Tennis Bloggers http://www.tennisbloggers.com Serving up all things tennis including on-court musings and off-court scoop Thu, 03 Jul 2014 03:00:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.1 “The Days of Roger Federer” Book Now Available For Sale http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5498 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5498#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 03:00:11 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5498 “The Days of Roger Federer” – a book that documents matches, life events and facts on tennis legend Roger Federer with unique day-by-day summaries – is now available for sale in hard and electronic formats. The book is available for $19.95 where books are sold, including here on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1937559378/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=10D3VB2K77DG8P0DHHEV&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846 The book is also available [...]

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“The Days of Roger Federer” – a book that documents matches, life events and facts on tennis legend Roger Federer with unique day-by-day summaries – is now available for sale in hard and electronic formats.

The book is available for $19.95 where books are sold, including here on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1937559378/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=10D3VB2K77DG8P0DHHEV&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846 The book is also available in electronic formats, including on Kindle for $7.99 here:

http://www.amazon.com/Days-Roger-Federer-Randy-Walker-ebook/dp/B00LFQ8BH2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid= The book is published by New Chapter Press and was compiled and written by Randy Walker.

“The Days of Roger Federer” chronicles the trophy-laden career of Federer, one of the world’s most well-known, popular and respected athletes, regarded by many as the greatest tennis player of all time. The book is unique for its day-by-day format: every day of the calendar year is presented with a corresponding anniversary or a bit of fact or trivia, including hallmark victories, statistics, quirky happenings and quotations.

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion: The Full Extraordinary Story” by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “On This Day In Tennis History” by Randy Walker (www.TennisHistoryApp.com), “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.

The Days Of Roger Federer

The Days Of Roger Federer

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Who’s The Favorite To Win The Men’s Singles Title at Wimbledon? http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5489 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5489#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 22:25:46 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5489 This year’s Wimbledon championship started out on a regular note with no major upsets in the first few rounds. There are some strong challengers and amongst them are seasoned veterans, who were out of the top rankings. But it is such presence that makes this year’s championship one of the most exciting. This is the [...]

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Andy Murray

Andy Murray

This year’s Wimbledon championship started out on a regular note with no major upsets in the first few rounds. There are some strong challengers and amongst them are seasoned veterans, who were out of the top rankings. But it is such presence that makes this year’s championship one of the most exciting. This is the time in the championship when the favourites have found their rhythm and settled into a comfortable run for the crown. With the weather being relatively fair this time, there have not been many delays either. The sliding roof on centre court still attracts a lot of attention even though this is not the first year that it is being used.

The odds seemed to heavily stacked in favour of Novak Djokovic winning the Wimbledon championship at 2/1.  Betfair gives these odds for the Serb as against 16/5 for Andy Murray, 9/2 for Rafael Nadal, 6/1 for Roger Federer, and 18/1 for Grigor Dimitrov.

The crowd favourite and defending champion Andy Murray looks to be in good form this year after having broken a long drought of a Brit not having the grass surface major since Fred Perry in 1936. He is the first Brit to have done it in the open era of the championship. The Scot from Glasgow had a smooth ride winning all his first round matches without dropping a set. He now enters the round of 16 where he faces the South African Kevin Anderson.

The others who could be serious challenges to Murray so far would be the seven-time championship winner Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and the newest entrant as a strong contender for the crown, the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who is nicknamed Baby Fed on the tour because of his playing style.

Roger Federer looked solid through all his opening games, his age not being a deterrent to the champion that he is. Rafael Nadal though nagged by injury in the past displayed ample athleticism on-court and fresh from his win at Roland Garros is a serious contender. However, his ascent to the round of 16 has not been as smooth compared to his fellow contenders. Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov along with the others are sure to provide some spectacular tennis in the coming week at the All England Tennis Racquet and Croquet club as with every year. Betfair odds promise a great tournament ahead.

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Novak Djokovic To Join John McEnroe, Henrik Lundqvist, Edward Norton For Pre-US Open Fundraiser For Johnny Mac Tennis Project http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5482 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5482#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 16:25:13 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5482 Novak Djokovic will join Hall of Famer John McEnroe, NY Ranger superstar goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, actor Edward Norton and other tennis stars, legends and celebrities, on Thursday, August 21, for a gala evening of tennis to benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. The benefit night will take place at SPORTIME Stadium on Randall’s Island. In [...]

