TAYLOR TOWNSEND RETURNS TO JUNIOR COMPETITION AT FRENCH OPEN
Townsend to Play First Junior Event in 2013;
Stefan Kozlov Among Youngest in Boys’ Field
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., May 13, 2013 – Taylor Townsend (17, Chicago), the No. 1-ranked junior in the world at the end of 2012, will play in her first junior event of 2013 at the Roland Garros French Open Junior Championships June 2-8 in Paris.
Townsend finished last year as the No. 1-ranked junior in the world, becoming the first American girl in 30 years to hold that distinction. She remains No. 10 in the ITF world junior rankings despite thus far having played only professional tournaments in 2013. In her first WTA-level main draw match, Townsend beat then-No. 57 Lucie Hradecka in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., in March.
Townsend, who in 2012 won the Australian Open junior singles title and junior doubles titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, headlines an American girls’ contingent accepted to play in the French Open Junior Championship that includes Victoria Duval (17, Delray Beach, Fla.), currently No. 285 in the WTA rankings. In 2012, Duval won the USTA Girls’ 18s national title to earn a wild card into the US Open main draw, where she played Kim Clijsters in the first round.
Christina Makarova (16, San Diego), currently No. 11 in the ITF world junior rankings, No. 29 Sachia Vickery (18, Hollywood, Fla.) and No. 39 Jamie Loeb (18, Ossining, N.Y.) are also in the girls’ main draw, while No. 56 Louisa Chirico (16, Harrison, N.Y.), was accepted for qualifying.
Townsend, Duval and Vickery each train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., while Chirico trains at the USTA Training Center – East in Flushing, N.Y.
Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (18, Charlotte, N.C.), currently the top-ranked American junior boy at No. 16 in the world, leads the Americans accepted to play the boys’ main draw, followed by No. 19 Stefan Kozlov (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), No. 23 Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), No. 38 Luca Corinteli (17, Alexandria, Va.) and No. 40 Spencer Papa (17, Edmond, Okla.). No. 49 Martin Redlicki (17, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) was accepted for qualifying.
Kozlov is the youngest player in the Top 20 of the world junior rankings and is the second youngest player in the French Open boys’ main draw. Rubin, who has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the world junior rankings, reached the quarterfinals of last year’s French Open Junior Championship, while Papa advanced to the third round last year.
Currently, Kozlov and Papa train at the USTA Training Center – Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. Kwiatkowski and Redlicki previously trained there, Kwiatkowski for three years, and Corinteli trains at the Junior tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., a USTA Certified Regional Training Center.
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.
Shelby Rogers and Alex Kuznetsov Headed to Roland Garros With USTA Wild Cards
Two East Coasters are headed to Roland Garros as USTA Wild Cards. Charleston’s Shelby Rogers won the Women’s Wild Card by winning the Charlottesvile Challenger and making the quarters in Dothan. Richboro, Pennsylvania native and current Tampa resident Alex Kuznetsov won in Sarasota and made the quarters in Tallahassee and Savannah. They spoke with members of the press (and with me as well) during a USTA Conference call this afternoon.
Neither player admitted to changing their game over the last month. For Kuznetsov, it’s his first trip to Roland Garros since being a junior finalist at the French Open all the way back in 2004, when he lost to Gaels Monfils. For Rogers, it’s her first trip to Paris…ever.
“Honestly, to think I guess it’s been almost 10 years that this will be my first French Open main draw, I would have said I’d liked to have been in a couple before now.”, Kuznetsov said.
Kuznetsov is headed to Nice, while Rogers will play in St. Gaudens.
Both players went on an April run to take the wild cards, as neither player had a won a match in months prior to the USTA Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge, which featured three separate tournaments for the men and the women.
‘I hadn’t won a round since November of last year’, said Rogers, who grew up on the green clay in Mount Pleasant, S.C., in the shadow of the Family Circle Cup Tennis Center.
Rogers first stop in Paris is the Eiffel Tower, “but hopefully to stay on the red clay as long as I can”.
Rogers has no regrets for turning pro instead of entering college.
It’s always been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I can always take classes, but I can’t always play on tour.
Both grew up on clay and were extensively trained on Har-Tru. Both would like to see more Har-Tru tournament opportunities in the U.S., especially Kuznetsov.
