US Open Last For Roddick

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Note to the press covering the US Open: You won’t have Andy Roddick to kick around anymore.

Or maybe he kicked us around.

The smart, quick-witted face of American Tennis since Andre Agassi retired, announced that this US Open will be his last tournament.

“I just feel like it’s time,” he said. “I don’t know that I’m healthy enough or committed enough to go another year.  I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event.  I have a lot of family and friends here.  I’ve thought all year that I would know when I got to this tournament.

“When I was playing my first round, I knew.”

It’s always good for an athlete to know when to get out. And if his heart isn’t into it, then there is no reason to play. He made his money and has a good life with wife Brooklyn Decker.

And he ends a champion winning the 2003 US Open, but also losing three Wimbledon Finals and the 2006 US Open Finals to Roger Federer.

In that way, he is more like the Patrick Ewing Knicks, who couldn’t beat Michael Jordan.

But still, it’s all special. And frankly it’s too early for Roddick to tell what his greatest achievement has been.

“I don’t view it in a scope of where you had your best win,” he said.  “I’ve had a lot of different memories.  I’ll certainly look back.  I feel like I’d be cheating the other memories if I said one was the highlight.

“You know, I feel like I’ve been very lucky.  That’s certainly not lost on me.”

Maybe the toughest was the 2009 Wimbledon Finals which went to five sets and Federer beat him 16-14 in the fifth set.

It was the one that got away for Roddick but it also shows the type of player he was.

On Tuesday, he discussed the game after his first round match and said he thought the reason why he lasted so long was his ability to make adjustments. When he started the game was less physical but became more of a power match over the last five years.

“The game completely changed,” Roddick said.  “I was able to kind of recognize it.  It’s funny, because the things I feel like I get criticized for have kept me around a lot more than my contemporaries.

“Let’s say I came up with Marat and Ferrero and a couple other guys.  Obviously everyone points to Roger, but we can all point to Roger all day.  If that’s the comparison we’re drawing, then we’re going to end up with the stories we have had.

“I saw the way the game was going.  You have to get stronger and quicker.  I don’t think there was much room for a plodder who could hit the ball pretty hard.”

“It was a conscious effort at times, and I feel like that’s added to longevity a little bit.”

Now at 30, it’s time to move on. Roddick will close out his career either tomorrow or sometime next week as he looks to put a capper on one of the more interesting eras in American tennis history.

And what’s next?

“Well, immediately we announced yesterday or the day before we’re building, with my foundation, a youth tennis and learning center in Austin,” he said  “I’d like to be hands on with that and not see it periodically.  I’d like to be kind of on‑site every day.  There’s some other projects, kind of side projects, that I’ve been doing.

“Those excite me a lot right now.  So I’m looking forward to it.”

Sock Has A Bright Future

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It was the past against the future. American tennis’s past darling in Andy Roddick against future star Jack Sock.

And when it was the master took on the apprentice today, Roddick showed experience wins out in a straight set win over his fellow Nebraskan, 6-3 6-3 6-4.

“I didn’t think I’d ever play another guy from Nebraska in my career,” Roddick said.  “You know, it was just cool.  I could draw so many parallels to what he was going through.  You know, but also I could draw on my experience a little bit.”

Sock’s inexperience showed when he missed a few break points in the first, which could have changed the complexion of the match. It is something that will come in time for the 18 year-old, because this was such a learning experience for him.

“After watching him I knew that he kind of plays a lot from the baseline, maybe a little bit behind the baseline, makes a lot of balls, is steady,” he said.  “I felt like I could go out there and try to dictate points and try to hit a lot of forehands, try to move the ball around as much as possible, and then attack when I could.

“I felt like I did a decent job of that.  I mean, like I said, it comes down to him getting back in the court and retrieve and be able to hit passing shots how he wants, like standing still or not on the run. I felt overall like I played a pretty good match.”

But it still wasn’t enough for Roddick who came in knowing his opponent would be a little nervous playing in the big bowl for the first time in his career. According to the 21st seeded player he has participated in 27 night matches at Ashes, so tonight was just old hat.

Yet, Roddick knows this won’t be the last he sees of Sock. In fact the 2003 champ feels Sock will be one of the “legit prospects” along with fellow American Ryan Harrison. And after the match Roddick invited him to his compound in Texas to practice with him, the same way Andre Agassi did back in the early 2000s with the current American star.

“I certainly feel the need to pay it forward,” Roddick said. “This game has been great to me.  It’s pretty much an impossibility for me to do it. But as far as leaving it better than when you came, when I came it was the best generation that has ever existed in a country.