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Novak Djokovic will join Hall of Famer John McEnroe, NY Ranger superstar goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, actor Edward Norton and other tennis stars, legends and celebrities, on Thursday, August 21, for a gala evening of tennis to benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. The benefit night will take place at SPORTIME Stadium on Randall’s Island. In the main event of the evening, Djokovic will compete against another top ATP professional to be announced. The evening will also include pro-celebrity doubles action, featuring Djokovic, McEnroe and their guests, promising junior players from the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, a lively auction and great hospitality, with all net proceeds to support the efforts of Johnny Mac Tennis Project, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

JMTP provides scholarships, coaching, transportation and other financial assistance to qualified young tennis players in the greater New York area, as well as introducing the sport to hundreds of new junior players each year in the neighborhoods surrounding Academy locations. JMTP benefit nights in previous years have featured the likes of Bjorn Borg (2011), Andre Agassi (2012) and Jim Courier (2013). JMTP and Sportime Clubs, home of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, have already provided over $1.5 million in scholarships and no cost programming to young players in NYC and its communities. Sportime Randall’s Island has been the flagship location of JMTA since 2010.

“This is an important night for a cause that has been close to my heart for a long time,” said McEnroe. “I have so much respect for Novak as a person and as a player, which makes me even more excited that he will be the first current top-ranked player to participate in a Johnny Mac Tennis Project benefit match. Fans can expect a night of fun and competition in a great atmosphere in New York, with the likes of Henrik Lundqvist and Edward Norton generously agreeing to be part of the festivities, and with more surprise guests to be announced between now and the event.”

Tickets start at $75. To purchase tickets, and for more information about special VIP packages, corporate packages, or to become a sponsor, please contact JMTP2014@sportimeny.com.

Djokovic has three titles to date in 2014, all in top-level Masters 1000 events in Rome, Miami and Indian Wells. He first reached the No. 1 ranking in April 2011 and has been the No. 1 or No. 2 ranked male player in the world ever since. His Grand Slam singles championships include the Australian Open (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013), Wimbledon (2011) and U.S. Open (2011). The Belgrade, Serbia, native is the top seed at Wimbledon this year and has opened his 2014 campaign with convincing wins over Andrey Golubev and Radek Stepanek.

Lundqvist is one of the National Hockey League’s great goalkeepers, winning the Vezina Trophy in 2011-12 and finishing second in 2012-13. He has 309 career regular-season victories in his nine-year career, plus 43 more in postseason play. This year he helped lead the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup finals appearance since 1993-94.

The prolific Norton is known for his roles in the films Fight Club, American History X, The Incredible Hulk, The Illusionist and many others. He is a two-time Academy Award nominee and a Golden Globes winner. He stars alongside Emma Stone in this fall’s Birdman.

About the Johnny Mac Tennis Project

The Johnny Mac Tennis Project, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) public charity whose purpose is to expose young athletes in the greater New York metropolitan area to the life-changing sport of tennis without regard to their economic circumstance. To this end, JMTP raises public and private funds in order to provide tennis academy scholarships and financial assistance to New York City Metropolitan area children. JMTP promotes the lifelong sport of tennis to and for players of all levels, from introductory programs that reach out to schools and neighborhoods in surrounding communities, to world-class tournament training for aspiring professionals. For NYC juniors striving to achieve at the highest levels of the game, JMTP funds the costs associated with travel to regional, national and international tournaments and provides on-site coaching.

About SPORTIME:

SPORTIME is proud to operate the finest tennis facilities in New York State, with over 160 indoor and outdoor courts at 13 clubs across Long Island, in NYC, in Westchester and in the NY Capital Region. SPORTIME strives to provide its members with welcoming and comfortable environments and the best instructional programs anywhere. SPORTIME’s “fitness for real life” philosophy is reflected in clubs that are state-of-the-art, yet affordable, and that offer the best tennis facilities and instruction, along with great gyms, camps and sports and fitness programs. SPORTIME is most proud to be the home of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy at Randall’s Island since 2010, and home the JMTA Annexes at Bethpage, Long Island, and Lake Isle, Eastchester, since 2012.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

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“This Day In Tennis” Mobile App Now Also On Kindle http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5476 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5476#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 03:44:25 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5476 NEW YORK – “On This Day In Tennis History,” the book and mobile app that documents daily anniversaries of historic and unusual events in tennis history, is now available as an electronic Kindle download. The new electronic version – and the mobile app – have been updated with recent tennis happenings into 2014. The Kindle [...]

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NEW YORK – “On This Day In Tennis History,” the book and mobile app that documents daily anniversaries of historic and unusual events in tennis history, is now available as an electronic Kindle download. The new electronic version – and the mobile app – have been updated with recent tennis happenings into 2014.

The Kindle edition of the compilation is available for $7.99 here on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/This-Tennis-History-Day-Day-ebook/dp/B00JQDZ43U/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1402513835 The mobile app is available for $1.99 in both Apple’s AppStore and the Google Play Store at www.TennisHistoryApp.com.