I would be for it, but I also think being that our main Grand Slam is on hard court, there also needs to be obviously an equal amount of hard court tournaments. Like Shelby, I also grew up playing on clay on the East Coast. I played at a club in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, which had indoor red clay. I think it’s a good surface to start younger kids on. I think they develop better on a clay court than they would a hard court. But, yeah, I’d also be for it if they had a few more events. But I’d like for them to keep some hard court tournaments, as well.
Do they like the round-robin format as opposed to a direct playoff?
Rogers was emphatic. “I think it’s a great way. It shows the players who can be consistent rather than over a weekend or a week. You have to bring your game throughout the whole three weeks.”
Kuznetsov clearly prefers the round-robin format as well, and implied that he may have been cut out of the Australian Open Wild Card field last December somewhat arbitrarily.
I think they chose the players they wanted in that one. I think this is an opportunity for the player who is playing the best tennis at the time. You’re also competing against players from different countries, so you’re not only competing against Americans. Obviously there’s players from South America and from Europe who grew up playing on clay, so they have a lot of experience. You deserve the wild card if you’re able to do that.
Kudla Surprises for Tallahassee Challenger Title, Sandgren/Krajicek Take Doubles
Denis Kudla upset Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-3, 6-3 to take the Tallahassee Challenger title, his 3rd challenger title overall and first of 2013. Kudla got ahead early and didn’t look back, holding his serve against Stebe and continuing the solid baseline play he had shown all week in Tally. The match started late because of a rain delay.
In the doubles Tennys Sandgren and Austin Krajicek made it a sweep for the Americans in Tallahasseee, beating Peter Polansky and Greg Jones 1-6, 6-2, 10-8.
Interview from @TallyChallenger: Gerald Melzer
Gerald Melzer was a good sport in agreeing to an interview with Steen Kirby following a loss in Tallahassee at the hands of Tim Smyczek. There is breaking news in this interview: 22-year-old Melzer may be the first ATP player to admit that he counts ranking points. He also said having a more famous older brother on tour is helpful, but as you might imagine, they don’t get to see each other very often.
You’ve won ten futures titles. Tell me about the difference between Futures and Challenger events.
It’s totally different. In Futures, today would have been enough. There’s a reason why (Smyczek) is #120 in the world. It’s tough. On Challengers, they don’t give you that much anymore. Not a lot of unforced errors and they fight in the end. It’s a different level.
Do you enjoy playing in the U.S.?
Yeah, definitely. I like the green clay, and especially to play the Americans on clay! Even though I lost today, I had a good week in Houston and the week after I played the semifinals in Panama. I hope I can keep it up.
Your goals for 2013?
With those points, I’m like 235 now. It’s by far my career high. It would be nice to play all the Grand Slams and to finish the year under 200.
Are you friends with Austrian compatriot Dominic Thiem?
He’s a good friend of mine, he’s a good buddy. He’s playing really well and I’m sure he’s going to make his way on the tour.
You have a good record in doubles. Do you enjoy playing doubles and does it help the singles game?
Definitely it helps. I play just for fun. Too bad I couldn’t play the last weeks like in Panama because of qualies the next week. I think it definitely helps on the volleys and it’s fun.
Is it a boon or a bane to have a well-known ATP Pro like Jurgen Melzer as your brother?
There are two sides, but it definitely helps more than it affects my game. You know how it is up there. I can only take good stuff out of it.
Do you work at all with his coach and team?
I have my own coach. I actually never see my brother. I see him five to ten times per year. It happens sometimes that I don’t see him for five or six months.
Kuznetsov Secures French Open Wild Card, Ryan Harrison Extends Winning Streak at Tallahassee
Alex Kuznetsov worked through a three set win over Peter Polansky 6-2, 6-7, 6-1 and secured the French Open Wild Card after Facundo Arguello grunted out a win over Wayne Odesnik 6-3, 6-3. Facundo smiled as he walked up to the net and did the familiar Del Potro-style kiss to the sky in victory. Kuznetsov may be dealing with some shoulder issues now, but he can rest much easier with his slam spot secured.
