It was a perfect day in College Park for the Junior Tennis Champions Center’s 11th annual Free Tennis Day. As a connoisseur of Kids Days, if there is such a thing, I particularly enjoyed this one. This was a Kids Day with a twist. There was no moon bounce and no face painting going on here. This was the real deal.
You’re not just having fun, kids.
You’re being watched. And timed. And measured.
If you’re a tennis parent who even once fantasized about your 4 year old playing college tennis someday, this was your kind of Kids and Parents Day. Mine slept on the ride from Baltimore to the JTCC and woke up on the wrong side of the car seat. She was #48 and she defaulted when she demanded to be carried in from the car. Annabel settled on hitting solo against the wall.
There were over 350 people on hand for the event and at least 125 kids participating. Over the next two weeks, the JTCC’s coaching staff will deliberate over the participant’s performances. 20 of the entrants will receive offers for summer camp scholarships and one will receive a scholarship into the Junior Tennis Champions Center. Remember, this is the same event where today’s Tallahassee Champion Denis Kudla was ‘discovered’ 10 years ago ‘on this very night’, and you begin to understand the allure of this free-for-all event. It’s democracy in action in tennis.
The most unusual part of the day occurred when Slice, the Ms. Pac-Man of the Washington Kastles, was spontaneously attacked by children in an impromptu and slightly-frightening display. By the time the cameras (camera) got there, the little ones had switched to fists from racquets. Slice took it in all stride and has a bright future in elected office. Anyone who can take that kind of feedback at a Town Hall meeting and shake it all off is a lock for Congress.
In Battle of Mason/Dixon, York PA Defeats Annapolis MD for @USTA 6.0 Women’s Super Seniors National Championship
YORK WOMEN CROWNED NATIONAL CHAMPIONS AT USTA LEAGUE 6.0 SUPER SENIOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
SURPRISE, Ariz., April 21, 2013 – The women’s team from York, Pa., representing the USTA Middle States Section, captured the national title at the USTA League 6.0 Super Senior National Championships held at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Arizona.
The York team defeated a team from Annapolis, Md., 2-1 in the Championship match. Earlier in the day, the York team defeated a team from Austin, Texas, 3-0 in the semifinals. They advanced this far by winning their round-robin flight contested Friday and Saturday.
The team is captained by Rita Ward and features team members Linda Fitz, Anna Mae Schriver, Ermie Conner, Nancy Yohn, Deb Waltimyer, Deborah Ann Mitzel, Carol Shapiro and Carol Gongola. The team plays at the Wisehaven Tennis Center in York.
The top four teams in order of finish are: USTA Middle States (York, Pa.), USTA Mid-Atlantic (Annapolis, Md.), USTA Pacific Northwest (Yakima, Wash.) and USTA Texas (Austin, Texas).
This year’s USTA League 6.0 Super Senior National Championship has drawn the top 19 teams, with 7 men’s teams and 12 women’s team from all over the United States.
USTA League celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2010. Since its inception in 1980, USTA League has grown from 13,000 participants in its first year, to over 820,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis league.
USTA League was established to provide adult recreational tennis players throughout the country with the opportunity to compete against players of similar ability levels. Players participate on teams in a league format, which is administered by the USTA through its 17 Sections. The league groups players by using six National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) levels, ranging from 2.5 (entry) to 5.0 (advanced). USTA League is open to any USTA member 18 years of age or older. It features Adult and Mixed Doubles divisions, as well as a Senior Division (age 50 or older) and a Super Senior Division (age 60 or older).
Beginning with the 2013 National Championship season, USTA League changed its structure and format. The change offers USTA League participants among three age categories (Adult 18 & Over, Adult 40 & Over and Adult 55 & Over and Mixed 18 & Over) to better align participants with players their own age. The restructuring guarantees more frequency of play opportunities at more appropriate age groups.
Head Penn Racquet Sports is in its 26th year as official ball of USTA League.
For more information about USTA League or the USTA as a whole, visit www.usta.com.
