USTA SMASHZONE MOBILE TOUR TO VISIT DICK’S SPORTING GOODS
IN BUFORD ON SATURDAY FROM 11 A.M. TO 7 P.M.
Interactive Fan Attraction to Introduce Tennis to
Youth and Families across the Nation
BUFORD, Ga., (May 9, 2013)–The United States Tennis Association (USTA) SmashZone Mobile Tour continues its 22-city tour run this weekend when it visits the Buford Dick’s Sporting Goods Store (3333 Buford Drive) this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
SmashZone introduces youth tennis to kids and parents across the country and began as the premier fan interactive attraction at the US Open before being showcased across the country. Since its inception in 2011, SmashZone has attracted more than 2 million people to its tennis courts.
SmashZone is a way to showcase tennis in a fun and interactive way by making stops at fairs, festivals, airshows, retail environments and city centers.At SmashZone,children have the opportunity to play tennis games in a fun, festive atmosphere that allows participants to get active playing tennis from the start.
“The SmashZone Mobile Tour is a great platform to bring tennis to the masses through an interactive experience,” said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “It provides an opportunity for kids to try tennis for the first time, allowing them to experience the fun and excitement that comes with playing the game.”
The SmashZone Mobile Tour includes a 53-foot trailer, which anchors four kid-sized tennis courts for youth play. Courts will feature games such as Xerox Rally Court, racquet drills and activities, as well as a Target Challenge. The trailer itself, which is handicap accessible, will feature activities for visitors that will include a Tennis Magazine Green Screen Cover Shoot, Wii Tennis and Touch Screen Kiosks. SmashZone Mobile is a complement to the USTA’s successful youth participation initiative, 10 and Under Tennis.
10 and Under Tennis is an ongoing effort to encourage young people to get active by playing tennis. The initiative uses modified equipment and courts tailored to a child’s age and ability. By featuring shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, smaller courts and simplified scoring, children learn to play more quickly and easily while having more fun in the process.
Atlanta Men Crowned National Champs at USTA 9.0 Super Seniors
SURPRISE, Ariz., April, 29, 2013 – The men’s team from Atlanta, Ga., representing the USTA Southern Section, captured the national title at the USTA League 9.0 Super Senior National Championships held at the Surprise Tennis and Racquet Complex in Surprise, Arizona.
The Atlanta defeated a team from Laguna Niguel, Calif. 2-1 in the Championship match. Earlier in the day, the Atlanta team defeated a team from Bass River, Mass. 3-0 in the semifinals. They advanced this far by winning their round-robin flight contested Friday and Saturday.
The team is captained by Hugh Thomson and features Stephen Duffel, Tom Smith, Dale Quigley, Roger Pearce, Marty Pearson, Larry Saheim, Robbin Merriman and plays at the Northeast Georgia Tennis Center.
The top four teams in order of finish are: USTA Southern (Atlanta, Ga.), USTA Southern California (Laguna Niguel, Calif.), USTA New England (Bass River, Mass.) and USTA Eastern (Syosset, N.Y.).
This year’s USTA League 9.0 Super Senior National Championship has drawn the top 21 teams, with 13 men’s teams and 8 women’s teams from all of 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 http://www.usta.com.
2013 Savannah Challenger Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
After Sarasota, the USTA Pro Circuit swings into Savannah for the 2nd stop on the Har-Tru USTA French Open Wild Card Challenge.
USTA Pro Circuit
Savannah, Georgia, USA
April 20-April 28, 2013
Prize Money: $50,000
Top 8 seeds:
1: Mardy Fish
2: Michael Russell
3: Ryan Harrison
4: Alex Bogomolov
5: Rhyne Williams
6: Jack Sock
7: Wayne Odesnik
8: Tim Smyczek
Savannah has a similar field to Sarasota, with wild card recipient Mardy Fish being the notable addition.
Mardy Fish, who hasn’t played since Indian Wells, will open with veteran Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, which is a pretty tough matchup. The winner will face a qualifier or wild card Sekou Bangoura. In the quarters, it could be a qualifier, Sarasota champ Alex Kuznetsov, Frank Dancevic or Rhyne Williams.
Ryan Harrison lost in the 1st round in Sarasota and continues to struggle. He try to change course against Mischa Zverev, a talented but terribly inconsistent veteran, followed by Bobby Reynolds or Ze Zhang. In the quarters Sarasota finalist Wayne Odesnik, Sarasota semifinalist Denys Molchanov, wild card Mitchell Krueger or a qualifier are the choices.
Michael Russell will play Bradley Klahn before Steve Johnson or wild card Tennys Sandgren. In the quarters, it could be Sarasota semifinalist Somdev Devvarman, a qualifier, Facundo Arguello or Tim Smyczek.
Alex Bogomolov will take on Denis Kudla then Donald Young or a qualifier and in the quarters Jack Sock, Teymuraz Gabashvili, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and Peter Polansky are all options.