“But I enjoy having the young guys at home.  I think I can help them.  It’s inspiring for me.  You can kind of feed off of their hunger a little bit.”

And that’s how American tennis will come back. It will be a cumulative effort. Although Roddick shown Same Querrey and Harrison the same hospitality, Sock, coming from the same background in Nebraska, may have some real success working with Roddick.

Plus he has the skills. With a 135 m.p.h serve, the talent is there, so all he now has to do is hone it in and learn about the intricacies of the game that only come with experience. When that happens, Sock will move up the ranks and become a star in this game, muck like Roddick did about 10 years ago.

So this is only the beginning and soon you may see the student teaching his teacher a thing or two.

McHale and Falcone Will Fare Better Than Oudin

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – The Cinderella stories are over for the two young American girls who made so much noise two days ago.

Both Christina McHale and Irina Falconi lost their matches today – McHale to Maria Kirilenko, 2-6 3-6 and Falconi to Sabine Lisicki 0-6 1-6 – but there first few matches give hope for the future of American tennis.

“I had two really good wins my first two matches,” said McHale after her match today.  “This one, it’s disappointing.  But, yeah, I think I just kind of have to take the positives from it and keep working hard and, yeah, keep going.”

Added Falconi: “I am just going to take this week and the next week as a huge stage on my career, hopefully what can translate into a follow-up fall season. Next week I go to Quebec City for a tour event and hopefully do some damage there as well. There is nothing but positives to take out of this week.”

Both girls showed their inexperience today. Neither of them was attacking the ball like they did on Wednesday and even admitted to playing tentative.

“I was too passive today,” McHale said.  “I think the other day I took my chances when I had them.  But [Kirilenko] was playing well, too, so it made it difficult today.”

And then there were the bright lights of Ashe, where she admitted she was a little nervous playing under the lights in front of the sold out crowd.

“I think it didn’t really help me, my nerves, tonight,” McHale added.  “I never really felt as comfortable as I wanted to feel on the court.”

Yet, it will be interesting to see how both girls handle their first success of the Open.  Melanie Oudin melted under the pressure after her run two years ago and hasn’t made any noise since.

But Oudin could be considered a special situation. Both McHale and Falconi didn’t get the celebrity treatment like Ouidin did and the press didn’t start look into their personal lives.

Plus Oudin seemed to enjoy the celebrity spotlight, whereas both of these girls seems to care more about winning than stardom.

So it will be interesting to see how both do in the fall and then at the Australian Open come 2012. But it also important to remember they are both very young with McHale only 19 while Falconi can get a drink in bar…well barely. And it will take time for both players, so don’t get excited if one or both makes a quarterfinals and expect to see the second coming on Chris Everett.

Rather this is more like the baseball minor leagues where the two girls are honing their skills. Some success here will help them, but until they learn to be winning at a consistent level in high profile tournaments, they will remain prospects.

But all prospects have upside and this past week we may have just seen the future.

Forever Young

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It’s been so long that the tennis world waited for the arrival of Donald Young, that it seems like he’s been at it for almost 15 years.

“15 years?” he laughed. “That would mean I would be like a lot older than I am now.”

Yes that would mean the American would have turned pro when he was seven years-old. So maybe not 15 years, but it still seems like forever.

But today Flushing Meadows got a taste of what they wanted to see all the way back to 2007 when Young was a junior champion. He won a five set classic against the 14th seeded Stanislas Wawrinka, 7-6 3-6 2-6 6-3 7-6, that lasted four hours and 20 minutes on Court 17 in one of the best matches of this US Open.

“It’s great for me, you know, to play 4 hours and 20 minutes,” he said.  “I saw the clock at the end.  Throughout the whole match I was looking at the clock, and like, Oh man, am I going to make it the whole time?

“But that’s what you put the work and the practice for.  To actually have it come through, yeah, it’s just great to win.”

And great for American tennis to see Young develop. This match showed why he was so hyped over the past few years. He battled his more experienced opponent even when he was down two sets to one and came back.

On fire in the fourth, he rattled off two breaks to beat the Swiss national and forced a fifth set.

It shows the fitness level of Chicago native, who in the past was criticized for not committing to the game. So, he recommitted himself and came to play in shape.

“Yeah, like I say, you know, to do things you’ve never done before you have to do things you’ve never done before,” he said.  “In the off‑season I did something different, and that was great. Definitely to see it like come and know I could play that long in a match definitely makes you feel great.”