WASHINGTON, D.C. TENNIS TEAM CROWNED CHAMPIONS AT
USTA LEAGUE 10.0 ADULT MIXED DOUBLES NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
TUCSON, ARIZ., November 18, 2012 – A mixed doubles tennis team from Washington, D.C., representing the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, captured the national title at the USTA League 10.0 Adult Mixed Doubles National Championships held at the Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort in Tucson, Ariz.
The Washington, D.C., team captured a 3-0 win over a team from Irvine, Calif., in the championship match. On Saturday afternoon, they defeated a team from Boise, Idaho, 3-0 in the semifinals. They advanced this far by winning their round-robin flight contested Friday and Saturday.
The team is captained by Sam Lieber (Clarksville, Md.) and Gregory H Chambers (Silver Spring, Md.) and features Tanja Magoc (Silver Spring, Md.), Marianne E Baker (Glenelg, Md.), Anastasia Skavronskaia (Kensington, Md.), Dianne Matias (Torrance, Calif.), Wilbur K Callender (Washington, D.C.), Franklin Chaney (Lothian, Md.), Patrick D Brick (Arlington, Va.) and plays at the Owen Brown Tennis Club.
The top four teams in order of finish are: Mid-Atlantic (Washington, D.C.); Southern California (Irvine, Calif.); Florida (Sarasota, Fla.) and Intermountain (Boise, Idaho).
This year’s USTA League 10.0 Adult Mixed Doubles National Championship has drawn the top 12 teams from throughout the nation.
The USTA League Mixed Doubles is for men and women 18 years of age and older. Teams are formed by combining the two player’s individual National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) ratings. The team’s total rating must equal: 2.5, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0 and 10.0. The total NTRP rating cannot exceed the level of the team. For example, a 7.0 team could be a combination of two 3.5 players, or one 4.0 partner and one 3.0 partner. Play format consists of three doubles matches.
This year marks the 32nd anniversary of USTA League. Since its inception in 1980, it has grown from 13,000 participants in its first year, to over 835,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis league.
USTA League was established to provide adult recreational tennis players throughout the country with the opportunity to compete against players of similar ability levels. Players participate on teams in a league format, which is administered by the USTA through its 17 Sections. The league groups players by using six NTRP levels, ranging from 2.5 (entry) to 5.0 (advanced). USTA League is open to any USTA member 18 years of age or older. It features Adult and Mixed Doubles divisions, as well as a Senior Division (age 50 or older) and a Super Senior Division (age 60 or older).
For the 2013 National Championship season, USTA League is changing its structure and format. The change will allow USTA League participants among three age categories (Adult 18 & Over, Adult 40 & Over and Adult 55 & Over and Mixed 18 & Over) to better align participants with players their own age. The restructuring guarantees more frequency of play opportunities at more appropriate age divisions.
Head Penn Racquet Sports is in its 25th year as official ball of USTA League.
–S. Pratt, USTA
USTA MID-ATLANTIC HONORS NINETEEN AT ANNUAL MEETING
Montgomery County Tennis Association Wins Community Program of the Year
RESTON, Va., November 20, 2012– The United States Tennis Association Mid-Atlantic Section (USTA/MAS) celebrated the efforts of nineteen individual members and member organizations at the Sheraton Reston Hotel in Reston, Va., November 17, 2012.
The awards are given out annually to USTA members from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., for their dedication to the sport of tennis and their outstanding contributions in helping grow tennis at the local level.
“This is our favorite event of the year,” says USTA/MAS Executive Director, Rod Dulany.”It’s a time where we can recognize the phenomenal volunteers and leaders in our community who give so much to our sport.”
The Montgomery County Tennis Association (MCTA) was honored with the Community Program of the Year award. The MCTA is a non-profit organization founded in 1996 to promote tennis and to support tennis players in Montgomery County, Md., and the local area. It is committed to increasing the opportunities for juniors, adults and seniors to play recreational and organized competitive tennis. The foundation of the MCTA rests with more than 55 volunteers who organize and manage the various community based tennis teams, leagues, socials, tournaments, training programs and after school programming at various middle schools.
