising Age as Industry Executive of the Year. Most recently, in 2014, Bill Koenigsberg was named 4As Chair of the Board and is the first person from a media agency to hold this prestigious position in the 100 year history of the 4As, the marketing industry’s leading trade association. The company’s mission is “To create the most meaningful brand connections within the lives of people everywhere.” By delivering on this mission through a holistic approach to brand marketing, Horizon Media has become one of the largest and fastest-growing media agencies in the industry, with estimated billings of over $5.3 billion and over 1,200 employees. The company is also a founding member of Columbus Media International, a multi-national partnership of independent media agencies. For more information, pleasevisithorizonmedia.com.

ABOUT INVESCO
Invesco Ltd. is an independent investment management firm dedicated to delivering an investment experience that helps people get more out of life. NYSE: IVZ; Invesco.com, Invesco Distributors, Inc. is the US distributor for Invesco Ltd. and is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.”

Wilson Introduces 2017 Blade Performance Tennis Racket

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., announced today the introduction of four new high performance rackets to its Blade performance tennis franchise that feature Countervail technology. Countervail is a patented, one-of-a-kind, layered carbon fiber, originally designed for the aerospace industry to dissipate vibrational energy in airplanes and space vehicles. Wilson LABS, the innovation hub at Wilson, has strategically placed precise amounts of the technology into specific areas of each Blade racket frame to give tennis players meaningful and cumulative physiological benefits over time, including maximum energy, particularly in late sets or long matches, and less fatigue. As a result, athletes will have more control over his/her shots and recover from training and matches faster.

Countervail is unlike any racket material ever introduced in the tennis industry in the way it minimizes the effects of vibration. Importantly, this technology is undetectable by a player, which means the feel of the racket is maintained, while control and accuracy is maximized. ATP ranked #6 Milos Raonic transitioned to his new Blade racket with Countervail in January 2016, and is the first professional athlete to use the technology on tour.

“When Wilson shared this technology with me at the start of the season, I knew I had to have it,” said Milos Raonic. “I made the switch just three days before the Australian Open, which was a risk, but it has paid off. I’ve had the best season of my career, and as I train, practice and play nearly every day, I’ve found that my energy, shot placement and late match power have gotten much better. The best part though, is that my Blade feels the same in my hands. I honestly can’t tell Countervail is in there, but I can feel it working.”

“For years, we’ve heard from players, including Milos Raonic, about the compounding effects of rigorous training, playing and hitting on the body, specifically the hand, wrist, arm and shoulder,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager of Wilson Racquet Sports. “Our Wilson LABS team has continually explored how we could best protect a player’s body from absorbing vibrational energy from every shot. When we discovered Countervail from Materials Sciences Corporation, we knew we had found something special and that was unlike anything in tennis today.”

To better understand how Countervail could aid performance tennis players, Wilson collaborated with the University of Minnesota’s School of Kinesiology. The School conducted a study with competitive collegiate players, men and women, to determine if playing with a Wilson racket with Countervail delivered meaningful benefits. In the study, athletes playing with a racket with Countervail, experienced up to 30 percent less vibrational energy in the racket, leading to 10 percent less fatigue when playing. With greater energy, these players had 40 percent more control over their shots, without compromising feel.

The 2017 Blade rackets with Countervail join the #1 Wilson racket franchise on tour. The Blade line is designed specifically for big- hitting, attacking-style players seeking aggressive control. Current top-ranked players and Wilson Advisory Staff Members Serena Williams, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, David Goffin and Madison Keys play with the Blade on tour.

Serena Williams Will Play With New Wilson “Autograph” Racket Starting In Australia In 2017

Wilson Sporting Goods announced that it will honor 20-year veteran Advisory Staff Member Serena Williams with an Autograph tennis racket.

The Blade Serena Williams (SW) 104 Autograph racket marks only the 16th time in the brand’s 102-year history, and only the second time in the last 38 years, that it has celebrated an athlete with Autograph racket. Serena will debut her new racket at the start of the 2017 season in Australia.