“On This Day In Tennis History” provides fans with a fun and fact-filled calendar-like compilation of historical and unique tennis anniversaries, events and tennis happenings for every day of the year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries in this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, birthdays and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings.

The mobile app is easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details featuring captivating and unique stories of players such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras among many others.

Features of the “This Day In Tennis History” app include:

 

•     Easily browse daily anecdotes and facts

•     View birthdays for top legends and current players

•     Tweet and email options makes sharing a breeze

•     Set up daily reminders

•     Quickly search the archive by player

•     Save your favorite entries

•     No internet connection needed

•     Entries will be updated periodically

 

“On This Day In Tennis History” was created by Randy Walker, the former USTA press officer now the managing partner of New Chapter Media (www.NewChapterMedia.com) and developed and designed by Miki Singh, the former ATP Tour press officer and the founder of www.FirstServeApps.com. Most of the content in the app was originally published in Walker’s hard copy book “On This Day In Tennis History” ($19.95, available here on Amazon.com http://m1e.net/c?96279190-.PAh92abybkPc%4018743019-Kel6bOgMLp6Qc published by New Chapter Press.

Said Tennis Hall of Famer and current U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier of the book, “On This Day In Tennis History is a fun read that chronicles some of the most important—and unusual—moments in the annals of tennis.” Tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of the book “Jimmy Connors Saved My Life,” called the book compilation “an addictive feast that you can enjoy every possible way—dipping in for various morsels, devouring it day-by-day, or selectively finding essential ingredients.”

The app can be found by searching “Tennis History” in the iTunes App Store and Play Store or directly at these two links:

 

Apple iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/this-day-in-tennis-history/id647610047?ls=1&mt=8

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.firstserveapps.thisdayintennis

 

Fans can follow the app on social media at www.Twitter.com/ThisDayInTennis and at https://www.facebook.com/thisdayintennis

Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press (www.NewChapterMedia.com) is also the publisher of “Andy Murray, Wimbledon Champion, The Full Extraordinary Story“ by Mark Hodgkinson, “The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time” by Steve Flink, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Macci Magic: Extracting Greatness From Yourself And Others” by Rick Macci with Jim Martz, “Court Confidential: Inside The World Of Tennis” by Neil Harman, “Roger Federer: Quest for Perfection” by Rene Stauffer (www.RogerFedererBook.com), “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Titanic: The Tennis Story” by Lindsay Gibbs, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes with Peter Kolar, “Tennis Made Easy” by Kelly Gunterman, “A Player’s Guide To USTA League Tennis” by Tony Serksnis, “A Backhanded Gift” by Marshall Jon Fisher, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli (www.Boycott1980.com), “Internet Dating 101: It’s Complicated, But It Doesn’t Have To Be” by Laura Schreffler, “How To Sell Your Screenplay” by Carl Sautter, “Bone Appetit: Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Suzan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin among others.

 

"On This Day In Tennis History" at www.TennisHistoryApp.com

“On This Day In Tennis History” at www.TennisHistoryApp.com

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Why Federer will win the French Open! http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5432 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5432#comments Sun, 25 May 2014 22:51:30 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5432 by Thaddeus McCarthy I must be the only person out there who predicts such a conclusion. But I am saying it now, that my prediction for the mens’ winner this year is for Roger Federer to lift the crown. Why am I predicting this? For a number of reasons: Firstly, Federer has not failed to [...]

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by Thaddeus McCarthy

I must be the only person out there who predicts such a conclusion. But I am saying it now, that my prediction for the mens’ winner this year is for Roger Federer to lift the crown. Why am I predicting this? For a number of reasons:

Firstly, Federer has not failed to reach the Quarterfinals since 2004. He has been a finalist 4 times, losing each time to Rafael Nadal. And of course he won back in 2009.  This level of consistency on clay is one of Federer’s most underrated achievements. Because people notice that he has only won the title once they must think that he is not very good on the surface. In fact he has reached the French final as many times as the Australian (Open) final. The only reason he hasn’t won it more is because of the GOAT Clay Court player i.e. Rafael Nadal. Which coincidentally brings me onto my second point.

Nadal has been handed possibly the toughest draw of the big guns at the Open. Nicolas Almagro, David Ferrer and Stan Wawrinka are all on his side of the draw. We all have seen Nadal wobble on his favourite surface this year, and so any of these opponents could trip him up. And if they don’t do it there will either be Federer or Djokovic waiting in the final to do so.

