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A Major Event For The Preservation And Rememberance Of The Life And Contributions Of American Tennis Great Althea Gibson At 2019 U.S. Open

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Althea Gibson Monument Unveiled On Day One of 2019 U.S. Open

The historic occasion of  the Althea Gibson Statue Unveiling on Monday, September 26, 2019, the first day of the U.S. Open, raised so many different levels of thoughts and feelings.  The day was beautiful, the weather was good and the crowd was large, we were about to witness a tremendous turn around in the consistent lack of preservation and honor that Ms. Gibson has long deserved.

The greatness that Ms. Gibson brought to the Black community, the tennis world and America should have already afforded her legacy the dignity and respect that many who have done far less have already received.

This incredible Black woman was the first to break the color barrier of the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) in 1950, and played in the U. S. National Tennis Championships in Forest Hills. She became the first African-American player to play in Wimbledon in 1951. She won the French Open Championship in 1956. Ms. Gibson won the U.S. National Championships and Wimbledon in 1957 and 1958. These victories were especially historic because the winner’s trophy was presented to her by Queen Elizabeth.

Ms. Gibson also broke the color barrier in golf, launching her golf career in 1964 and joining the
Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

On the day of the Unveiling, Immediate Past United States Tennis Association (USTA) President Katrina Adams, and former tennis professionals Leslie Allen and Zina Garrison, all gave tribute to, and discussed the depth of what Ms. Gibson meant to them and the role that her mentorship played in their becoming successful players. Witnessing these Black women honor the fact that had there been no Althea Gibson, they would not be where they are today, paid well deserved, respectful and loving tribute to yet another history making and door opening Black American woman.

American tennis great Billie Jean King, Angela Buxton, Ms. Gibson's former doubles partner, and the creator of the monument, Eric Goulder, also discussed and paid wonderful tribute to Ms. Gibson. Of particular note was Mr. Goulder's detailing of his concept in creating the monument.  During an interview he talked about, "The bust portion sitting atop a box, the box representing the box that the world tried to keep her in, and her now sitting atop that box she is depicted having broken out of it." And that, "Her shoulder is especially depicted in the way that it is, because so many now stand on it."

Talking to Mr. Goulder brought so much more conceptual meaning to his work. Upon returning to the statue, I now saw it in a totally different light, and was also spiritually enlightened by it.

Ms. Buxton shared shared memories of her long-time friend. “We won both the French and Wimbledon doubles together with my arm around her both times at the closing ceremonies … She slowly became the Jackie Robinson of tennis and I was soon referred to as the Pee Wee Reese, who without saying a word indicated ‘This is my friend.’”

The sculpture also will activate an augmented reality experience. Developed by MRM/McCann, visitors will be able to activate exclusive content about Althea Gibson’s life and legacy by focusing the Augmented Reality (AR) Viewfinder found within the 2019 US Open app onto the sculpture.  Narrated by Billie Jean King, the additional AR experience traces Althea’s humble roots, her early interest and involvement in tennis, her career and her legacy through video footage, photos and graphics.  Fans can also view the AR experience anywhere by using the APP to place a full-size 3D “hologram” of the sculpture into their surroundings and re-live the experience again or for the very first time.component that brings Gibson's life and career to life for fans on site during the Open via the US Open mobile app.

This honor that the USTA has bestowed upon Ms. Gibson shines such a brighter light on the historic and current day value of the life of Althea Gibson. Later in the day, I stood and watched people of many different cultures stop and observe the monument, take photos in front of it or standing beside it, and reading her quote that is engraved on one of the surrounding granite blocks, "I hope that I have accomplished just one thing: that I have been a credit to tennis and my country.

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Zina Garrison Settles Discrimination Suit Against USTA

Friday, September 18, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Zina Garrison Settles USTA LawsuitNEW YORK -- Former Fed Cup captain Zina Garrison has settled her racial discrimination lawsuit with the U.S. Tennis Association.

Papers filed in federal court on Wednesday show that a deal was signed on Aug. 27, though its terms were not disclosed.

U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier said the association is happy the case was resolved and was looking forward to working with Garrison in the future.

Garrison filed her lawsuit in February, saying she was treated unfairly because she was paid a lower salary than Davis Cup coach Patrick McEnroe and was held to higher standards.

Attorneys on both sides did not immediately return messages for comment.

The USTA announced in December 2007 that 2008 would be Garrison's final season at the helm.

Garrison, the first black captain of the U.S. Fed Cup team, replaced Billie Jean King in 2004. As a player, Garrison was the 1990 Wimbledon runner-up, becoming the first black woman since Althea Gibson in 1958 to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

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No Glitch As Serena Takes Out Glatch; Prior To Open Beginning Serena Throws First Pitch

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Serena Williams, USA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It is unlikely that Serena Williams has ever been described as bashful.

When the 11-times grand slam champion was asked to take a look back at her U.S. Open career on Monday, she said her younger self would find the 2009 version of Serena as "super cool."

The world number two opened the defense of her title at Flushing Meadows with an easy 6-4 6-1 victory over another American, Alexa Glatch, on Monday and then quickly turned her thoughts to her memoir "On the line."

Williams said she wrote the book to help motivate people and inspire them to make the best of themselves and was asked what the 10-year-old Serena would think of the 27-year-old incarnation.

"I think that I would just think that this Serena Williams today is super cool - I would love to get her autograph," she said.

"I think she would have been my idol because growing up there weren't too many black people. I loved Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil. I would have had a little favoritism toward myself and Venus (Williams)."