“I’ve played with Wilson rackets since I was a young girl, and to now hold an Autograph racket of my own is a great moment,” said Serena Williams. “I am just thrilled that players of all ages around the world will be able to play with a Wilson racket that bears my signature. This racket feels like me – it reflects my passion, perseverance and drive – and I hope it energizes and encourages those that play with it to always chase their dreams.”

The 2017Blade SW 104 Autograph racket features the new design DNA for Wilson performance tennis rackets. This design includes a simple, bold, and clean aesthetic that features a specially engineered, high performance paint never used in the tennis industry before called Black Velvet. This matte paint provides a smooth, soft, light-absorbing finish Wilson created to significantly improve the “feel,” or tactile experience, a player has when the racket is in his/her hands. This new dimension of “feel” is a unique innovation in the performance tennis rackets space.

The racket also features strong electric green accents, a signature look from the Blade franchise, at the three and nine o’clock positions on the racket’s frame.

To customize her Autograph racket, Serena William chose to add special gold accents to the design, including her signature, initials and the Blade name in gold chrome letters. The racket features a red Wilson-branded butt cap.

The Blade SW 104 Autograph racket is constructed with the latest racket technology from Wilson LABS, the innovation hub at Wilson, including a revolutionary material called Countervail®.  With Countervail in a tennis racket, players feel less fatigue, recover quicker and experience better control – without sacrificing stiffness, feedback, or feel.

Wilson Promoting ULTRA Racket Franchise

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., is in the midst of promoting a new high performance racket franchise called ULTRA.  Wilson Labs, the innovation hub at Wilson, developed the ULTRA collection for the All-Courter, or player that hits from all corners of the court, who seeks a racket that is easy to swing, yet provides strong power and offers great maneuverability and comfort. Wilson Advisory Staff Member and Spanish tennis standout Feliciano Lopez is playing with the ULTRA on tour in 2016.

“As we visited courts all over the world to talk with All-Courter players – of all ages — about what they needed from a racket, our Wilson Labs team quickly realized versatility, power and ease were key,” said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager of Wilson Racquet Sports. “To engineer that experience, we delved into our best designs for inspiration and created a modern racket with a unique frame geometry and state-of-the art materials and construction. For our athletes, the result is a racket that is easy to handle, feels effortless with every stroke, and yet is very, very powerful.”

The ULTRA racket features octagon geometry inside the frame and rounded geometry outside the frame. This innovative frame design was inspired by the Company’s new, cutting-edge BURN® FST racket geometry, which allows players to swing faster with less effort. The racket’s frame is complemented by premium High Performance Carbon Fiber to deliver power in every stroke. The racket is also lightweight and its Cushion Foam handle offers optimal shock absorption for comfort.

The ULTRA franchise consists of four racket models: 97, 100, 103S and 108. The ULTRA 97 combines the precision from a mid-plus headsize with easy power. This racket is smooth and its forgiving feel makes it perfect for both the advanced singles and doubles player.  The ULTRA 100 is best for intermediate to advanced All-Courters, while the ULTRA 103S is designed for intermediate level players who love the game and are looking to improve their performance. With Spin Effect™ Technology creating explosive spin and High Performance Carbon Fiber providing tons of power, the ULTRA 103S makes the game easier for a wide range of playing styles.

The ULTRA 108 is designed for the All-Courter who is building or mastering their basic tennis skills; it is ideal for the doubles player. This racket features a more traditional rounded frame geometry. It has a large oversize head and a big, comfortable sweetspot to provide high power.

The ULTRA is the second All-Courter collection to emerge from the Company’s PlayerID system. The UTLRA line will be available at specialty retailers and on www.wilson.com on December 15  The line will retail for $229.00 (USD).

ABOUT THE WILSON PLAYERID SYSTEM

The Wilson PlayerID system allows tennis players to easily identify the appropriate Wilson performance racket model based on their individual style of play.