Below are the awards and honorees.
Community Program of the Year, Montgomery County Tennis Association, Md.
Presented to a USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section person, place or program that best demonstrates outstanding execution of a team event or programs.
Section Organization of the Year – Reston Tennis Association, Reston, Va.
Presented to a member organization for their outstanding service to the local community, to the organization members, and to the game of tennis.
Facility of the Year, Culpeper Sport & Racquet Club, Culpeper, Va.
Presented to the tennis facility that made the greatest impact in the community during the past year through programming, events and partnerships.
Lifetime Service Award, Garland Ott, Charles Town, W.Va.
Presented to an individual or group for their longstanding dedication and commitment to the game of tennis.
Parks and Recreation of the Year, Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission, W.Va.
Teaching Professional of the Year, Harvey Robinson, Newport News, Va.
Volunteer of the Year, Carolyn Ikeda, Alexandria, Va.
League Coordinator of the Year, Jon Smith, Carroll County, Md.
Jr. Team Tennis Coordinator of the Year, Shannon Scarvey, Midlothian, Va.
Family of the Year, The Cook Family, Ft. Washington, Md.
Military Tennis Award, Molly Prins, Springfield, Va.
Tournament of the Year, West Virginia State Championships, Ridgeview, W.Va.
Official of the Year, Bob Hyatt, Williamsburg, Va.
High School Coach of the Year, Lee Kelley, Richmond, Va.
Adult Sportsmanship Award, Aileen Chase, District of Columbia
Adult Sportsmanship Award, Marvin Martinez, Ft. Washington, Md.
Junior Sportsmanship Award, Olivia Davis, Indian Head, Md.
Junior Sportsmanship Award, Spencer Liang, Potomac, Md.
Outstanding Media Award, Doug Smith, District of Columbia
—C. Miller, USTA/MAS
I visited my first ITF tournament yesterday: the new Prince George’s County International Hard Court Championship in College Park, Maryland. Covering the ITF is another important stamp in my tennis blogger passport. “P.G. Hardcourts” is a Grade II event and it was my first opportunity to witness the “Mama Drama” that attends such events. The action was intense and frightening at times, and I’m naturally talking about what I saw from a parent, a coach and an absent-minded caller of balls and strikes. Luckily, there was a responsible adult there: ITF Referee Steve Reitman.
Now, a robbery in Prince George’s County is not all that rare, but the robbery I witnessed yesterday occurred on Court 18 and was pretty brazen. It involved the lone official of the duel between Marika Akkerman of Toronto and #1 seed Ching-Wen Hsu of Taiwan. The Chair seemed to have his eyes on everything but his match. I saw him watching other matches, watching the faces of the people he chatted up during the match, and I saw him checking out the sky a few times. Mind you, there were no storm clouds brewing overhead.
But there was a storm brewing inside the coach of Marika Akkerman and to a lesser extent, her father, who were both nearly ejected. Every few minutes, a player would complain, “Didn’t you see that?” It was usually Akkerman, but to be fair, Hsu gave up on a few balls expecting them to be declared long. Akkerman’s coach started riding the official after a while.
Then, the ITF boss showed up and suggested that Coach pipe down, since he was talking trash about a man who could eject him from the match. He protested again to the ITF’s Reitman, and was told that if he said another word, he was outta there. Then, coach refused to answer Reitman on whether or not he was Akkerman’s coach upon multiple requests. You remember the game. When your parent or teacher told you to be quiet one minute and then asked you a question the next. You enjoyed their inconsistent commands, turned it against them and said nothing when they wanted to hear from you.
Long story short: The ITF’s Reitman said, “I don’t know who you think you are, but I didn’t come to hear all your nonsense. If you say another word, that’s it”. He then camped out behind the coach and Akkerman’s dad for the rest of the match, just waiting for testosterone to play itself out to a nasty end. Mind you, the Chair was still not paying full attention to the match and it was 4-3 Akkerman in the third. I forgot to mention something. I keep calling him the Chair, but he had no chair. If it matters.