The Wimbledon and Australian Open champion said the way the Williams sisters overcame childhood struggles to each become world number one should provide others with the inspiration to achieve their dreams.

"That's another reason I wrote it because I felt that what makes a champion isn't how well they do," she said. "It's about how well they can recover when they fall, or if they fall."

Serena slipped outside the top 100 in 2006 after a series of injuries, only to bounce back by winning the Australian Open in January 2007.

"I love Muhammad Ali, he went to jail for a period of time and he came back on top of the world," she said.

"I just thought (about) what it would be like. I was on top of the world and then things came crashing down. You get to see people who are really your friends and you get to see people that really stick by your side and how you can recover from that and stay strong.

"I just think anyone can do it. You just have to have a kind of guide sometimes to get there."

Serena Williams Throws Out The Ceremonial First Pitch

On Friday, August 28, defending U.S. Open singles champion Serena Williams threw out the ceremonial first pitch, working from the rubber and tossing the ball way over the head of catcher Jose Molina.

After throwing out the first pitch at the new Yankee Stadium in the Yankees vs. White Sox game, Serena headed out to the newly opened Porto Vivo in Huntington. There, Williams, her manager and her sister Isha had dinner with the restaurant’s co-owners Joy Mangano (of Home Shopping Network fame) and Philipp Seipelt, along with Seipelt's fiancee Christie Mangano.

So, what does a tennis great eat the week before the U.S. Open? Williams had steamed littleneck clams and grilled branzino, washed down with nothing more intoxicating than water. The wine cellar would have to wait.

Shown in the photo are (l-r) Joy Mangano, Serena Williams and Philipp Seipelt. Photo from Porto Vivo.


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The New York Times: Garrison Isn't Backing Down From Lawsuit

Thursday, July 2, 2009

By Harvey Araton
Straight Sets - Tennis Blog Of The New York Times

Black Tennis Pro's Zina Garrison The New York Times Garrison Isn't Backing Down From LawsuitWIMBLEDON, England — Zina Garrison’s racial discrimination lawsuit against the United States Tennis Association has largely been panned in the greater American tennis community as without merit, based on her mediocre record as the United States’ Fed Cup captain from 2004 to 2008.

But in an interview Wednesday afternoon after playing in a Ladies’ Invitation Doubles match, she said she was not backing down from, and had no intention of dropping, the suit.

“What I’ll say is that it’s not what it is being made out to be,” she said. “I’m still the same person people always knew. I’m still an honest and truthful person.”

Garrison was fired after posting a 5-5 record as captain and failing to lead a nation that had been a longtime Fed Cup power to even one final, replaced by Mary Joe Fernandez. She filed the suit last February in a Manhattan federal court. It charged, among other things, different pay scales and treatment for her and Patrick McEnroe, the American Davis Cup captain, who has won one Davis Cup and had more success in getting the best American players — mainly Andy Roddick — to participate.

Her stance is that her tenure as captain began as American stars — Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati — were departing the sport, and Lindsay Davenport, a standby when Billie Jean King was captain, was tiring of the commitment. That left Venus and Serena Williams as the only imposing American players.

Venus Williams, a good friend of Garrison’s, often committed, but Serena Williams seldom played.

Asked if she believes, in retrospect, that she, as an African-American, was hired to entice the Williams sisters to play and not based on her coaching ability, Garrison nodded. Hence, her charge of racial discrimination, given her belief that her job security was largely based on the U.S.T.A.’s expectation that African-American players would come through for an African-American captain.

“That’s pretty accurate,” Garrison said.

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Zina Garrison Cooks On "What's Cooking?"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

On April 30, former tennis star and Fed Cup Captain Zina Garrison made an appearance on WTTG Fox 5 Washington's "What's Cooking?" with Gregg Greenberg of RSVP Catering.

RSVP Catering offered an auction item of a Buffet Dinner for 20 including special guest Zina Garrison for the 2009 Tennis Ball that was held on Friday, May 8. The event, hosted by the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, benefits young minds in the classroom and on the tennis court.

Here is the video footage of the segment:

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ESPN Anchor: Zina Garrison, "The Queen Of Black-American Tennis"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Very shortly into the video, watch Zina Garrison's 'side eye' when this chick says that she was the "queen of Black-American tennis."

Alright, I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, but not this wacky chick. At what point in history was there a 'king' or 'queen' of "Black-American tennis," other than in this chick's mind.

And when was there this "Black-American tennis?" And how do you play it?

If you read Black Tennis Pro's on the regular, you will note that while I highlight Black tennis professionals, tennis is tennis. There is no White tennis, or Black tennis... it's tennis. Now the distinction comes with the fact that we have players of a multitude of ethnic backgrounds. How that background has affected their participation in the sport of tennis is where I come in.

This interview on ESPN, under the guise of 'Black History Month,' clearly was seeking to get Zina Garrison to speak to her lawsuit against the USTA, and in doing so the lead in was about this "Black-American tennis."

As an African-American learning to play tennis at a predominately White high school, I came to know and love the sport of tennis, not Black tennis - but tennis. A sport dominated by White players yes, but still... tennis.

Why are people who don't know a damn thing about a sport allowed to conduct interviews as such?

Yet one more thing to make you go hmmmm?

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Meritorious Or Not, Garrison's Lawsuit Contains Hurtful Words

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Zina Garrison Sues USTAAs a player, Zina Garrison was known for her speed. She was pigeon-toed, not at all imposing. But when she was on the other side of the net, there seemed to be four Zinas, one for every corner of the court.