Tim Smyczek got through a tight first set with Gerald Melzer and won 7-6, 6-0. Smyczek was up an early break in the first but slipped on the ground and thereafter gave up the break. Still, he held serve until the tiebreak, won it, and then Melzer faded away fast.
Donald Young had no trouble with Mischa Zverev in beating him for the 2nd time this year, 6-2, 6-2. Young looks to be improving and you can’t help but notice that his on and off court demeanor and attitude seems much improved from where it was last year.
Same can be said for Ryan Harrison, though he did go berserk and snap a racquet in the second set today of his 7-5, 7-5 win over Alex Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic fought hard and made Harrison work for everything in a match played under a steady drizzling rain. In the end, a confident Harrison grabbed the win and advanced to the quarters. He hasn’t lost a match since the first round in Sarasota.
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe survived the young Korean Suk-Young Jeong 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 and cruising in the end. The streaky Denis Kudla managed to muscle his way past Bradley Klahn 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in a two-hour marathon.
In the nightcap, Frank Dancevic ended the singles run of qualifier Christian” Harrison 6-4, 6-3.
In doubles, Sekou Bangoura and Reid Carleton got a walkover over Kuznetsov/Zverev, Aubone/Mirzadeh beat Davis/R. Harrison 6-2 7-6 and Krajicek/Sandgren took out Basilashvili/Melzer 6-4 6-4.
Melzer-Smyczek, Arguello-Odesnik Headline Wednesday @TallyChallenger
For our final day of onsite coverage in Tallahassee, a pair of early matches will be highlighted.The first is an 11 AM start between Gerald Melzer and Tim Smyczek and the second an after noon start between Facundo Arguello and Wayne Odesnik.
Melzer looked good in his opening round win on Monday, and is comfortable on the clay, while Smyczek also won his opening round match yesterday with enough ease. Smyczek has more experience and has the better ranking, but Melzer has the surface edge. They are also both great movers who employ a full repertoire of shots. They have never met before.
Arguello, meanwhile, is out to avenge his 3-6 0-6 loss to Odesnik two weeks ago in Sarasota in what is their only career meeting. Arguello seemed to struggle through a tough Round 1 match in yesterday’s fiery heat but Odesnik dealt with the same heat and worked out a tough three set win. Fitness should be at a premium in this match between two clay courters.
In other action, Alex Kuznetsov can move even closer to clinching the French Open Wild Card if he can beat Peter Polansky, who cruised through his first round match, while Kuznetsov had a slow start and needed three sets.
Donald Young will take on Mischa Zverev and will be looking to extend his career record to 3-0 over the German in their first meeting on clay.
Ryan Harrison will be looking to keep his win streak alive against Alex Bogdanovic, while Suk-Young Jeong will look to continue his success against Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who should be fresher after a day off.
Denis Kudla will play Bradley Klahn for the first time on clay. Last year, they split meetings at one each.
In the singles night cap, Frank Dancevic takes on Christian Harrison.
In doubles, Krajicek/Sandgren will play Basilashvili/Melzer, Bangoura/Carleton will play good friends Kuznetsov/Zverev, and former FSU teammates Aubone/Mirzadeh will take on Davis/R. Harrison.
2013 @TallyChallenger Tuesday Recap: Kuznetsov and Odesnik Keep Wild Card Race Alive, Jeong Upsets Russell
2013 @TallyChallenger Tuesday Recap: Kuznetsov and Odesnik Keep Wild Card Race Alive, Jeong Upsets Russell
Alex Kuznetsov and Wayne Odesnik kept the French Open Wild Card race alive for another round as both advanced today in Tallahassee. Kuznetsov looked sluggish at the start against a shot-spotting Jack Sock, but recovered in the 2nd and 3rd sets for a 3-6 6-2 6-3 win. Sock hit the ball well, but his footwork failed him as he was slipping and stumbling on the clay on which he obviously wasn’t used to playing.
