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2013 U.S. Open Champion Rafa Nadal Hits Grand Slam Title No. 13

Monday, September 9, 2013

2013 U.S. Open Champion Rafa Nadal chalks up his 13th Grand Slam Title

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal crowned his brilliant year by defeating world number one Novak Djokovic 6-2 3-6 6-4 6-1 to win the U.S. Open men's singles title at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.

The number two ranked Spaniard added a second grand slam crown this season to his French Open triumph when the top-seeded Serb dumped a forehand into the net, sending Nadal down onto his back before rolling face down and sobbing in joy.

The triumph improved Nadal's career total to 13 grand slam wins, moving him one ahead of Australian Roy Emerson and into third on the all-time list behind Roger Federer (17) and Pete Sampras (14).

source: Yahoo Sports
Phots by: AP

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WIMBLEDON DAY 9: Five Sets Finishes Federer, Tsonga is ON A ROLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates after taking out Switzerland's Roger Federer in the 2011 Wimbledon Championships Men's Quarterfinals.

Roger Federer
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first player ever to overturn a two-set deficit and beat Roger Federer in a Grand Slam match in the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Wednesday. The Frenchman demonstrated all his flair and power as he rallied to defeat the six-time champion 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Centre Court.

"For me it's just amazing," said Tsonga. "The feeling is like maybe beating
[Rafael] Nadal in Roland Garros, so it's just amazing. And for me it will be, for sure, one of the best memories in my career anyway."

"I felt so good on the court. I was quick. I was just perfect today. Every time I was feeling like a dream. Even at two sets down, because I was in the quarter-finals again Roger Federer. The stadium was full. I was not ridiculous. I was in my match. I'm the kind of player who likes these big moments. So I hope I will have some more."

Federer had commanded a 178-0 record when winning the first two sets in a Grand Slam match, and had only previously lost a two-set lead in five-set matches twice before in his career. The first instance came against Lleyton Hewitt in the 2003 Davis Cup semi-finals, before David Nalbandia repeated the feat in the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai final.

World No. 19 Tsonga is through to the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the first time, having fallen to Andy Murray in the 2010 quarter-finals at the All England Club. The Frenchman made his major breakthrough at the 2008 Australian Open, where he beat Rafael Nadal to reach his first final before finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic. Two years later he reached the semi-finals in Melbourne for the second time, when he was beaten by Federer in straight sets.

For a place in the final, Tsonga will face World No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who ended Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic's dream run with a four-set win.

Tsonga takes a 5-2 career lead into his eighth clash with Djokovic. Their last meeting came in the 2010 Australian Open quarter-finals, when Tsonga prevailed in five sets.

The Le Mans native had advanced to the last eight for the loss of just one set, against Grigor Dimitrov in the second round, but suffered from nerves in the early stages against Federer and paid the price as too many unforced errors saw him surrender his serve in the second game. Federer did not relinquish the lead, saving one break point in the fifth game but was otherwise dominant on serve as he closed out the opener.

Both players settled into a high level in the 47-minute second set, in which neither player was able to break serve. In the subsequent tie-break, Federer seized the initiative, racing to a 5-0 advantage before closing out the seemingly commanding two-set lead with a forehand winner.

The coach-less Tsonga did not let his head go down, though. Instead, the Frenchman stepped in to attack Federer and broke the Swiss’ serve for the first time in the match in the third game after converting his third opportunity with a forehand winner on the run that caught the edge of the line. Federer looked to repair the damage in the latter stages of the set, twice holding a 0/30 advantage on the Tsonga serve in the eighth and 10th games. He was unable to build further, though, and Tsonga’s comeback began as he clinched his third set point with an unreturned serve.

The 12th-seeded Tsonga swiftly built on his momentum, going after a Federer second serve in the third game of the fourth set and breaking down the Swiss’ defences with a blistering forehand winner. Solid on serve, Tsonga coolly went on to level the match with a love service hold in the 10th game.

With Federer reeling, Tsonga took full advantage, bullying the 16-time Grand Slam champion with his booming forehand and drawing a crucial error in the first game of the fifth set to gain an early service break. Federer would earn no chances to regain the break, and Tsonga went on to close out victory in three hours and eight minutes.

"I served just unbelievable," assessed Tsonga. "I feel really confident on this shot. I hope it will continue. It is difficult to play against him because you don't know exactly what he's thinking, what's happening in his head. He has all the time the same behaviour, and it's difficult because he plays so fast. You don't know if he's scared or not, and it's really difficult. I didn't look at him. I was just focused on me, on my serve, and that's it."

Tsonga is the fifth Frenchman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in the Open Era, following Henri Leconte (1986), Cedric Pioline (1997), Sebastien Grosjean (2003-2004) and Richard Gasquet(2007). Pioline went on to become the only Frenchman in the Open Era to reach the final (l. to Sampras). The last Frenchman to win the title was Yvon Petra in 1946.