In her own way, she was a pioneer among African-American female tennis players, sandwiched between Althea Gibson, whom she befriended in the last years of the legend's life, and the Williams sisters. In fact, she was a bit of a prequel to Venus and Serena Williams, emerging from Houston's inner-city public courts to become a junior national champion who rose to as high as No. 4 in the world.

Unlike the Williamses, Garrison never won a Grand Slam singles title. Yet she won 14 singles and 20 doubles titles, finishing with a solid 587-270 singles record. Her personal highlight reel features a 1989 triumph over Chris Evert in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, a win that sent Evert into retirement. Then there was Garrison's run through Wimbledon the following year. She eliminated French Open champion Monica Seles in the quarters and the world No. 1 Steffi Graf in the semis before losing to friend and mentor Martina Navratilova in the final.

Now comes the flipside – an ugly lawsuit against the USTA alleging racial discrimination in the organization's treatment of Garrison in her five-year tenure as Fed Cup caption.

Captain Garrison was 5-5 in Fed Cup matches and never reached a final. But there were highlights there, too. Just maybe not enough for the USTA, which chose not to bring her back at the end of 2007. They let her coach one more year, giving her a No. 2 "coach," Mary Joe Fernandez, who was also publicly announced as her successor. Last year, in essence, Garrison wasn't even a lame duck. She had no legs.

Race suits are never pretty, even when they are clear, easy and incontrovertible – which this one isn't. Most often they disintegrate into he said/she said affairs, where both sides are ultimately bruised. Or they're settled and only the lawyers win.

This isn't the USTA's only brush with alleged racial discrimination. It is also being sued by former administrator Marvin Dent in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Dent, who is black, alleges he was bypassed for the position of director of tennis at the National Tennis Center in favor of Whitney Kraft, who is white. Dent also alleges a pattern of discrimination at the USTA, which it has denied.

Three years ago, the USTA entered into a consent decree with New York's attorney general that forced it to create an open process for hiring chair umpires. That followed a suit by two black umpires, alleging the USTA allowed racist comments directed toward African-American umpires. The decree lasted two years.

Garrison alleges unequal treatment relative to her counterpart, U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe – specifically unequal pay and unequal resources. She also argues that while she was never given more than one-year deals, Fernandez, with as much coaching experience as me, was signed for three years out of the box – and at a salary higher than Garrison's, the lawsuit alleges.

Garrison claims that the USTA may seek to justify Fernadez's deal by saying she is required to take on additional public duties.

But perhaps more disturbing are the alleged comments attributed to Sara Fornaciari, the Fed Cup chair. If true, they embody the underlying thread of racism that still must be eliminated.

Garrison alleges in the suit that Fornaciari "routinely referred to Garrison as the 'Black Ghost,' to impugn Garrison's reliability."

At a Fed Cup semifinal in Stowe, Vt., in July 2007, Fornaciari allegedly told Garrison after a media interview: "That was the most intelligent media comment I have ever heard you give."

Garrison took it to imply that she was "generally inarticulate and stupid," according to the suit.

In August that same year, Garrison alleges that Fornaciari told her to go to a tent at a USTA sectional event because she might "get a lot of minority business." Garrison says in the suit she was "troubled by the implication that she could network only with other minorities."

Some of the allegations may seem benign, but they tugged at Garrison, who writes that she later called Fornaciari to say she was unhappy with the tone of her comments.

"In response," says the suit, "Fornaciari launched into a vitriolic attack against Garrison and other African-Americans, including the Williams sisters. She told Garrison she was trying to 'help' her, stating, 'Let's face it. You can't talk. Nobody ever knows what you are saying.' "

Garrison challenged the tone of Fornaciari's remarks, but Fornaciari, according to the suit, "became irate and announced in a loud and angry tone, 'I will never speak to another black person again.' "

The USTA would not make Fornaciari available but had a statement:

"The USTA takes all allegations of discrimination seriously and takes pride in its numerous diversity initiatives and achievements," USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said.

"The USTA elected not to renew Ms. Garrison's Fed Cup captaincy based on her performance, and strongly denies any allegation of discrimination asserted by Ms. Garrison.

"During Ms. Garrison's five-year tenure as captain, the United States Fed Cup team did not advance to the Fed Cup final, its longest drought in the competition's 45-year history."

The suit also alleges that Garrison was also blamed for not being able to regularly recruit the Williams sisters, the two top American players, to play the Fed Cup (more than once, one or both of them would commit to playing, only to be sidelined by injury, which the suit alleges the USTA viewed with suspicion); and that in replacing Garrison the USTA wanted a "public face" and concluded she did not have "the look" it wanted for the team.

Like some other sports, and numerous corporations, the USTA likes to tout its "diversity initiatives," whatever they may be. That's all well and good, but when the words from the men and women charged with leading these initiatives and their enterprises represent the antithesis of what those initiatives aim to achieve, it tells me we still have a very long way to go.

And some places are not getting there fast enough.

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Tennis Ace Zina Garrison: Fed Cup Bouncing By USTA Was Racial

Monday, February 23, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Zina Garrison Sues USTAThe New York Daily News is reporting that former tennis star Zina Garrison says she was dumped as captain of the Fed Cup team after objecting to racist comments about Venus and Serena Williams made by a top U.S. Tennis official.

Garrison made the claim in a race discrimination lawsuit filed Friday against the United States Tennis Association in Manhattan Federal Court. She also said she was paid less than her white counterpart, Patrick McEnroe, who led the men's team.