The biggest hurdle for Federer will be Djokovic in the semi-final, as right now he is the best player in the world (forget the no. 2 ranking). In their last match at Monte Carlo though, Federer beat him in straights. In the previous match Djokovic bested him in a third set tie-break. So this match could go either way. But I am picking Federer to win it, as he will have an extra bit of motivation after the arrival of his second set of twins, and will be seeking to avenge his early exit in Rome.

I am picking Federer to meet with Wawrinka in the final, and even though the younger Swiss won their last encounter, Federer still is 13-1 against him. Fed is more confident on the big stage (despite Wawrinkas Aussie Open and Masters title), and is the more competent player on clay.

Lastly, Federer’s relatively easy draw will only help his 32-year old legs. Having a hard draw would not have done him any good and it is lucky he didn’t draw one. He is predicted to face with Thomas Berdych in the Quarters, or possibly John Isner. Although I personally like both these players, they have weaknesses. Berdych is I think a bit weak mentally, while Isner is obviously weak on the return. After an easy run with Qualifiers in the earlier stages, this will all leave Federer mentally and physically fresh for his clash with Djokovic in the Semis. And after beating Wawrinka in the final, we will see Federer lifting his most unexpected second Roland Garros title.

 

 

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Serena Williams Nominated For “Queen of Swag” and “Biggest Cannon” In Nick Kids Choice Sports Awards http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5415 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5415#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 19:57:34 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5415 Say what you want about tennis having trouble attracting a new generation of fans, but the folks at Nickelodeon must think that the sport still has some good mojo with young people. They announced the nominees for the first-ever Nick Kids Choice Sports Awards on Wednesday, and tennis was pretty well represented. Serena Williams joined [...]

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Say what you want about tennis having trouble attracting a new generation of fans, but the folks at Nickelodeon must think that the sport still has some good mojo with young people. They announced the nominees for the first-ever Nick Kids Choice Sports Awards on Wednesday, and tennis was pretty well represented.

Serena Williams joined WNBA star Skylar Diggins with the most nominations, with  Williams being nominated for “Best Female Athlete,” “Queen of Swag,” “Biggest Cannon” and, along with her sister Venus, “Superstar Siblings.” Young American Sloan Stephens took a nomination for favorite newcomer, while on the ATP side Rafael Nadal was nominated in the “Party Like A Superstar” category (for his on court celebrations, along with the likes of the salsa-dancing Victor Cruz of the NY Giants and others, while Novak Djokovic grabbed a nod for “Biggest Cannon” in deference to his powerhouse serve. The WTA also had another nominee in Maria Sharapova, who joined Serena in the “Queen of Swag” category for both her on court performace and her sense of style. The seven nominations for the sport of tennis were just as many as the NHL received from the elite selection panel, which included people like Cal Ripken Jr., Deon Sanders and  Baron Davis, all of whom have been big supporters of tennis during their illustrious careers in other sports.

Hosted and executive produced by Michael Strahan (LIVE with Kelly and Michael, Fox NFL Sunday) Kids’ Choice Sports 2014 will be telecast live on Thursday, July 17 (8 pm ET/PT) from UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.  Beginning June 12, kids will be able to cast their votes in 15 categories on Nick.com/sports. The full list is at http://www.nick.com/celebrity/news/kids-choice-sports-2014-nominees-list.html

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

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Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean King Among Investors In PlaySight Technology Set To Revolutionize Tennis http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5407 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5407#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 14:57:00 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5407 PlaySight Interactive, an innovative sports technology Company and creators of an affordable, tennis analytic system (the ‘SmartCourt’), today announced the completion of a $3.5 million investment round from high-profile private investors including Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean King, Bill Ackman, Mark Ein, Dr. Jim Loehr and others.  The new capital will fund a global roll-out of [...]

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PlaySight Interactive, an innovative sports technology Company and creators of an affordable, tennis analytic system (the ‘SmartCourt’), today announced the completion of a $3.5 million investment round from high-profile private investors including Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean King, Bill Ackman, Mark Ein, Dr. Jim Loehr and others.  The new capital will fund a global roll-out of PlaySight’s SmartCourt technology for recreational and elite tennis, as well as research and development on applications in other popular sports beyond tennis. A video explaining the technology can be seen here http://youtu.be/hrp9X3K82Ek

“We are very proud to have such a powerful group of investors who share our vision of bringing elite player technology to the grassroots and club level,” said Chen Shachar, PlaySight CEO. “When we developed this technology we saw an opportunity to create an affordable, easy-to-install, cloud-based system for athletes of all levels to improve their game. In the same way that wearable tech devices and micro-cameras are transforming running and extreme sports, we are certain that SmartCourts will make tennis more engaging and fun. PlaySight combines advanced player analytics technology (PAT) with video-replay and social media to deliver an exceptional experience to the world’s 100 million tennis players. It will change the way we play ball-sports forever.”