Ramirez Hidalgo d. Odesnik
Arguello d. Stebe
Once again, the conundrum of picking between aging clay court specialists like Ramirez Hidalgo or young Americans with limited clay experience such as Williams is upon us. That being said, 35 year old RRH, while being only 2-6 on the year, has been playing all his matches at the ATP level and this will be his first challenger of the year. That experience should give him the edge, though Williams did beat him in Houston. Odesnik, who has little standing in his way to the semis will likely be fatigued at that point.
Arguello continues to be a raw talent and he did beat Harrison in Sarasota. Smyczek is a tough draw, but a qualifier or Devvarman should be a bit easier than Klahn or Johnson.
Stebe was in the past predicted to be ranked a lot higher at this point and his development has been slower than expected. But a very open section of the draw made up of struggling veterans and hard court players means he should make the semis.
Ramirez Hidalgo d. Arguello
Experience should trump youth in this one.
Rhyne Williams was feeling good yesterday after an opening round win against Daniel Kosakowski at the 2012 Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs in Norcross, Georgia. The former University of Tennessee player noted that he has NEVER been to Australia before. He also mentioned his relief in not having to play Tennys Sandgren today, insisting that it’s never fun to play your best friend in the first round. Finally, he talked about the deep tennis legacy from which he hails.
Smyczek, Williams, Kudla and Sandgren advance to AO WC semis
Top seed Tim Smyczek took care of business 7-6 6-1 against Christian Harrison today at the AO WC to reach the semi finals. Smyczek and Harrison played a grinding baseline thumping first set with multiple long games but in the 2nd Harrison faded and Smyczek closed it out.
Also through are best friends Rhyne Williams and Tennys Sandgren. Williams advanced 6-1 6-4 over Daniel Kosakowski and Sandgren got the victory over Bradley Klahn 6-3 6-3.
In the last match of the day, Denis Kudla got the win over Chase Buchanan 6-3 7-6. It was all straight sets at AO WC today.
After the women’s semis tomorrow, the four remaining men will take to the fast indoor courts with Smyczek against Sandgren and Williams against Kudla.
In other tennis news of interest from Norcross, the Bryan Brothers stated at their impromptu press conference that they plan to play at the 2013 BB&T Atlanta Open in July and that they also hope to continue to compete in Davis Cup competition for the US as long as they are called upon. They also stated that they are planning for the last pro event of their careers to be the 2016 Rio Olympic games.
In a construction war zone, the Battle of Georgia was fought today. The grounds of the Racquet Club of the South, under new branding as the Lifetime Fitness and Tennis Center, are nothing short of a mess. The venue is expected to be a world-class facility with superior accommodations when it is completed, but for this year, players and fans alike are using porta-potties and walking through muddy trails to get in and out of the facility.
The draw gods didn’t help either, as they forced Georgians Mallory Burdette and Irina Falconi to fight it out in the first round on a non-show court. In the end, Burdette’s consistency proved too much for Falconi, who nearly came back to force a third set. Burdette prevailed 6-2, 7-5.
Luckily for Atlanta, another local took home a win today. Grace Min, a late addition to the field this week, knocked out top seed Julia Cohen 6-3, 6-4. Min, who was double-bageled by Alison Riske in the first round of last year’s event, joked that she couldn’t have done any worse this year unless she gave up a golden set. Getting that first game under her belt seemed to boost her confidence immensely. The result was a disappointment for Cohen, who has enjoyed her best year yet as a pro.
Speaking of disappointment, Bethanie Mattek-Sands was clearly not tuned up in the first set against Madison Keys, and her rally was too little too late as the Wild Card Wonder Kid won 6-2, 6-4 .
Alexa Glatch made quick work of Alison Riske, 6-1, 6-2.
The Women’s semis are set at Norcross at noon tomorrow.
Grace Min and Mallory Burdette will square off on Saturday, and Alexa Glatch will meet Wild Card Wonder Kid Madison Keys.
2012 Australian Open Wild Card ‘Media Hit Around’ with Mallory Burdette; Men’s Bracket Predictions
Yesterday, I took part in the media hit around at the venue with Mallory Burdette. Mallory was friendly and congenial as well as running us amateurs around the court. After that, she participated in a press conference in which she stated that she has a tremendous opportunity to move up in the rankings after just turning pro because she does not have to defend any ranking points for the next few months. She also mentioned she enjoys playing doubles and has an interest in playing doubles consistently at the pro level. When asked about her decision to turn pro, she said her experiences playing pro tournaments this summer helped encourage her decision to turn pro.
I asked her about her preparation going into this event since the last pro tournaments concluded a month ago. She said she has been training at the USTA facility in Fort Lauderdale, participating in a lot of fitness training with her coach and playing practice matches with other players in the USTA system in order to keep in top form.
Play starts at 10 a.m. today and runs through Sunday with Tennis East Coast having wall to wall coverage of everything going on in Norcross.