Garrison, who in 1990 became the first African-American woman to make the Wimbledon finals, was captain of the U.S. Fed Cup team, which competes against other nations' best players, for five years. In Garrison's tenure, the U.S. never made the Fed Cup final - the longest drought in the 45-year history of the competition.

"The USTA elected not to renew Garrison's Fed Cup captaincy based on her performance, and strongly denies any allegations of discrimination asserted by Ms. Garrison," said USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier.

Garrison says Fed Cup Chairwoman Sara Fornaciari once complained to her that Venus Williams hadn't called her back about playing in a tournament, saying: "Venus was like you and just like Serena; none of you people call back."


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August Wednesday Coaches Corner: American Women's Olympic Coach Zina Garrison

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Zina Garrison
Originally published by Black Enterprise Magazine, this article perfectly shines the light on Zina Garrison who will serve as coach to the 2008 U.S. Women's Olympic team. Makes me proud to spell my name W - O - M - A - N!!

Black Tennis Pro's Zina GarrisonLong before the Williams sisters hit the pros, Zina Garrison was paving the way for African American women on the tennis courts. An impressive 15-year career, her record, which boasts 37 titles (14 singles, 20 doubles, and three mixed doubles), is proof of her ability to tear up the courts.

Garrison began playing tennis at age 10, on the city courts in her hometown of Houston. Her brother's girlfriend in high school had introduced her to tennis and at the time, Garrison had absolutely no knowledge of the sport. Sitting on the benches of MacGregor Park, she picked up the basics of the sport. Garrison began to understand the power behind the tennis racket when she hit her first ball over the fence. From here she learned about "choking up the racket" and keeping the ball inside the court. The high light of her childhood moment was when Bill Cosby came to Houston for a tennis clinic and picked a young Garrison out of the audience to play against him. She would compete in her first tournament at age 11.

Unafraid of being watched by spectators, Garrison's technique on the court grew quickly. During high school, her skill level exceeded most of the other students on the team. Her senior year in high school would be an intense one when she became the No. 1 junior player in the state by the time she turned 17 years old, and the first African American woman to be ranked No. 1 in Texas. That same year, Garrison became the No. 1 junior player inBlack Tennis Pro's Zina Garrison the world and would travel to Japan to play in her first international tournament. Garrison was 18 when she played at Wimbledon for the first time.

"There were other black women at Wimbledon and the competition was very stiff. It was a very humbling experience," Garrison remembers. "The biggest challenge that black women faced in achieving excellence in sports, or at least those that I've experienced, was that it was often more difficult for us to garner the respect of the larger community and transcend racial overtones," says Garrison.

With Billie Jean King serving as her mentor, Garrison understands more than anyone else the importance of determination and hard work in achieving your goals. Serving as assistant coach to Billie Jean King, Garrison helped guide Venus Williams to Olympic gold-medal performances in women's singles. Garrison received the same opportunity in Sydney, Australia. She credits Billie Jean King with helping her become a great athlete.

"Billie Jean King taught me how to be a strong woman and how to fulfill my dreams," Garrison explains "She helped me discover my passions even though I was shy and a bit of an introvert, t tended to stay behind the scenes, and she taught me to step out of that mold and go for things I really wanted." Through Billie Jean King, Garrison also learned that what defines an amazing athlete is what is in his or her heart. "You can have all the Black Tennis Pro's Zina Garrisonability in the world, all the discipline and concentration, but you need to have a heart in order to succeed."

Garrison turned pro in 1982 and first appeared No 29 in the world rankings. She reached her career high seven years later when she ranked No 4. Garrison was the first African American to win an Olympic tennis medal when she struck gold at the 1988 summer games in Seoul, Korea, with Pam Shriver. Her hard work paid off when she became the first black woman since Althea Gibson to reach a Grand Slam final in 1990. Retiring from a long career on the pro tour in 1997, Garrison wasn't finished with tennis just yet. There was still work to be done.

This year, Garrison was the first African American to be appointed as Fed Cup captain She accepted this role as the only African American to hold the title in the 40-year history of the Black Tennis Pro's Zina Garrisonwomen's international competition. Her most recent accomplishment happened on February 18 of this year when Garrison was chosen to head the women's U.S. Olympic tennis team. She will head to the 2004 Olympic Games, traveling in Athens, Greece, with the tennis competition being staged at the Athens Olympic Tennis Center.

"All the women will have an opportunity to win a gold, silver, or bronze medal. Far me, it's going to be very challenging when it comes time to [decide who will] make the team for both singles and doubles, because I will have so many great players to choose from," explains the 41-year-old tennis ace training individuals who have different personalities and playing styles and getting them to work together as a team is a challenge that she is looking forward to. "The individuals who are chosen for the Olympic team are perfectionists. After all, they are the best in the country. But they are also very professional."

Besides her high-profile career as a tennis champion, Garrison has not forgotten her roots and continues to give back to her community. It was her lifelong dream to open her All-Court Tennis Academy, which opened its doors in 1991. The Zina Garrison All Court Tennis program is her way of giving inner-city children the opportunity to learn about themselves through the game of tennis and to help build self-esteem.

Black Tennis Pro's Zina Garrison"I wanted kids in Houston to have this program because tennis is such a great sport; because you can learn so much about yourself and your character," she says "I wanted to give something back to the inner-city kids and have them take advantage of learning more about tennis. This program helps get these kids to be the best that they can be."

She also introduced the Zina Garrison Foundation, which provides funds and support for the homeless, youth organizations, anti drug groups, and other charitable groups.

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Florida's Rolle Part of New-Look U.S. Fed Cup Team

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The U.S. Fed Cup team was swept 3-0 in live play in the semifinals this past April, but the USTA is hoping the loss, and a new-look line-up, will kick-start a new generation of U.S. women players.