"It's always a tough match to lose today," said Federer, who also lost in the quarter-finals last year (l. to Berdych). "But I think Jo played great. Really from start to finish I don't remember seeing a break point after I broke him in the first game. But I was close. I had all my chances. He came up with some good stuff. So it was tough. I'm actually pretty pleased with my performance today. It's kind of hard going out of the tournament that way, but unfortunately it does happen sometimes."

The 29-year-old Swiss was looking to win his first major title since the 2010 Australian Open, and claim a record-tying seventh Wimbledon crown.

“It's the second year running that the talk has been about me equalling Pete's seven Wimbledons. I didn't feel that makes it particularly special. I love equalling any record Pete has made, but it's not the driving force behind my motivation really. I love Pete. It's always nice doing stuff that he did. But at the end of the day I'm trying to win a tournament.”

Photos by © AELTC/J.Buckle
Source: ATP World Tour

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Venus Williams To Be Awarded First Annual Caesars Tennis Classic Achievement Award

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Press Release

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams To Host Caesars Tennis ClassicAtlantic City (March 30, 2010) - Harrah's Entertainment, Caesars Atlantic City and StarGames announced today that Caesars Tennis Classic host Venus Williams will receive the first annual Caesars Tennis Classic Achievement Award during the exhibition event on Saturday, April 10, 2010 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The award recognizes a tennis personality that has contributed above and beyond their play both on and off the court. In addition to her stellar play on the court as one of the top women players in the world (she advanced to the quarterfinals of this week's Sony Ericsson Championship in Miami yesterday), Williams continues to be a great ambassador of the sport working with the UNICEF, the USTA, the WTA and the Women's Sports Foundation to promote the game and give back to different communities throughout the world. Don Marrandino, the President of the Eastern Division of Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. will present the award to her on behalf of the inaugural Caesars Tennis Classic.

The highly anticipated Caesars Tennis Classic, hosted by Williams, will feature tennis greats of past and present including Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mats Wilander and Marat Safin in a one night tennis spectacular at the newly renovated Boardwalk Hall. In addition to the Classic, Caesars will host pre and post-tournament events including the must see Tennis Village in the Palladium Ballroom at Caesars with appearances by the tennis greats. Detailed information regarding the Caesars Tennis Classic can be found at www.CaesarsTennisClassic.com.

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(PROMO) Caesars Tennis Classic Hosted By Venus Williams

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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The NY Times: U.S. Tennis Losing Ground In Developing Players

Saturday, April 4, 2009

At a time when recreational tennis is on the rise in the United States an emphasis is being placed on recruiting youngsters, Americans are conspicuous by their absence in the late-round singles draws at most professional tournaments.

Officials of the United States Tennis Association say junior development has never been more organized, with national and regional training centers, dozens of former pros as salaried coaches (with Patrick McEnroe as the general manager of elite player development) and a serious commitment to finding future champions.

“There’s no secret formula, and that’s our strength,” says Martin Blackman, a former touring pro, college coach and now the senior director for talent identification and development with the U.S.T.A. He acknowledges a “paradigm shift in the late ’80s” that opened opportunities for players in Eastern Europe and in Latin America.

“What we’re doing at the national level now is complementary and inclusive,” Blackman said.

But critics like Robert Lansdorp, the California stroke guru, and Pete Fischer, who developed Pete Sampras’s serve and his tactical all-court game, say the focus is misguided.

“Everything is fragmented,” Fischer said during a recent telephone interview from California, citing conflicting coaching techniques and different competitive priorities as inhibitors to producing champions. “I don’t see one vision. The U.S.T.A. is graded on how their players do in I.T.F. events. Who cares about that? Short-term goals get in the way of long-term goals.”

Lansdorp, who prefers one-on-one coaching to academy and training centers, said he talked to McEnroe recently.

“He has the right ideas,” Lansdorp said, “but you don’t get a champion out of a group. You have to find talent. And then you have to develop that talent.”

In a phone interview, McEnroe acknowledged the appointment of José Higueras as a national director of coaching.

“The No. 1 important thing is to get a coaching philosophy in place for our program,” McEnroe said.

Of the top 100 ranked players on the WTA Tour as of March 23, only four were American, and two were in the top 10, the Williams sisters, Serena (No. 1) and Venus (No. 6). (The other two were No. 37 Bethanie Mattek-Sands and No. 85 Jill Craybas.) By contrast, 14 Russian women were ranked among the top 100, including 10 in the top 50 and five among the top 10.

The situation is little better on the ATP men’s tour. Spain has 14 players among the first 100, including at No. 1. France has 13. Of the seven Americans in the top 100, only one, Andy Roddick (No. 6), is in the top 10.