“PlaySight has the potential to revolutionize the game of tennis as well as other sports through bringing the same sophisticated analytics available at the highest levels sports at a price point that makes it accessible to clubs and players of all levels around the globe,” said Mark Ein, CEO of growth investment holding company Venturehouse Group.  “Through this ‘video-gamification’ of sports, PlaySight will make the game more fun and appealing to new and casual players while providing an incredibly valuable training tool for the more frequent player.”

The investor group announced today includes:

Bill Ackman: Founder of Pershing Capital Management LLC

Novak Djokovic: Six-time Grand Slam champion including US Open, Wimbledon, and Australian Open four times.  Held world #1 ranking for 101 weeks and is currently #2

Billie Jean King: Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner, International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee and winner of 39 Grand Slam titles

Mark Ein: Founder/early investor in five companies that have reached billion dollar valuations; founder/owner of the four-time WTT defending champion Washington Kastles and Board member the International Tennis Hall of Fame;

Dr. James Loehr: Co-founder of the Human Performance Institute and performance coach to Jim Courier and Monica Seles

Ray Benton: Former PROSERV president and current CEO of the Tennis Center at College Park (Md.)

Gordon A. Uehling III: Former ATP ranked tennis player, coach and founder of CourtSense – the first “SmartClub” in the world which all his courts are equipped with “SmartCourts”

James Kern: Veteran Wall Street Executive with over 2 decades of Capital Markets expertise.  James will be joining PlaySight’s Board of Directors

Based on concepts originally designed to train fighter pilots, PlaySight‘s SmartCourt is an affordable, proprietary technology that is easily installed at tennis facilities and private courts. The SmartCourt provides players with professional real time (and post session) match statistics, analytics, line-calling and video. SmartCourt’s combined capabilities dramatically enhance the tennis-playing experience and greatly improve training and coaching efficiency.

Using five HD cameras, PlaySight’s SmartCourt automatically classifies and tags all the events that take place during a session without the need for court-side operators or wearable sensors. Players can watch selected events (e.g. every backhand down the line that went long), with no need to watch the whole video or manually tag it. PlaySight is also able to record 3D tactical game management information including the height of balls over the net, speed of every shot and the depth of balls hit within the court. The SmartCourt is easily operated by the players through a courtside kiosk and all video and data can be shared within seconds with coaches, friends and family at remote locations. Players can also track distance covered and calories burned during a match or practice session.

The Company plans to apply their affordable technology to basketball, soccer, hockey, baseball and other fields of sports with the same SmartCourt concept.

Already approved by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for use in amateur tournaments, PlaySight’s SmartCourt technology is already installed at a number of prestige venues including Roland Garros in Paris (home of the French Tennis Federation), CourtSense Tennis Training Center in New Jersey, Queens Club in London, Stefan Edberg’s academy in Sweden, Holland’s Laurense Tennis Academy (the training center for legendary coach Sven Groeneveld) and Ramat Hasharon tennis center in Israel.  PlaySight has already installed a total of 35 SmartCourts globally, including 19 in the United States. The Company has recently installed its first collegiate court at The University of Georgia, and is scheduled to install a more than 100 facilities in Florida, California, New York and at other locations around the world later this year.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

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The oddity of the ATP Ranking system http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5386 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5386#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 00:16:04 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5386 By Thaddeus McCarthy I’m sure that all of us astute fans out there know about the oddity that the ATP ranking system sometimes creates. This is admittedly more common in the women’s game, as it is often that we find someone at the top, who have never won a Slam title. Does anyone recall Dinara [...]

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By Thaddeus McCarthy

I’m sure that all of us astute fans out there know about the oddity that the ATP ranking system sometimes creates. This is admittedly more common in the women’s game, as it is often that we find someone at the top, who have never won a Slam title. Does anyone recall Dinara Safina, Caroline Wozniaki, or Jelena Jankovic from the past decade? All of them failed to win a Slam title and yet attained the number 1 rank. With the men this is not so common, Marcelo Rios being the only one, having attained numero uno for a few weeks in 1998. In this article I will discuss this oddity and how it has presented itself over the years.

As all of us astute fans out there are undoubtedly knowledgeable of, the rankings are based on whatever happened in the past years 19 tournaments (the Slams, Masters tournaments, ATP Tour finals, and a make-up of 500 and 250 events, Olympics and Davis Cups). Like for example, as Rafael Nadal won the French Open last year, if he doesn’t win it this year or merely reaches the final he will lose ranking points. Because Novak won Monte Carlo last year, he lost points this year, as only made the semi-finals. The most ranking points are made from the Grand Slams (2000 for the winner, 1200 for a finalist, down to 10 for making the first round) and Masters events (1000 for winner, 600 for finalist, and 360 for semi-finalist).