When the Williams sisters took a pass on the tie and Lindsay Davenport was still recovering from an illness, captain Zina Garrison and coach-and-future-captain Mary Joe Fernandez decided to go with the rookie singles squad of Vania King and Florida's Ahsha Rolle, both ranked outside the Top 100. The deep Russian squad, led by former US Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova (Maria Sharapova was not called to duty), moved fairly easily into the final, but not before some bright spots for the U.S.

King, with a 1-2 career win-loss record in Fed Cup for the U.S. entering the tie, stretched Anna Chakvetadze in 6-4, 7-5 loss, then gave Vera Zvonareva a scare before succumbing 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Rolle lost 6-2, 6-1 to Kuznetsova in her Davis Cup debut, but then in the "dead rubber" fourth singles match defeated Elena Vesnina in straight sets.

Rolle, a 23-year-old Miami Shores resident, employs an exciting all-court game, which can take longer to mature than the typical baseline basher.

"I think it's 'cause I have so many things in my game, like I have a one-handed backhand, I can slice, I can come to the net," Rolle says. "There's so many things that I have that I can do on each ball, whereas the girls that are young are pretty much just big hitters, they know what they want to do with each ball. I think it's taken me longer to develop my different shots and just how I want to play each point."

Rolle also has a Howitzer of a serve which benefits her on any surface, as it did during her win on the red clay in Russia.

"Ahsha served unbelievably well and I think it was amazing that she was able to keep her serve on that level for the whole match," Garrison said. "That kind of serving is a high level for anyone and is Grand Slam material."

Last year Rolle compiled her best season since turning pro in 2004. She qualified into the main draw at the Australian Open, and beat countrywoman Meghann Shaughnessy en route to the third round at Indian Wells. She then caught fire toward the end of the year with a runner-up effort at the Bronx Challenger, and defeated Tatiana Golovin en route to the third round at the US Open.

At the end of 2007 she was working toward putting an ankle injury and also some anger issues on court behind her.

"I was working with a sports psychologist for a while because I was just getting angry, then I'd lose," Rolle said at last year's US Open. "So it wasn't good. But I think I'm starting to control my emotions a little bit better. But I'm an emotional person, especially on the court. I'm competitive. So when I lose a point, then you're probably going to know I lost a point. But I'm trying to hold it together a little bit better."

She has held it together thus far in 2008, approaching the Top 100 once again (after reaching a career-high No. 82 last year), and substantiating the hundreds of thousands of dollars her parents have put behind her and her younger sister, Tiya, even tapping into their retirement fund.

For now it looks like the USTA has committed to Rolle, King, and the next generation of U.S. players for Fed Cup. It's a formula that was successful when the USTA first employed it in 2001, when new Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe took a chance with rookies Andy Roddick and James Blake. Six years later the same crew, along with the Bryan brothers, brought home the Davis Cup and have been readily on-call for the international competition ever since � a fact not lost on Garrison and Fernandez, who could not get either Venus or Serena Williams to play in 2008.

"Mary Joe Fernandez and I talked about it and we decided to take this direction since she is coming in next year as Fed Cup captain," Garrison said. "I wanted to make sure that Mary Joe had input, as they are players she will be working with next year."

This article appears in the June issue of Play Tennis Florida magazine, Official Magazine of USTA Florida, www.PlayTennisFlorida.com

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Wednesday Coaches Corner: Rodney Harmon and Zina Garrison To Lead Olympic Teams In Beijing

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's CoachesRodney Harmon and Zina Garrison will lead the American men’s and women’s tennis teams in Beijing.

Harmon has been the director of men's tennis for the USTA's player development program since 2002. "It's a tremendous honour and a great opportunity to work with some of the best players in the world at one of the greatest events in the world," said Harmon. “We have the nucleus of a very competitive international men’s team who will all be medal contenders in Beijing. I know the American men will relish the opportunity to compete on one of the biggest stages in sport.” Jay Berger has been chosen as Harmon's assistant.

Davis Cup regulars James Blake and twins Bob and Mike Bryan figure to be top choices for Harmon's Olympic roster. The U.S. tennis teams for Beijing will be based on the rankings of June 9, the day after the French Open ends.

In 2004, the American contingent came away with one medal, Mardy Fish's silver in men's singles.
Black Tennis Pro's Coaches
The USTA has also announced that Fed Cup captain Zina Garrison will be the women's Olympic tennis coach and Lori McNeil her assistant. Garrison won a gold medal and a bronze medal as a player at the 1988 Olympics, and coached the US women in 2004.

“I’m honoured to be selected again as the Olympic coach,” said Garrison. “Some of my fondest tennis memories are from the Olympics and the incomparable thrill of winning a gold medal. The goal is to share in that Olympic experience with our team this summer.”

The 2008 US Olympic tennis team will consist of up to six men and six women, with a maximum of four men and four women competing in the singles competition and a maximum of two men’s and two women’s teams competing in doubles. Olympic team selections will made by June 23.

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Zina Garrison Blogs For U.S. Fed Cup

Monday, April 28, 2008

Entry #1 - Thursday, April 17
Entry #2 - Wedneday, April 23
Entry #3 - Thursday, April 24
Entry #4 - Friday, April 25 (and #5)

Entry # 6 - Sunday, April 27

Today I asked the team to play every point and I thought all the players did a wonderful job of doing that.