Through extensive player research, Wilson identified three core playing styles in relation to the modern tennis game:

  • Baseliner – the player who battles from the baseline with consistency and speed
  • Attacker – the player who attacks the ball early to dictate play inside the baseline
  • All-Courter – a versatile player, who hits from all corners of the court

After identifying which playing style they belong to, athletes can quickly narrow their racket search by model type and weight. Every performance racket for Wilson will correspond with one of the three playing style segments, streamlining the racket selection process and ensuring a player’s equipment is best suited for his or her style of play.

ABOUT WILSON

Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a subsidiary of Amer Sports, is the world’s leading manufacturer of sports equipment, apparel and accessories. Wilson is the global leader in performance tennis and uses player insights to develop products that push tennis equipment innovation into new territories. Through its dedication to creating products that enable athletes at every level to perform at their best, Wilson has earned its place as a leader in sporting goods for over a century.

Wilson Introduces First Tennis Shoe Designed To Support Players Sliding On Hard Court Surfaces

Wilson Sporting Goods Co., has announced it has introduced the Glide, the world’s first high performance tennis shoe designed to support, control and enhance how players slide on hard court surfaces±. Sliding is an increasingly popular technique competitive tennis players utilize to gain speed and agility advantages in match play where points can be won or lost in milliseconds. Wilson Labs, the innovation hub at Wilson, developed the Glide to help tennis players expertly slide into a shot, so they can recover up to 30 percent faster to the next ball.

“The Glide is a completely new type of performance tennis shoe and is a direct reflection of how the speed of the game has changed, said Hans-Martin Reh, General Manager of Racquet Sports. “In studying how players use sliding, particularly younger players, it was clear current performance tennis shoes are not designed to protect the athlete and accentuate the sliding movement. We knew that if we could develop a way to do both, we had the opportunity to revolutionize tennis footwear and provide our athletes with a new level of speed and efficiency not previously available.”

The shoe, which took Wilson Labs footwear engineers, materials experts and designers four years to develop, has been designed to allow players to precisely control forward and lateral slides on hard court surfaces. In play-testing, the Glide enhanced players’ natural speed, agility and quickness to command shots on the run, even stretched out wide shots.

The Glide is packed with the most innovative shoe technologies and construction elements available to players today:

  • Glide plates, made from polyethalyne technology, have been strategically sized and placed to allow for optimal slide when a player needs it the most.
  • The best performing, high traction and durable rubber Duralast® provides the ideal amount of traction to help athletes explode to the ball once their slide is complete. These technologies also increases the overall life of the shoe.
  • Rubber reinforced toe and inner drag pads offer a second wall of protection during lateral and forward sliding for increased durability.
  • A very low-to-the-ground heel drop (6mm) along with Dynamic Fit™ (DF1™) provide players with improved feel and control.
  • Endofit™ tongue provides an intuitive, comfortable fit and added stability.

The Glide is now available at specialty retailers and select tennis academies worldwide. The shoe retails for $199.00 (USD).  For a list of participating retailers and tennis academies, please visit www.wilson.com/Glide.

Wilson encourages players to talk with their coaches about sliding and the proper techniques to slide safely and effectively on hard court surfaces.  Players and coaches are also invited to visit www.wilson.com/Glide for instructional information on how to start using the Glide.

Final thoughts from a remarkable tennis event at the XXIX Olympiad…

In honor of the 18 medals that were awarded to tennis players over the weekend in Beijing, I offer 18 quick- and final- thoughts on the Games that exceeded expectations.

1) Both the men’s and women’s doubles gold medal teams were comprised entirely of “singles specialists.” Go figure. There is an old argument that great doubles players or teams would handle great singles players who paired together occasionally. I am not so sure about that. Roger Federer looked mighty formidable out there. There was little that doubles specialists did to disrupt him, and his skill level was obviously superior.