Since the men’s bracket is out now, I’ll do like my counterpart Steve and make my predictions on the men’s side.
Quarters: Smyczek d. Harrison, Klahn d. Sandgren, Williams d. Kosakowski, Kudla d. Buchanan
Semis: Smyczek d. Klahn, Williams d. Kudla
Final Smyczek d. Williams
The most experienced player in the field, late fill in Smyczek, who closed out his year with a win at the Champaign challenger should have an edge over his opponents, including predicted finalist Williams, who he beat in the Champaign semis.
Klahn should be helped by the experience of the US Open against Sandgren while the talented Williams should be challenged by Kosakowski and Kudla but triumph.
This event also provides an opportunity for experience for last minute call-up Buchanan.
Patricia Jensen Takes Us Down Under To The 2012 Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs
by Steve Fogleman, TennisEastCoast.com
Patricia Jensen is Director of Tournament Operations for the Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs. She’s also the Queen Mum of American Tennis, having raised four pros. Yesterday, she let me know what to expect in Norcross this weekend.
Last year, we had Bobby Reynolds and Robby Ginepri representing Atlanta on the men’s side. Without a Georgia man in the mix, who is going to be the crowd favorite?
I can honestly say that we have one of the strongest draws that we’ve ever had. Even though it somewhat disappoints me that we don’t have a Georgia male player, we’re excited about Irina Falconi and Mallory Burdette, both training here in Georgia and being somewhat from Georgia.
From the crowd favorite perspective, Rhyne Williams, who played for Tennessee, who happens to related to one of the tennis world’s favorite coaches, Coach Mike DePalmer. His grandson is Rhyne Williams. So, alot of Atlanta has been following Rhyne for a long time.
Is this the first time that Irina Falconi has competed here since college?
She played the wild card event two years ago at the same facility. This is the fourth annual (Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs).
Irina was here last year in street clothes and got a great reception. Do we expect her to get the loudest cheers?
She has a very strong following here in Atlanta. All the Georgia Tech fans will be out here. I have so much respect for her, because last year, even though she wasn’t in the tournament, she came and played with the media, and she did a few appearances with TV and radio stations. She was really involved in the tournament, but she was there to support the event and her colleagues.
Will this be a homecoming for Mallory Burdette as well?
This is great for Atlanta. She has a great following because she did train at Racquet Club of the South at one time.
Tell me about the “Battle of Georgia”, the exhibition where five local teams will battle it out on Friday night for the right to take on the Bryans.
All my money’s on (former pro) Grant Stafford! Seriously, we’re so happy that both Georgia and Georgia Tech are participating. Nathan Pasha from Georgia is a major fan favorite, not only because he played for Georgia, but he’s also from Atlanta. He was a wild card at the BB&T Atlanta Open last year. Atlanta has followed him very closely forever.
According to Jensen, event organizers have already sold more than 3,500 tickets for the Battle of Georgia exhibition with the Bryan Brothers.
How does the venue get this wonderful event every year?
The USTA has chosen us worthy and we’re doing an efficient and appropriate job in putting on this tournament.
NOTES: The largest Australian bakery in the United States will once again be on hand for the Taste of Australian Tennis Down Under… Virgin Australia is offering significant discounts on player and attendees who wish to fly to Australia for the Open…USTA Director of Player Development Patrick McEnroe will not be back in Norcross this year due to other commitments…Though neither Jensen nor I knew at the time of the interview, a third Georgian, Grace Min, will also be competing in the women’s draw.
Printable Order of Play
ORDER OF PLAY: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2012
2012 Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs
Lifetime Tennis, Norcross, GA
COURT 7 (Center Court)
10:00 a.m. Madison Keys (3) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands
N.B. 2:00 p.m. Tim Smyczek (1) vs. Christian Harrison
11:00 a.m. Irina Falconi vs. Mallory Burdette (4)
N.B. 1:00 p.m. Denis Kudla (2) vs. Chase Buchanan
11:00 a.m. Alexa Glatch (2) vs. Alison Riske
N.B. 2:00 p.m. Bradley Klahn vs. Tennys Sandgren (4)
10:00 a.m. Julia Cohen (1) vs. Grace Min
N.B. 1:00 p.m. Daniel Kosakowski vs. Rhyne Willams (3)
Phenom on fire Maria Sanchez has withdrawn from this weekend’s USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs in Norcross, Georgia. Though no reason was given for the withdrawal by the USTA, Atlanta media maven Rick Limpert, the “Tech of Sports”, indicated that she suffered from a knee tendonitis flare up. Limpert interviewed her last week in anticipation of Sanchez playing the event.
In comes Georgia native Grace Min, who claims the 8 seed for a second straight year. Last year, she was double-bageled by Alison Riske in the opening round. A year wiser, we’re certain to find improvements in her result. She opens against top seed Julia Cohen on Friday at 10:00 a.m. on Court 2.