Bjorn Borg is perhaps the best example for why the ATP rankings are not always the truest measure of the number 1. As between 1976-1980 he was undoubtedly the best player in the world. But because he did not play many tournaments he didn’t spend all that much time at number 1. Instead, Jimmy Connors could extend his run at the top because Borg didn’t halt his run at one of the many lesser tournaments. Connors extended his run to 260 weeks at the top in the end. But many would doubt that he was ever (apart from 1974 when he went 99-4) the best player in the world.

Marcelo Rios was a funny character; apparently he was notorious for never showing respect for the other players. He was therefore likely a candidate for the most controversial number 1 in tennis history. The only Slam final that he reached was the Australian Open at the beginning of 98. It was later in the year that he attained the rank, having a legendary tussle with Pete Sampras for the year-end slot in the end, which he lost. But how did he attain the rank even for a time? He got the number 1 rank after winning in Key Biscayne, beating Ivanisevic, Agassi and Henman on the way. He held at that time for four weeks before losing after being unable to defend Monte Carlo. He gained it later in the year for two weeks, and overall won 7 titles including a Masters overall in 98. Basically he had an advantage over Sampras as he (Sampras) had had a brilliant 97, and so found it harder to defend the points he had gained the previous annum.

The women that I mentioned earlier like Safina, Jankovic and Wozniaki were slightly different cases than Rios, and there wasn’t as much controversy surrounding them and their rise to number 1. So the next case I will discuss is Jimmy Connors in 1975, which was surprising because he won no Slams that year. Why did Connors get the year-end number 1 then? Basically Connors was more able to reach finals and semi-finals. The fact he had so many points to defend from the previous year didn’t matter because he had so far superior in 74, that he didn’t need to perform equally as well again to attain the number 1 rank again.

It could also be argued that the ranking system is right, and that the fact there is such an opinion that certain players shouldn’t be in the rank is more reflective of the public placing too much value on the Grand Slams. Connors in 1977 is a case in point, as he was still winning many tournaments and did reach the finals of

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three Slams. So although he wasn’t winning, he was still playing too a high level. Ivan Lendl was criticised in 1982 for making the rank without winning any Slams. But it probably was forgotten at time that he won many tournaments that year and had an overall 92% winning percentage.

So although the ranking system isn’t perfect, and people often find reasons to criticise it, there are good things about it. By its very nature, not all the emphasis is on the Grand Slams. It places good emphasis on the different tournaments, and if the ATP governing body decides to change the emphasis on the Grand Slams or on the Masters tournaments, then it is relatively easy to work out how it would affect the players ranks. Of course, this process wouldn’t be all that easy as any process in the political arena (like that with the ATP) is always fraught with difficulty. The one thing that I would suggest that the ATP should change is the ruling it made to the players in 1982 that they have to play a certain number of tournaments per year. It was for this reason that Bjorn Borg left the sport then, and the tennis world thus lost one of its greatest competitors. Tennis players, like the rest of us, have things called lives (outside their profession).

Running along those lines I will finish up here by saying congratulations to Roger Federer for the birth of his second pair of twins. What are the chances of that you may ask? 1: 170,000!

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The Greatest Clutch Player of All-Time http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5379 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5379#comments Sat, 26 Apr 2014 00:48:39 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5379 By Thaddeus McCarthy This week I will be discussing who was the greatest men’s closer in the Open-Era. This is the person who, when the chips were down, would rise to the occasion. When victory was in sight, they would nail down the big serve or hit a punishing return winner. As the criteria for [...]

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By Thaddeus McCarthy

This week I will be discussing who was the greatest men’s closer in the Open-Era. This is the person who, when the chips were down, would rise to the occasion. When victory was in sight, they would nail down the big serve or hit a punishing return winner. As the criteria for this argument I will consider the importance of the occasions they repeatedly closed out, the quality of opposition they were facing, and how consistent they were.

First off, I will discuss who I believe to be the greatest big-match player of all-time, and throughout the rest of this piece I will look at whether there was anyone better than him. This player was none other than Pete Sampras. Why do I think he was the ultimate closer of them all? Well for starters he won 14 of the 18 Grand Slam finals he played. He won 73% of the ATP tournament finals he played, and it was in the biggest matches where he was at his best. It is worth pointing out here that two of his Slam final losses were at the 2000 and 2001 US Opens, where Sampras was on his final stretch, and so was not at his peak.