2) If Fernando Gonzalez sincerely did not hear or feel James Blake’s passing shot click off his racquet during their tense third set, then… we should all give him a break. If he has lied about this, then I wish on him six months of severe insomnia where he can grapple with his guilt.

3) Elena Dementieva is the best mover in women’s tennis. Her gold medal in women’s singles confirms her position as the best player to have yet won a major title.

4) The Russian women earned the gold, silver, and bronze medals in singles. There are eight teams that compete in the Fed Cup’s world group each year, and- if they were allowed- Russia has a deep enough talent pool for four completely different teams in this event. Remarkable.

5) Roger Federer’s delight at having won the doubles gold medal was wonderful to behold. He demonstrated more energy and positive emotion during his last three Olympic doubles matches than he has all season in singles.

6) Was the tennis stadium really filled to capacity at 3:30 AM on Friday while the Chinese pair of Yan and Zheng eked out a win over Russian team of Kuznetsova and Safina? If so, this is beyond incredible.

7) Dinara Safina looks like she could become #1 in the world, especially given the uncertainty of the position atop the women’s rankings. Her brother Marat Safin spent nine weeks at #1 on the ATP Tour. If she makes a big run in Flushing Meadows, then she could actually break this Safin family record.

8 ) While the humidity was reportedly thick in Beijing, the air quality and smog became a big non-story for tennis players. Thank goodness.

9) Can you imagine Rafael Nadal living in the Olympic Village? By all accounts, he has had a blast. I have visions of him waking up at dawn to take on all comers in table tennis, grabbing an enormous breakfast, going on a warm-up run with the Spanish track team, racing over to take part in the basketball shoot-around with Pau Gasol, challenging a few wrestlers to a bench pressing contest, trying his luck in archery, followed by an enormous lunch, some beach volleyball practice, a quick tennis match, some ice/treatment/media, an enormous dinner, a quick trip to the Ice Cube for an Individual Medley race against all member of the Spanish contingent, and then eight hours of video games against… all-comers.

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10) The despair and sadness etched on Novak Djokovic’s face after losing the semi-final combined with his elation after winning the bronze medal match over Blake were proof positive of how he deeply these players cared about the Olympics.

11) I got a big kick out of the fact that all the players were forced to cover the logos on their racquet and gear bags. If I were representing HEAD, Wilson, Babolat, Prince, Dunlop, then this would have infuriated me. The IOC definitely has a sense of humor!

12) The Williams Sisters will defend their gold medal at the London Games of 2012. They employ tactics – or non-tactics- that distinguish them among the best teams of all-time: See the ball, hit the ball really hard, giggle afterwards.

13) It says here that Mama Lindsay Davenport will compete in the 2012 London Olympics (in doubles).

14) Jimmy Arias did a magnificent job broadcasting the Olympic matches from NYC’s Rockefeller Center building. He is insightful, funny, acutely aware of tactical nuances, and measures his words prudently. Those characteristics differentiate him from the vast majority of announcers. As he has reached the top of the class, he ought to get a chance to work more of the bigger events.

15) I would expect that there were some Olympic medalists (or at least coaches) who were relieved that Juan Martin del Potro was not in Beijing. He is playing like a beast this summer.

16) Chris “Mad Dog” Russo abruptly resigned his post- after 19 years- on the popular “Mike and the Mad Dog” sports talk radio show on WFAN. The Dog was a big tennis fan, an avid player, and he relished discussing big matches on the program that was typically devoted to baseball, football, and basketball. It was always amusing to hear Russo try to pronounce words like “Djokovic” or “Wimbledon” or “statistics.” He will inevitably be back soon, and our sport will be the better for that.

17) I heard Michael Phelps’ being referred to as “the Rafael Nadal of swimming” and it made me laugh. Things change quickly at the top-level of sport.

18) The US Open qualifying event begins Tuesday. The year’s final major will be interesting, as players battle fatigue from a brutal schedule, jet-lag for those returning from Beijing, a wide-open women’s event, and- apparently- the passing of the torch at the top of the men’s game.