Yes winning is much better than losing, something Young can really attest to. So far he has just five challenger wins for his career and two challenger doubles titles. His knock was that he was never committed entirely to the game, instead treating it more like a job than a calling.

“I don’t think I was getting any motivation when I was losing all the time,” he said.  “You know, you have people around you that you feel and trust in what they say and they tell you you can do it.  You go out there and keep practicing.  This is my job at the end of the day.  Most people don’t just quit a job unless they have something else to do.

“I could obviously go to school, which would be great.  Not to knock that.  But this is something I chose to do.  They always told me it would be a waste to waste the talent you have and not do anything with it.”

Even with his journeyman status Young was always a threat. The word potential has always been used when describing this hard hitting volleyer, but with every negative comes a lesson, and he has been schooled over the years.

“You know, don’t take things for granted,” he said.  “I feel like when I was 18 and I got to 73 in the world, the youngest in the top 100, I was top 75, it all seemed kind of easy, not realizing how much work I put into it to get to where I actually was.

“Life lessons?  Just keep working hard.  Don’t give up if it’s something you really want to do.  Listen to the people you trust and you can always learn.”

Yet that can wait as Young is now the talk of the tournament and the tennis world will continue to marvel at his arrival when he takes on No. 24 seed Juan Ignacio Chela in the third round.

New York’s Falconi Gets The Big Stage

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Venus Williams may have been Willy Pipped today.

After the elder Williams sister pulled out of the tournament with an autoimmune disease, Irena Falconi had her second round match moved from Court 11 to Arthur Ashe Stadium and the 21 year-old New Yorker seized the opportunity.

“When I walked in,” she said, “I was trying to distract everyone that I was drinking water, but I was looking at my environment and really just adapting to what was about to happen. Yeah, I definitely took a second to really look at my surroundings.”

But in the end the young American came through against 14th seed Dominika Cibilkova , 2-6 6-3 7-5.

It was the thrill of a lifetime for the 78th ranked Falconi, who started waving an American flag after her win.

“It was totally out of instinct,” she said.  “I have the flag in my bag.  It’s a good luck flag that was given to me by my trainer, Kim Wilson.  I really felt that it couldn’t have been a more perfect time.”

And maybe Falconi is coming along at the perfect time. So much has been said about the slump American tennis is suffering through that someone like Falconi could easily fill the void. Like Christina McHale this year and Melanie Oudin a few years ago, she can be an up and comer for the US circuit.

It’s something she knows and is sure to tell everyone who listens.

“I’ve heard so much about media talking about American tennis, and I really wanted to portray that there’s a huge wave of American players,” she said.  “I have an American coach and trainer, Jeff and Kim Wilson.

“I strongly believe in all that is USA, and I wanted to represent it and show the world that it’s coming.  It’s coming.  No need to wait any longer.”

If you look at Falconi, she doesn’t look like a typical tennis player. Actually she looks more like your little sister or the girl next door. At 5’4’’, she has thought to have been too short and not the right shape to compete at competitive tennis at a high level. And the braces on her teeth make her look like she’s 15 rather than the legal drinking age.

But all of this drives the Ecuadorian native.  She didn’t come from tremendous means with her parents immigrating to the Washington Heights, NY in 1993. And then she moved to Florida in 2004 to perfect her game.

Now just seven years later, the sky’s the limit for this young girl.

“I don’t really think there’s a limit,” Falconi said.  “I’ve been told that I’m 5’4″, in case you didn’t know.  One thing I did go in there today knowing was that I was taller than my opponent, which was huge.

“I know Justine Henin, she was 5’6″ and she was 1 in the world.  I know for a fact if she can do it, why not?”

That’s a question every woman is asking in this Open. Why not? With seeded players getting knocked out all over the place today this may be a year when an up and comer just happens to win the Open.

“Tournament’s not over yet.” she said, “There’s still five other matches to be won.  There’s still doubles and mixed.  So this is definitely a fortnight.  It’s not over yet.  I’m just so excited.  My team and I are just so excited for what’s to come.”

With an attitude like that, Venus may not be the only player she replaces this week.

 

 

 

 

 

Mac, Connors One For The “Aged” This Summer At Sportime Randall’s Island

Say what you want about the state of American tennis, July 14 at Randall’s island is bound to be a treat for fans of all ages. Yes they are both older, grayer and probably just a tad slower, but John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors on court, in the New York area, at any point is still fun, fiery, and worth the price of admission.