Vania played great and it was really nice to see Ahsha win her match against Vesnina. Ahsha served unbelievably well and I think it was amazing that she was able to keep her serve on that level for the whole match. That kind of serving is a high level for anyone and is Grand Slam material.

The doubles match was a lot of fun and it was nice to see Liezel and Vania pull off a win. All of the girls were into it and it was a good show from a fan’s and coach’s point of view.

We found out this morning about 10:15 a.m. at practice that Kuznetsova and Chakvetadze were not going to play singles and instead Zvonareva and Vesnina were playing. I was not too surprised as I had a feeling yesterday that it might happen.

It has been an amazing experience the past five years leading the U.S. team and this is now my last tie as U.S. Fed Cup Captain.

Looking back, one tie that stands out for me is when we played Belgium in 2006 because a lot of the staff and I got sick with some kind of bug. It affected about 13 of 20 people on the trip and it was the sickest I had been in a long time. Luckily, however, most of the players were fine.

And in the past five years I have coached so many different players. I have had a little bit of everyone on my teams from the Grand Slam champions like Venus, Serena and Lindsay to the young ones. And I have had the pleasure of watching so many players, like Vania and Madison, grow up.


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Zina Garrison Blogs For U.S. Fed Cup

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Entry #1 - Thursday, April 17
Entry #2 - Wedneday, April 23
Entry #3 - Thursday, April 24

Entry #4 - Friday, April 25

There were no surprises at the draw ceremony today with the Russian lineup. Vania will face Anna in the first match tomorrow and then Ahsha plays Svetlana.

Vania and Anna played the first match last year in Stowe, which Anna won. I think Anna was playing extremely well in that match, however, I think Vania is playing much better now than she was then.

Then it will be Ahsha’s first Fed Cup match and it is going to be interesting to see how she handles everything. Ahsha and Svetlana have never played but they have similar styles. They both have big forehands, bomb serves and as far as power is concerned, they are very strong.

World rankings do not always tell the whole story about how good a player is. There could be a lot of reasons why someone is ranked where they are such as lack of playing time due to injury. Ahsha had a knee injury right after she had such a great US Open in 2007 and jumped up in the rankings - that takes away some momentum right there.

For tonight, the players are all getting together and having their own private dinner. I like to let them have fun, relax and just get ready the night before play starts.

Entry #5 - Saturday, April 26

In Vania’s match today against Anna, I thought a couple points here and there and Vania would have won. Immediately after the match, as we were walking back to the locker room, I told her, ‘That should have been your match.’

In the second match, Ahsha faced Svetlana and you know Svetlana is going to play well. It (clay) is one of her favorite surfaces, she plays well on it and she is a Grand Slam winner. And Ahsha realized she could actually stay with her.

The score does not indicate how close the match was - there were really good points in there and it was not like Ahsha got blown off the court. If someone looks at the scores, it looks like she got blown away but it was actually a pretty good match.

I was very proud of both Vania and Ahsha today. They did just what we asked – they went out and played their hardest.

Tomorrow, Vania and Svetlana play first. I told Vania for tomorrow, ‘When you have opportunities, you have to take them.’ Anytime you play a top ten player you are only going to get one or two opportunities here and there. Top ten players are not missing often so when they do, you have to take advantage of those chances.

Tonight, the girls are all in good spirits. They know they went out there, tried their best and laid it all on the line.

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Zina Garrison Blogs For U.S. Fed Cup

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Entry #1 - Thursday, April 17
Entry #2 - Wedneday, April 23
Entry #3 - Thursday, April 24

I thought we had a great practice today. It has been good that the Future Fed Cuppers, Alison and Coco, have been able to really mix in and play with the team. Liezel has been teaching them about doubles and Vania and Ahsha also had great practices today.

I’m still trying to figure out what lineup the Russians will announce at the official draw ceremony tomorrow. Dinara Safina is on the list (of players) but we have not seen her yet. Vera Zvonareva is here (as well as Elena Vesnina) though so we are trying to figure out who will play. However, I’m pretty sure that they will still have Kuznetsova and Chakvetadze in No. 1 and No. 2 singles.

Vania played Chakvetadze last year in the semifinals in Vermont. Chakvetadze won that match and I know Vania is a true competitor and would like to bounce back strong.

And I am saying to each one of the girls that you go out there and give it your best and above all, you have to believe in yourself.

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Zina Garrison Blogs For U.S. Fed Cup

Entry #1 - Thursday, April 17

Entry #2 - Wednesday, April 23

Since we arrived in Russia, I think our team has had some of the best practices since I have been U.S. Fed Cup Captain in the respect that our “Future Fed Cuppers”, Coco Vandeweghe and Alison Riske, are also practicing with the players.

Liezel Huber has been amazing. Besides being a great player, she is like a coach on the court at the same time. Ahsha Rolle and Vania King have also had very good practices and it has been a really great team atmosphere. I think it helps that a lot of girls are the same age or around the same age and know each other.

My lineup for this weekend is pretty much set already. It's going to be Vania and Ahsha in singles and Vania and Liezel in doubles. Madison has already had a lot of great practices but Ahsha has more experience and Madison is still a little young. And I like the fact that I have made a decision on the lineup ahead of time.

Tomorrow we are practicing in the morning at the Luzhniki Sport Arena and then Liezel and Vania will play doubles in the afternoon. We will also play some singles and then we have the official dinner at night.

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Zina Garrison Blogs For U.S. Fed Cup

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Zina Garrison blogs For U.S. Fed Cup

U.S. Fed Cup Captain Zina Garrison will be writing a daily blog from Moscow as she leads the U.S. team of Liezel Huber, Madison Brengle, Vania King and Ahsha Rolle against Russia in a Fed Cup Semifinal tie April 26-27. Come back each day to read Captain Garrison's thoughts exclusively on USTA.com.