I felt sorry for Akkerman. It was bad enough that all those long balls by Hsu weren’t being called out, but now she had the pressure of worrying whether her ride home was about to get tossed. At a tournament like this one, players can hear everything that goes on off the court. She heard every single word of the protracted exchanges. Her nerves got the better of her, and the #1 seed took the third set 7-5.
Not surprisingly, Akkerman went out of her way to avoid a handshake with the Chair. The Chair didn’t even go in her general direction to shake hers, either. As she left the court, her dad tried to gently grab her by the arm to speak to her, but she jerked away from him with a big swing of her racquet bag and ran like wildfire to the locker room. I am not certain who she was mad at, but she had every right to be with the Chair and with the Coach for compounding the trouble.
As for me, I’m hooked. This is entertainment at its finest. And the tennis was pretty good, too.
[UPDATE 8/27/12: I've been told that roving umpires do not usually shake hands with players at these events. However, Hsu and her father made sure to shake with the ump after this one. This was also the first ITF match I watched. The rest weren't nearly as dramatic in off-court antics.]
2012 @USOpen National Playoffs Mixed Doubles @NewHavenOpen: Abelson/Necajevs Need To Win It All. For Me.
Leading off on Grandstand Court at the US Open National Playoffs final rounds at the New Haven Open at noon today is the mixed doubles sensation of Sophia Abelson and Pjotrs (pronounced Peter) Necajevs. This match could affect my life more directly than any other tennis match played 260 miles away. Here’s why.
I entered the US Open National Playoffs Mid-Atlantic Regional Sectionals in May with my dear doubles partner, Sophia Silbergeld. We received a first round bye while our eventual opponents, Sophia Abelson and Pjotrs Necajevs, had to win for the right to play us in the quarterfinals. When I googled them, I immediately knew we were in trouble. She a 14-year-old Girls Doubles National Open Champion and he a former college and Latvian National Team doubles player and Head Coach of the University of Detroit Women’s Team. Yeah, we got smoked. We supposedly won a game in all of this, according to the official scoreline, but I don’t remember it being that close. Of all the memories of that day, I was most proud of my seamless, instantaneous transition from bad tennis player to decent on-court interviewer with my shaking racquet hand clutching the camcorder literally seconds after match point.
Anyway, back to me. We ended up losing to the Mid-Atlantic champions who won it all in College Park. I’ve spent the better part of eleven weeks telling everyone that we lost to the champs. It always elicits an ‘If you’re gonna lose, you might as well lose to the champions’, signifying subtle gratitude when I tell the story anywhere people will listen.
Now the stakes are higher. If they win it all in New Haven, I will have huge bragging rights for life. I will go to NYC to see them in the first round (and all subsequent rounds) and cheer them on loudly. I will even scream “Sophia. Pjotrs. Remember me? Your buddy from College Park”. And they’ll be all, “Oh, yeah.”
So, please Sophia and Pjotrs, please win it all in New Haven. I love an excuse to get to the US Open every chance I get. And I do like to brag a little about even playing in the US Open National Playoffs this year, since I had a foot injury last winter and almost didn’t register. I’m so glad I did, because I would have never had a chance to play or meet the very talented and highly affable Player/Coach combo of Sophia Abelson and Pjotrs Necajevs. Detroit!
2012 @CitiOpen Interview: Alison Riske
By Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
Alison Riske was the first official interview subject of this blog, way back in College Park, Maryland last July. She remains a Tennis East Coast favorite. I wasn’t going to miss a chance to catch up with her, even after she lost in three sets on Saturday to Jana Cepelova of Slovakia. Just seconds after the match, she agreed to an impromptu interview during stretches. I’m used to interviewing players an hour or more after the match. The delay gives players the time to cool down physically and mentally. In qualifying, it’s more of a Wild West out there. The players can agree to meet you anywhere, anytime. I bring this up because I thought it was too early to get into the gruesome match details, so they were not addressed. She’s too nice to be bogged down with all that talk about second and third set unforced errors.