The match will take place as part of the 2011 World Team Tennis season with McEnroe, captain for the New York Sportimes, taking on Connors, a hired gun for the Philadelphia Freedoms, in a marquee match that will benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, which helps with financial support for students attending the sold out John McEnroe Tennis Academy, now entering its second year at Sportime Randall’s Island, nestled just under the Triborough Bridge.

Those who listened to Tuesday’s conference call between Connors and McEnroe got more than a notebook full of items, ranging from Jimmy’s use of Twitter to John’s thoughts on Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks. However not lost in the friendly banter was the continued competitive spirit and light trash talk between the two longtime rivals, a rivalry which has not been renewed in over a decade. “Yeah we are friendly competitors, but make no mistake, I always want to win,” Connors said. McEnroe snickered at the comment, perhaps preferring to let his actions talk a bit louder. Unlike the slightly older Connors, McEnroe has kept himself in outstanding shape, working out with his young players almost every day at the Academy while also filling a busy schedule with senior events, exhibitions and last July, WTT action, where he helped lead the Sportimes to the Eastern Conference title.

WTT, founded by Billie jean King and still run by King and business partner Ilana Kloss, remains a fun and entertaining night of affordable tennis, with some flair of minor league baseball mixed in. And while the league touts itself for featuring many of the younger stars emerging in tennis today, fans still like to see the senior faces take the court again, whether they are players like Martina Hingis or Lindsay Davenport, or Connors and McEnroe. The competitive juices flow again, and the level of tennis seems to rise, especially in a shortened format, and not so far from Flushing Meadows.

Connors and McEnroe met 34 times during the ATP portion of their storied careers, with McEnroe leading the series 20‐14. They spilt their Grand Slam singles finals matchups, with Connors winning at Wimbledon in 1982 (3‐6, 6‐3, 6‐7, 7‐6, 6‐4), and with McEnroe prevailing in 1984 (6‐1, 6‐1, 6‐2). They last met in an ATP event in Basel, Switzerland in 1991, with McEnroe winning 6‐1, 6‐3.

Ticket prices for the match will be $250, $150, $60, and $40, with a portion being tax deductable. Tickets for the special evening, or any of the other home Sportime matches can be purchased by calling 212‐792‐8500 or going to nysportimes.com for the full schedule of July events.

USTA Juniors Fare Well On Day 1 of Unique Collegiate Event

ST. HELENA, Calif., (Sept. 24, 2010) – The USTA brought their best to Napa Valley for the annual Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic and the elite eight juniors ended up having a  red-letter first day.

The juniors faced off against players from six of the nation’s top collegiate teams and won six of the eight singles matches, led by U.S. Open boys’ champion Jack Sock, who beat Johnny Hamui of Illinois, 6-4, 6-3, on Sock’s 18th birthday.

“I’m not tired because I actually haven’t been playing or practicing that much since the Open,” said Sock, a senior at Blue Valley North High School, who also won the Kalamazoo National 18s and played in the main draw at the Open. “I had kind of a long summer. It was nice to get back to school. I had people I didn’t even know coming up to me and congratulating me, like I was a mini-celebrity.”

This is the first year the juniors have been invited to play in the unique event run for the past 10 years by University of Cal-Berkeley Coach Peter Wright and Meadowood Director of Tennis Doug King.

Wright said he was elated to see the juniors do so well. “That’s part of the allure of this event; to see how well the juniors will do,” Wright said. “I think we have a pretty good cross-section of college players with some top guys and then some of the middle-range guys on the team.

“Some of the juniors are playing an incredible level of tennis. It’s great. I think after one day every one is encouraged. I think the juniors are happy, the USTA is happy and the college guys are happy. Someone asked me how I would feel if the juniors beat the college guys and I said that would actually be a good thing. It’s good for American tennis.”

Joining Sock in the winner’s circle on Friday were Alexios Halebian, Mitchell Krueger, Marcos Giron, Mitchell Frank and MacKenzie McDonald. Bjorn Fratangelo and Hunter Harrington each suffered defeats.

The collegiates did manage to win all three doubles matches played against the juniors, but it was a dominating day in singles for the juniors.

“My mindset was that it was just another match,” said the 17-year-old Giron of Thousand Oaks, Calif., who beat Vasko Mladenov of Texas, 6-3, 6-4. “Obviously he’s a good player because he’s in college. I actually feel less pressure because the college guys want to win and don’t want to lose to players so much younger than them.”

Sixteen-year-old Mitchell Krueger was another one of the elite eight juniors selected to play. In his match, he defeated USC’s Jaak Poldma, 7-6 (3), 6-2. “I played really well and served pretty well,” said Krueger. “It was fun. It’s so nice and relaxed up here. I love it.”