One of the biggest matches of Sampras’s career was against Andre Agassi at the 1995 US Open. Agassi was No. 1 at the time, and was on a 26-match winning streak. Sampras dually beat him in four sets, and so ended the streak. Another match of note was the final of the year-end tournament against Boris Becker in 1996. After losing the fourth set tiebreaker 13-11, many in the crowd would have assumed that Boris had all the momentum going into the fifth set. It must have been to their surprise then that Sampras won that set 6-4, and once again took the year-end no. 1 ranking. At Hanover in 1999 when Agassi was having his glorious renascence, Sampras beat him in the year-end final in straights.

In contrast let’s look at Federer, who comes in with a 17 and 7 Slam final record, and a 67% ATP Tournament final record. These are respectable numbers no doubt, but not Sampras like. Some of Federer’s biggest matches, like Rome 06 and Wimbledon 08, he lost to Nadal in five. Against Safin at the Aussie 05 he had a match point in the fourth set tiebreak and yet lost in five. Two of Federer’s biggest five set victories were against Nadal at Miami 05 and against Andy Roddick at Wimbledon 09. Nadal would have had to be considered young and green in 05 though, at the tender age of 19. And Roddick, as we all know would frequently seize up, and choke against Federer. Two examples in that match where Roddick choked were in the second set tiebreak, on set point, when he had an easy overhead and buggered it up. There was also the final point of the match where Roddick limply hit the ball off the frame and out of the court.

Rafael Nadal is frequently counted as one of the most mentally tough players of history. And his record against Federer definitely supports him in this regard. At Rome 06 and Wimbledon 08 it would have to be said that it was Nadal’s superior play that won those matches, rather than Fed’s choking. Back in the 2011-2012 period though, it has to be remembered that he lost 7 consecutive matches to Novak Djokovic. Again though, it was probably superior play from Djokovic that won those matches rather than poor Nadal play. Nadal is 13 and 6 in Slam finals and has tournament final win rate of 70%. Respectable numbers, but again, not Sampras like.

You would think that Djokovic would have the numbers to equal Sampras as a clutch player, but this is not the case. With only a 50% Slam final win rate, and a 67% overall final win percentage he is nowhere near Sampras. But it has to be remembered that Djokovic only became great at the end of 2010, when he switched his diet and became machine-like. So the numbers with him are skewed towards his (relatively mediocre) earlier career. The 2011 US Open semi-final clash with Federer is perhaps the best example of his clutch ability, as he was down two sets and survived two match points in the fifth set before prevailing.

How about past champions such as Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Rod Laver? Ivan Lendl, while undoubtedly great has the unfortunate record of being runner-up in 11 Slam finals, and the winner of only 8. John McEnroe had the best season win percentage in 1984, but lost that year’s French final to Lendl after being up by two sets. His record after that year does not do his career much good either, as he won no more Slam finals, and would lose repeatedly to Lendl. Jimmy Connors is famous for winning 109 tournaments, but he did lose 54. It was shown often that when McEnroe, Lendl, and Borg were at their best, they were superior to Connors. Bjorn Borg is an interesting one as his numbers are boosted because he retired at 25, before the inevitable declining years. He was 11 and 5 in Slam finals, and has the unfortunate distinction of losing 4 US Opens (finals). He did win that famous match to McEnroe in the 1980 Wimbledon final though, so definitely had his moments.

Laver was 30 by the time the Open era began, but won his Slam in the following year (1969). The way he was able to keep himself going throughout that season was enviable, and there were many clutch moments. His most famous match of the year was against Tony Roche in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. After being up two sets, the match became levelled with Roche winning the next two. With all the momentum going Roche’s way in the final set, Laver bucked the trend by winning 6-3. In the second round of the French, Laver found himself behind by two sets to Dick Crealy, before winning in five. The best example that year of Laver clutching it out, was against Tony Roche in the US final at Forest Hills. In this match it was surely prime time for choking, as everything (his Grand Slam) rested on it. When Roche won the first set, 9-7, the pressure on Laver must have been intense. And yet, he won the next three, and won the first (and so far only) open era mens calendar-year Grand Slam. After this year though, similar to Mcenroe after 1984, Laver saw his level of play decline.

So… for having memorable clutch moments right throughout his career, and a sustained level of play from the moment he entered the professional scene to when he left, the title of the greatest open-era clutch player has to be given to Sampras. There have been certain periods when players have matched the Sampras clutch ability; like Laver in 1969, McEnroe in 1984 and Djokovic in 2011, but none of these have been able to maintain that level of play and closing ability throughout their careers.