Last year, you were living in Hilton Head, South carolina. You’ve moved.
I’m down in Boca now with Sam Crawford, Madison Keys, Shelby Rogers, Chalena Scholl, Chi Chi’s sister. They are a good group of girls there.
What changes have you noticed about being in Boca rather than South Carolina?
I was so used to traveling with my sister, and always having a family member around, but everyone is really friendly. I room with Shelby Rogers. I roomed with Melanie Oudin before she left to train in New York.
Have you taught Shelby a thing or two?
Shelby’s going to be teaching me a thing or two! She’s doing so well. I was in Charleston at Family Circle Cup cheering her on.
Are you two the pride of South Carolina then?
I’m from Pittsburgh.
I went home for Christmas. We did have snow while I was there.
Still loving those Steelers?
I’m still a Steelers fan and I’m so sad Heinz (Ward) left us!
What’s next up for the summer?
I think I’m going to play the 50 in the Bronx and we’ll see if I get in Cincinnati and then qualies at the US Open.
JULY 28–A robust crowd at CitiOpen was treated to a long day of compelling three set matches and the inauguration of the new Grandstand Court. Robert Farah won the first match on the new court over racquet-abusing Paul Capdeville 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Later, on ‘Grandstand 1′, veteran Jesse Levine ended the ATP CitiOpen bid for Michigan’s Evan King 4 and 4.
The Univeristy of Virginia faithful invaded the stands shortly afterwards and were punished for their flash mobbery, watching in horror as Cavalier Mitchell Frank lost a nail-biting three setter to Michael Berrer and fellow Wahoo Jarmere Jenkins was narrowly defeated in two.
Veteran Robby Ginepri won in retirement over Wayne Odesnik, Florent Serra defeated Ricardo Mello, Marco Chiudenelli took out Tim Smyczek in three, Michael Russell, who is seemingly at every single ATP event, sometimes simultaneously, perservered past Mischa Zverev in full sets.
Today was the final qualifying round for the WTA and Jana Cepelova, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Jennifer Elie and Aravane Rezai won their way into the main draw. The most intriguing womens match up was the one I sat through, naturally. It pitted 3 seed Jana Cepelova against 5 seed Alison Riske. The match swung back and forth, with Cepelova patiently waiting for errors by Riske. In the end, Cepelova’s patience paid off as Riske was uncharacteristically error prone today.
Tomorrow, fans will see main draw WTA play and final qualifying for the men.
The name of the tournament may have changed, but the long-standing National Parks Recreation Family Day remains at Washington’s pro tennis tourney. I’m happy to report that it continues to be one of the best kids days in tennis nation. Due to the inclusion of the WTA this year and the doubling of the number of matches, the footprint of fun had to be compacted from previous years. The close quarters didn’t bother the kids. The first 3,000 family members attending today’s session received free admission and a free lunch. Facepainting, moon bounces, the Washington Kastles Mascot Topspin, appearances by pro players and a 10 and Under Tennis playoff kept kids occupied while their parents longed to watch the professional tennis that surrounded them on all sides.
There were also dogs. PetConnect Rescue is a pet rescue agency that must be in at least its third year at Family Day. The organization started in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and has saved thousands of animals slated for euthanasia. After a brief trip to the media center, I found my family getting photographed with a cute pooch. As I chatted about the organization with a knowledgeable rescue volunteer, I learned that the volunteer was none other than Carole Dell herself, the first lady of the CitiOpen. Her dedication to the animals on a steamy day was impressive. As the wife of the founder of the event, she has access to an impressive suite on Stadium Court. Yet here she was, in the heat, trying to send some sweet dogs to good homes. Some people give money. Some people give time. When they do both, that’s dedication.