It is a great developmental opportunity for the players who are going to Russia. Mary Joe Fernandez, U.S. Fed Cup Coach, and I talked about it and we decided to take this direction (with these players) since she is coming in next year as Fed Cup Captain. I wanted to make sure that Mary Joe had input, as they are players she will be working with next year. We talked long and hard about it, and I also spoke to Jean Nachand, Director of Women's Tennis with USTA Player Development.

I’m really looking forward to spending time with Liezel and getting to know her a little better. It is a great opportunity for the other players to be around someone who is at the top of her game right now. We’re going to Russia and playing people who are at the top of their game. I am just going to keep reinforcing to everyone, you never know. You go out and play your game and let things fall as they may. I’ve been giving some thought to the lineup and I think it will probably be Liezel and Vania in doubles. I’m a little more confident with Vania in the doubles spot because I’ve had her there before.

Madison has been a “Future Fed Cupper” before so she knows the atmosphere and she knows me. Ahsha has never been in this situation before, but I thought she had a great US Open last year and that she would be a good person to select. Vania was also a Future Fed Cupper. I think this will be a great opportunity for the developing talent that is coming up.

This is my last year as captain so it’s a natural thing to think about what I’m doing next. I’m going to train to become a life coach. I’ve always been a great motivator, that’s been my asset and this is something I have been dipping in for quite some time. Specifically, I want to be a sports life coach and I start my first class today. I’m pretty excited about that and hopefully in about six to eight months I will have my first client. I’m going to partner with Jackie Joyner-Kersee and we think we will be a good duo to help athletes - to help the young ones, the ones at the college level, etc. just understand the steps you have to go through to become an athlete, the steps you need to take to maintain it and then when you retire, what you have to do next.

Photo Michael Baz

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Fed Cup Captain Zina Garrison Blogs

Monday, January 28, 2008

When making a team, you have to put personalities together and see how a team jells. I was also emailing (team coach) Mary Joe Fernandez and running some things by her and also letting her know kinda how it works. I asked her what she thinks. Does she think this person or that person? That is pretty much how I’ve always done it and how I learned to do it.

I have been trying to find out who to expect on the German team. We’ll find out who they put on their team when we’re putting in our nominations. I have heard from a few players, there is a possibility of sending their girls like Muller or some of their juniors. You don’t know exactly which team someone is going to send. When you’re making a team it depends on who is injured, who is healthy, who can make the trip – a lot goes into it.

I feel really good about our team's chances. I’m very excited that Lindsay Davenport has committed to a possible three matches, if we make it to the final. Her having the opportunity to play right in her backyard in Southern California is really good and I think it is her first match back in the states since the 2006 US Open. With Germany, I feel our women are still strong enough to take whoever they send over so I think our chances are pretty good but it is a team event and you never know.

At the Australian Open last week, I felt that Sharapova came out with her A-game against Lindsay. Lindsay looked good, she just looked like she hadn’t played on the big stage in awhile, which is very much true because she hasn’t. You can get a little bit tentative, a little bit nervous and it’s a matter of her getting a few more matches under her belt. It would have been nice if she had been able to play a few more matches and then play Sharapova.

I’m one of Lindsay’s biggest fans. The great thing about Lindsay is once she decides to do something, she does commit and she commits early. You don’t necessarily have that with the other players. She just happens to be one of those players who is very good with scheduling and making a commitment and going with it. She’s always a good example especially to the young guns who are coming up.

Three weeks leading into Fed Cup are the craziest weeks for me and I’m normally extremely stressed out. It’s always really funny to me because people think the job is so easy - she just goes and she coaches a few matches but actually this is the toughest time. I not only have to think about getting the players there, you’re constantly making sure that they are healthy, getting trainers, doctors, hitting partners, dealing with the media. And I would like to have a full stand for the girls to play in front of, so selling tickets and trying to be being creative and coming up with ways all around and not just be the coach.

The difference this year is this is my last year as captain. I’ve always had someone there to kind of bounce things off of. I’m not treating it any different other than I would like to come away with a win. I did joke with Mary Joe, this time next year I’ll call you and see if you’re stressed out.

I think I’ve done a great job in the previous years. I enjoy being the captain, I enjoy being around the young women, I’ve watched some of the young ones grow, watched our young guns become women and some of them have even played Fed Cup with us. And being around Lindsay, Venus and Serena Williams- it’s been really good and some of the other veterans as well. I’ve enjoyed my experience – it’s been extremely wonderful as well, as having the opportunity to touch other lives.

Second Entry

The hardcourt surface in La Jolla we are using won’t be extremely fast but it will be a nice speed. It won’t be a slow hardcourt.

A lot of times when choosing a court, you have to think about your players and what surfaces they play better on. I knew I had Lindsay and she is a great hard-court player. You also want it at a nice pace where she can get a good stroke on the ball because Lindsay hits the ball extremely deep; she has a great serve and placement and you give her one or two punches on the ball and she’s going to put you on the run. That is what I’m expecting and hoping for her to do, and that is what she has done so well. The other players are good hard court players as well, I would take our chances on hardcourt over playing on other surfaces.

I talked to Serena about playing Fed Cup, and she told me that she would not be able to make the first round. The second round looked a lot better for her. Venus had really, really tried to make it and was trying to make it work but she’s been on the road for the last five weeks. She traveled a lot, launched her new line, graduated – it was just too much. She said she was very disappointed that she could not play, she felt she was letting me down. She really wants to play Fed Cup so that is exciting. First we have to get through the first round and keep everybody healthy.