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Historical Hometown Rivalries http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5370 http://www.tennisbloggers.com/archives/5370#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 03:36:35 +0000 admin http://www.tennisbloggers.com/?p=5370 By Thaddeus McCarthy The Monte Carlo final last week featured Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, currently world number 3 and 4, who both come from Switzerland. This happens to first time that a Swiss pair has clashed in an ATP tournament final since Marc Rossett and Federer met in 2000. But it is not the [...]

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By Thaddeus McCarthy

The Monte Carlo final last week featured Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, currently world number 3 and 4, who both come from Switzerland. This happens to first time that a Swiss pair has clashed in an ATP tournament final since Marc Rossett and Federer met in 2000. But it is not the first time that we have seen a home country clash. In fact it was only a couple of days before the Wawrinka/Federer match that David Ferrer knocked his countryman Nadal out in the Quarterfinals. Considering that Federer and Wawrinka have such a surprisingly good relationship on court, I thought that now would be a good time to look at some historical countryman rivalries and to see whether their relationship was cordial (like Fed & Wawrinka) or whether it was fiery and bitter.

I will start with looking at the rivalry between the Australian players of the 60s and 70s. These were all-time greats like Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson, Tony Roche and Fred Stolle. Incredibly successful and some, especially in the cases of Laver and Rosewall, may be rated in the top 5 to ever play the game. I have recently finished the Ilie Nastase book, in which he said that they were in fact the friendliest players on the tour. They would always travel together and could frequently be seen together at the bar having a beer after a match. Throughout the amateur era and during their time in the professional and open ranks Laver came out on top of Rosewall 80-64. And yet, even after this obviously long and closely fought rivalry they can be seen year after year at the Aussie Open looking like long lost pals when they see each other.

Next up it is worth looking at the relationship between Americans John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, which was totally different to that enjoyed by the Aussies. They both had a fiery reputation as competitors against anyone, but against each other they really clashed.  The first time they met in a locker room Connors totally ignored Mac. As they begun to clash on the court, which finished 20-14 in favour of Mac, the tempers really flared. Their rivalry is known as one of the most bitter in all of sports. Even today, as Connors says in his book, they are not especially friendly.

The battle for the title of the 90s was waged between a few Americans; Jim Courier, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Agassi and Couriers had an odd relationship, as although they had gone to the Bolleteiri Academy together in their teens, they were not friendly with each other. Agassi was surely a little bit annoyed that as he had been Nick Bolleteiri’s golden boy (at the academy); it was Courier who was finding Grand Slam success earlier. By the same token though, Courier was very driven and focused, especially in his earlier career. Courier and Sampras had a very similar (serious) demeanour. There was one moment in the mid-90s during a conversation Agassi was having with Sampras where he said how good it was to have a tight-knit team around you, because tennis is such a lonely sport. In response to this, Sampras shrugged his shoulders. It was obvious that Sampras didn’t think tennis was as lonely as Agassi thought. In a match they played after Sampras had learned of Tim Gulliksons terminal illness in 1995, he totally broke down crying on court. Agassi, asking if he would like to postpone the match, was surprised when ‘Pistol Pete’ began blasting aces past him in between sobs. Agassi mentions frequently in his autobiography that they were never really friends, and that although Sampras seemed like a nice guy, he was very difficult to be friendly with.

If we look back across tennis history there have often been times when the game has been heavily influenced by a few players from the same country. Most of us knowledgeable fans out there will know about ‘The Four Musketeers’ in the 1920s, who were a group of players from France who dominated the game. As mentioned earlier, there were the great Australians of the 50s and 60s. There was Connors and McEnroe in the 70s and 80s, who were joined in the top end of the rankings for a while by a New Yorker, Vitas Gurulaitis.  In the 1990s there was of course Courier, Agassi and Sampras. All the relationships between them being distinctly different.

Lately though we haven’t had a group of strong players coming from one country. The closest we have come to this is with Spanish players like Nadal, Tommy Robredo, and David Ferrer. But of course only one of them has won a Grand Slam title/s.  Lately, there has been a term going iround in the tennis world about the ‘New Musketeers’, which includes Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Gael Monfils. This group of players is not of the same calibre as Henri Cochet, Rene Lacoste & co. were back in the 20s though, so it kind of feels like the press are trying to cling to something which is not really there.

In sports hometown rivalries generate huge interest in the game. In tennis the rule is no different. It is my hope that a strong group of players can emerge at the very top in the future from an Australia, United States, or even a new area of the world like China. Personally though, I hope that Australian tennis has a renaissance, as it has been a long time since the likes of Laver graced the courts. And the Slams won between Pat Cash, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt in the last few decades only stands at a measly 5.

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