Ten years ago, four American women were in the top 10, and 15 among the top 100. Three men from the United States were in the top 10, and 12 in the top 100.

Historically, American tennis champions have developed through a combination of player skill and drive, parental pride and persistence, and the technically sound acumen of a dedicated coach.

For all of his eccentric off-court pronouncements, Richard Williams recognized his daughters’ natural gifts and work ethic, and extracted mechanical refinements and support from a number of quality coaches (Rick Macci and Nick Bollettieri, to name a few). The result: the Williams sisters have combined for 17 Grand Slam singles titles in the last 10 years.

Bollettieri, whose tennis academy in Florida produced Andre Agassi and Jim Courier among others, said players had to be ready to work 365 days a year.

“This is what it takes to be successful in tennis in America,” he said.

The latest examples of works in progress reflect the scope of the search.

Victoria Duval, 13, whose family is from Haiti, won the U.S.T.A. National 14s last year. She lives with her mother and grandmother in Bradenton, Fla., near Bollettieri’s academy, now owned by IMG Academies. Madison Keys, 14, was a finalist in the Orange Bowl 16s, and is scheduled to make her pro debut Monday at a WTA event in Ponte Vedra, Fla.

The Williams sisters played a limited age-group schedule until the age of 14 and tailored their tournament commitments. That may explain why they still have a competitive zest while other No. 1 pros like Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters and Martina Hingis left the game before turning 25. Clijsters is planning a comeback.

The notion that young Americans won’t pay the same price for success as Russians, Serbs or other Europeans — long hours on the court, weeks away from home, fighting through competitive qualifiers or satellite events in less-attractive places — is as much a topic for debate as whether United States tennis is losing the biggest and best athletes to college scholarships in basketball, soccer and even lacrosse.

“Kids should learn to play tennis exactly the way they learn to play basketball,” said Ray Benton, a lawyer based in Washington who has been involved in the sport for decades as a player, promoter and entrepreneur. He is now the chief executive of a regional training center in College Park, Md.

Recreational recruitment is growing. QuickStart Tennis, a format for three age levels announced last year, is in 1,200 facilities, according to the U.S.T.A. The youngest, 5 to 8, play on a 36-foot court with a foam tennis ball. For preteens, the court is expanded to 60 feet with low-compression balls. The third level plays on the standard court.

“You’re going to see a dramatic improvement in our junior players between 13 and 18 in three years,” Blackman said.

Pancho Segura, who is considered a tactical Yoda in the sport, seems more skeptical. Too many young Americans, Segura said, are using extreme Western-style grips, which yield tantalizing topspin but inhibit an ability to slice, volley and adequately cover low balls.

More important, he added, “They don’t know how to win tennis matches.”

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Blake Scheduled For Match Today After Being Forced To Withdraw From Exhibition Match

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake at the SAP OpenJames Blake in San Jose, California at the SAP Open with Back Office Associates CEO Trish Kennedy at the Back Office Associates VIP Reception.

It had more of a Harlem Globetrotters feel than a high-level match, but the crowd at HP Pavilion on Monday night didn't seem all that disappointed.

Not even news that James Blake, Sampras' scheduled opponent, couldn't play because of a bad back dampened the spirit. For the second consecutive year, Tommy Haas pinch hit for an injured player (Marat Safin withdrew last year) and this time got the better of the tennis legend.

Sampras, 37, called Haas a "class act" for "saving the night for the guys here." Haas had played his first-round match an hour earlier, defeating fellow German Lars Poerschke in straight sets.

"A lot of people came to see Pete tonight, so I don't think it was really about who he was going to play," Haas said. "I played him here last year, so I thought maybe I could give him a better show, a better match this time."

Blake, who suffered back spasms during a doubles match Monday, hasn't ruled out being ready for his first-round singles match Wednesday night against Vince Spadea. Shortly before Monday's exhibition, Blake walked onto the court with tournament director Bill Rapp and broke the news to the crowd.

"I'm sorry," Blake said. "I just can't go out there and give it my best. I'm going to go back and visit the trainer. I hope to be out there Wednesday."

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James Blake Begins SAP Open In Exhibition Match Against Pete Sampras

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake SAP Open
In an interview Blake said, "Monday's going to be a lot of fun. I did an exhibition with him last year, and we had a really good match. He's obviously one of the great champions we've ever had in the sport if not the greatest. It's a lot of fun being around someone like that, a great tennis mind. Someone who can still teach you plenty.

You know, it's not really pressure packed, we're just having fun. He still obviously has the game that he can compete, you know, for one match or two matches at a time. I think what's gotten him the most is he wasn't able to do the grind all year, playing three out of five sets every other day and playing match after match and getting on the practice court and putting in the time. But on a given day, he can put up a pretty good fight."

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake SAP Open

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