Odesnik won a back and forth battle with Denys Molchanov 4-6 6-3 6-4, similar to their previous 3 set match in Sarasota 2 weeks ago. Odesnik is usually quite a rowdy player, but it was Molchanov who provided the spark and spice this time, yelling at himself, and at times, towards his girlfriend sitting in the stands, in Ukrainian, and doing enough physical monologuing to qualify as an announcer for his own match. He may well have found a future career. He also hurled his racquet into the fence after being broken in the 3rd set. Both guys had struggles holding serve at times
The Harrison brothers both grabbed wins: Christian the Younger over Steve Johnson 7-6 6-1, in a match with 1 competitive set and then a letdown from Johnson. The air really came out of his game after losing the opening set tiebreak, and similar to Jack Sock, he struggled with his surface footwork and just didn’t look comfortable moving around
Ryan the Elder found himself in a much tighter match with Taro Daniel, 6-3 6-7 7-6. Daniel showed a lot of big game to hang with the number 2 seed and ATP regular, but Harrison just had that little bit of extra skill that put him over the top in the key moments
Suk-Young Jeong upset top seed Michael Russell 7-6 6-3, as his coaching team cheered him on. Both players were hesitant to get overly aggressive, but Russell never seemed comfortable and was totally out of sorts the entire match, exclaiming loudly near the end “it’s so different than last week!”
In other singles action, Frank Dancevic got past Ilija Bozoljac 7-5 6-3, Tim Smyczek scooted past Greg Jones, who struggled on serve, 6-3 7-5, and Bradley Klahn rolled past Nico Barrientos 6-3 6-2. Mischa Zverev handled Nikolosz Basilashvili 6-4 6-0, Peter Polansky was in a good mood as he finished off Dominic Cotrone 6-2 6-4 and Donald Young struggled a bit with Michael Venus’ serve but Young cracked the code and advanced 7-5 6-4.
In the night cap, Denis Kudla struggled a bit on serve but held strong from the baseline and beat Somdev Devvarman 7-6 6-4, Devvarman giving away the breaks he did have in the match
The match of the day in terms of ball striking alone would have to be Facundo Arguello’s 7-5 7-6 win over Reid Carleton. Both players dealt with burning sun and scorching heat as a visibly tired Arguello labored away against a gritty Carleton. Both players were throwing missiles at each other and grunting loudly. Arguello is also quite a verbalizer and was snapping at his coach in Spanish after almost every point, during changeovers and everything else. Carleton countered with “c’mons” of his own but just didn’t quite have enough to beat the skilled Argentine
In doubles Rice/Thornley beat Gonzales/Letcher 1-6 6-2 10-6, Jones/Polansky beat Barrientos/Molchanov 6-4 6-7 10-6, C. Harrison/Venus beat Bucaro/Lock 6-3 6-4, Kante/Takura beat Saleh/Santiago 6-4 6-4 and Basilashvili/Melzer beat Reed/Sock 4-6 6-3 10-7.
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.
Because of rain, the Battle of the two Virginia residents in the tournament was postponed 24 hours. Denis Kudla and Somdev Devvarman will be hoping to get it on Tuesday night, but before that, tons of other matches will be served up on the Har-Tru clay.
Starting with Christian Harrison and Steve Johnson. The younger Harrison blitzed through qualifying and is looking sharp as he prepares to take on Johnson, who according to an article in the local newspaper, is going through the slow learning process of clay court tennis. At the same time, Michael Venus will take on Donald Young, Mischa Zverev will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, and Greg Jones will play Tim Smyczek.
Those matches, weather permitting, will be followed by Jack Sock and Alex Kuznetsov, who will be looking to clinch his French Open wild card. Also scheduled for action are Bradley Klahn and Nico Barrientos and Facundo Arguello vs. Reid Carleton. Peter Polansky and Domonic Cotrone will also resume their suspended match.
On the stadium court, Michael Russell, who was spotted on the practice courts hitting with Tim Smyczek, will play Suk-Young Jeong, and Taro Daniel will play Ryan Harrison. On the outer courts, Wayne Odesnik will play Denys Molchanov and Frank Dancevic will play Ilija Bozoljac.
The doubles matches are Kante/Takura vs. Saleh/Santiago, Bucaro/Lock vs. C. Harrison/Venus, Reed/Sock vs. Melzer/Basilashvili, Jones/Polansky vs. Barrientos/Molchanov and Rice/Thornley vs. Gonzales/Letcher.
And don’t worry. A Taro Daniel interview is forthcoming.