Sometimes, the tennis community seems so small. You’re never more than three degrees of separation from anyone in the sport. Yesterday, I held a door for a volunteer and helped her get a cart down some steps. Her name was Erin Querrey. Yep. The little sister to Big Sam and a summer intern at Lagardere, the tournament’s host and Sam’s agency.
2012 Citi Open Player Field Announced
Tournament welcomes world No. 12 Mardy Fish and Features Top International Players Alexandr Dolgopolov, Kevin Anderson, Mikhail Youzhny, Former World No. 2 Tommy Haas and returning American star Sam Querrey.
Tournament features a WTA International Level event led by Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and will showcase rising American stars, Sloane Stephens and Vania King.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 25, 2012 – Tournament officials today announced the entry list for the 2012 Citi Open (formerly the Legg Mason Tennis Classic), an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour 500 event and a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) International Level event. The Citi Open will take place July 28 – August 5 at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Washington, D.C. Proceeds from the Citi Open benefit the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF), which seeks to improve the lives of D.C.-area youth.
The men’s 32 singles draw is led by No. 12-ranked American Mardy Fish and Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov. Fish, the Olympic Silver Medalist who helped the U.S. defeat Switzerland in Davis Cup action this year, is hoping to claim his seventh singles title and first Citi Open title during his seventh appearance at the event. Dolgopolov, the top-ranked Ukrainian pro who has been ranked as high as No. 13 in the world, has an entertaining playing style that will thrill fans this summer as he makes his Washington, D.C. debut.
Additional players include Kevin Anderson, the top-ranked South African who broke into the top 30 this year, and former top 10 ranked players U.S. Open semifinalist Mikhail Youzhny (formerly ranked No. 8) and Tommy Robredo (formerly ranked No. 5). Also slated to return is former world No. 2 and Citi Open veteran Tommy Haas, who claimed his 13th career singles title last week after beating Roger Federer in Halle, Germany. American Sam Querrey, a semifinalist at the AEGON Championships in England last week, will be making his fourth career Citi Open tournament appearance.
For the first time in the event’s history, the Citi Open has expanded the field to include a WTA tournament. The event’s first women’s field is led by 20-year-old Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a former World No. 13 and multiple junior Grand Slam champion, and features teen American sensation Sloane Stephens, who is currently ranked a career-high 57th in the world. Stephens first gained notoriety in 2010 with a run into the third round of the U.S. Open and is coming off an impressive fourth round finish at this year’s French Open and a second round finish at the Australian Open. At just 19 years old, Stephens is the youngest woman ranked in the WTA top 100. The field also includes former world No. 5 and U.S. Open semifinalist Anna Chakvetadze; 2010 U.S. Open and Wimbledon Double’s Champion American Vania King and former top 25 ranked Virginie Razzano. Razzano recently advanced to the second round at Rolland Garros after handing top-ranked American Serena Williams her first-ever first round defeat at a Grand Slam event.
“2012 marks a very special year for the tournament,” said Donald Dell, Group President of Lagardère Unlimited and Tournament Chairman. “We have a new title sponsor in Citi and an incredibly competitive player field on the men’s side that includes top players from around the world. But moreover, are also introducing a WTA event to the tournament for the first time in our 43-year history, offering fans the ultimate tennis experience.”
Both entry lists represent players from more than 20 different countries and boast strong player fields with a rankings cut-off of 84 for the men and top 100 for the women. The official player acceptance lists account for 24 of the 32 spots in main draw singles. Wildcards (4) and Qualifiers (4) – to be determined at a later date – will complete the field, which can be viewed at http://www.citiopentennis.com/players
The tournament announced the new additions of Citi as title sponsor and the inclusion of the WTA event in April of this year. The 2012 Citi Open ATP World Tour 500 Level men’s event is recognized as one of the top 20 ATP events in the world offering nearly $1.5 million in prize money. The WTA tournament, which was historically held the week before the then-Legg Mason Tennis Classic, will now be played simultaneously with the men’s event in Rock Creek Park and offers $220,000 in prize money. The tournaments are collectively named the Citi Open. Additional player announcements and fan enhancements will be made at a later date.