I have very strong ties as far as playing in the San Diego area. I was in La Costa and I always loved playing out there. The people there were always really nice and I have great memories. Barry Gordy used to come out and watch me all the time. One of my best life lessons that helped shape the person I became was out there. I feel like it was character-building. I had played a horrible match, I threw my racquet down and was just kind of all over the place, and after the match Barry said to me ‘Zina, you always have to be a champion on and off the court.’ From that day on, I stuck with that, I never, ever forgot that.

What he was saying was you have to carry yourself like a champion. You can’t expect to go on the court and all of a sudden have this horrible attitude and come off the court and be another person. You always are on center stage. I never forgot that.

Then I met one of my coaches, Angel Lopez, who works at the San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club and I used to go out there and spend time with Angel. He was one of the coaches that helped me understand that tennis was 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, and that I had to work on my mind just as I had to work on my tennis game. He really helped me to mature into the player I later became. I really started getting the fact that I wasn’t just a great athlete. I had to train my mind and become a great mental athlete as well – I think that was a huge attribute of my game. I mentally played you as well as physically. Tactically I was always going after you.

In Southern California people love tennis, and to bring Fed Cup out there for the first time is great. When Davis Cup was out there, there were huge supporters and I think it is great when you can get a following like that.

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USA Fed Cup Team Led By Lindsay Davenport

Former world no. 1 Lindsay Davenport will headline for the United States' Fed Cup team that will meet Germany in a quarterfinal next week in La Jolla, California. The best-of-five tie will be staged outdoors at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club from February 2-3.

U.S. Captain Zina Garrison announced that Davenport would be joined on the team by 34-year-old Lisa Raymond, 22-year-old Ashley Harkleroad and 26-year- old Laura Granville. The German team, captained by Barbara Rittner, will feature Tatjana Malek, Julia Goerges, Sabine Lisicki and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.

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Zina Garrison Out As Fed Cup Captain in 2009

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The USTA has announced that former doubles partners Zina Garrison and Mary Joe Fernandez will serve as Captain and Coach of the U.S. Fed Cup Team, respectively, for 2008.

In addition, it was announced that Fernandez will become the United States Fed Cup Captain in 2009. Fernandez will work closely with Garrison and the team for the 2008 Fed Cup campaign as she transitions from Coach to Captain. The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club will host the 2008 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas quarterfinal between the United States and Germany on February 2-3 in La Jolla, Calif.

“I anticipate an exciting final year as Captain in the hopes of bringing the Fed Cup home to the U.S.,” said Zina Garrison. “Mary Joe and I are looking forward to building a strong transition as she evolves from Coach to Captain over the course of 2008. I can think of no better person to assist as Coach in 2008 and serve as Captain in 2009.”

“I am thrilled to be part of the U.S. Fed Cup team once again,” said Fernandez. “Fed Cup was one of the most important and memorable times of my career. I am excited to be working with Zina in 2008, and then taking on the Captain’s role in 2009.”

"We have a great history in this competition and one of our top priorities is to bring the Fed Cup back to the U.S.," said Jane Brown Grimes, USTA President and Chairman of the Board. "With Zina and Mary Joe working together, we like our chances in 2008."

Zina and Mary Joe have been two of the most committed Fed Cup competitors and certainly two of the greatest ambassadors for the sport today, and we’re thrilled they will be working together in 2008,” said Arlen Kantarian, CEO, Professional Tennis, USTA. “In addition, we are very pleased that Mary Joe - one of the classiest and most respected people in the game - has accepted the role of Captain for 2009.”

The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, which hosted sold-out crowds for a U.S. Davis Cup first round tie in 2006, has been selected as the host site for the quarterfinal between the United States and Germany, February 2-3. The USTA will construct a temporary stadium for the two day, best-of-five match quarterfinal.

Fernandez, 36, helped the U.S. Fed Cup team reach the finals in four of her six years as a member of the U.S. Fed Cup team, including a title win in 1996. Overall, she posted a 16-10 Fed Cup record (12-8 singles) in 18 Fed Cup ties. Fernandez is a three-time Olympic medal winner, capturing a gold medal in doubles and bronze medal in singles in Barcelona in 1992, and a second doubles gold medal in Atlanta in 1996. In her pro career, she captured seven WTA Tour singles titles and 19 doubles titles. She won two Grand Slam doubles titles, one at the 1991 Australian Open and one at the 1996 French Open. Fernandez is a well-known ESPN
commentator and has been broadcasting US Open Series tournaments for the past four years. She also is one of the commentators for CBS Sports during its coverage of the US Open.

Garrison, 44, is the 18th U.S. Fed Cup Captain since the competition began in 1963 and first African-American Captain in the competition’s history. She debuted as the U.S. Fed Cup Captain in 2004, succeeding Billie Jean King, and has led the team to one runner-up and three semifinal finishes in her four-year tenure. As a player, Garrison spent eight years on the U.S. Fed Cup team (1984-87, 1989-91, 1994), helping the U.S. win three titles and posting a 22-5 overall record (7-4 singles) in 23 ties. Garrison also represented the U.S. at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, winning a gold medal in doubles and a bronze medal in singles.

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the world’s largest annual international women’s team competition with 86 countries competing in 2008. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, the last coming in 2000, and is one of eight nations competing for the 2008 Fed Cup title as part of the Fed Cup World Group.

Source -- USTA

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