Poldma lost to Tennessee’s Rhyne Williams at No. 3 singles in the championship of the NCAAs last May. Despite his loss, the Trojans went on to win their second straight NCAA title. The Most Outstanding Player in that event was also in action on Friday in Napa as Daniel Nguyen fell to Halebian, 16, of Glendale, Calif., in an entertaining three-setter, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4.

The two-time defending champion USC Trojans lost all four of their singles matches on Friday.

Krueger, 16, of Aledo, Texas, said he has played a few college players in the past, but was grateful for the experience on Friday. “I didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “Now I know a little bit better where I’m at.”

Krueger said an event like this might even give him a better idea of whether or not to turn pro. “It just depends on how I do. I’m right in the middle right now.”

Each school is represented by four players to compete alongside the eight juniors, and the 32-man field is split into eight pools featuring three collegians and a junior. Following three matches in pool play, the eight pool winners will compete in a single-elimination, 10-point tiebreak tournament. The winner of the tournament will receive a USTA-sponsored wild card into a USTA Pro Circuit event that is yet to be determined.

The juniors were selected by USTA Player Development based on ATP rankings (if applicable), national rankings and results, and a selection of younger players for developmental purposes.

Friday’s singles results

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) def. Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA, Pittsburgh, Pa.), 7-6 (8), 6-7 (9), 6-1

Carlos Cueto (Cal) def. Raymond Sarmiento (USC), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4)

Abe Souza (Illinois) def. Anthony Rossi (Kentucky), 7-5, 6-2

Jean Andersen (Texas) def. Nassim Slilam (Florida), 6-1, 6-2

Mitchell Krueger (USTA, Aledo, Texas) def. Jaak Poldma (USC), 7-6 (3), 6-2

Nick Andrews (Cal) def. Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois), 6-4, 6-2

Mitchell Frank (USTA, Annandale, Va.) def. Pedro Zerbini (Cal), 6-2, 6-7 (3), 7-5

Marcos Giron (USTA, Thousand Oaks, Calif.) def. Vasko Mladenov (Texas), 6-3, 6-4

Ed Corrie (Texas) def. Hunter Harrington (USTA, Spartanburg, S.C.), 6-4, 6-1

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) def. Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal), 6-1, 6-3

Bob Van Overbeek (Florida), def. Alex Musialek (Kentucky), 6-4, 6-3

Jack Sock (USTA, Lincoln, Neb.) def. Johnny Hamui (Illinois), 6-4, 6-3

MacKenzie McDonald (USTA, Piedmont, Calif.) def. Maks Gold (Kentucky), 6-4, 6-2

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) def. JT Sundling (USC), 6-4, 6-2

Sekou Bangoura (Florida) def. David Holiner (Texas), 2-6, 6-0, 6-1

Alexios Halebian (USTA, Glendale, Calif.) def. Daniel Nguyen (USC), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4

Friday’s doubles results

Nick Andrews / Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) def. Dennis Nevolo / Johnny Hamui (Illinois), 8-4

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) / Alex Musialek (Kentucky) def. Ed Corrie / Jean Andersen (Texas), 9-7

Vasko Mladenov / David Holiner (Texas) def. Mackenzie Macdonald / Hunter Harrington (USTA), 8-5

Alexandre Lacroix / Nassim Slilam (Florida), def. Jaak Poldma / JT Sundling (USTA), 8-5

Bob Van Overbeek / Sekou Bangoura (Florida) def. Mitchell Krueger / Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA), 8-6

Daniel Nguyen / Raymond Sarmiento (USC) def. Jack Sock / Mitchell Frank (USTA), 9-7

DAY 2: Saturday’s Schedule

10:30 a.m.

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) v. Carlos Cueto (Cal)

Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA) v. Raymond Sarmiento (USC)

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) v. MacKenzie McDonald (USTA)

JT Sundling (USC) v. Maks Gold (Kentucky)

Bob Van Overbeek (Florida) v. Vasko Mladenov (Texas)

11:30 a.m.

Pedro Zerbini (Cal) v. Abe Souza (Illinois)

Noon

Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois) v. Hunter Harrington (USTA)

Alex Musialek (Kentucky) v. Marcos Giron (USTA)

1:00 p.m.

David Holiner (Texas) v. Mitchell Krueger (USTA)

Ed Corrie (Texas) v. Nick Andrews (Cal)

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) v. Johnny Hamui (Illinois)

2:00 p.m.

Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) v. Jack Sock (USTA)

Anthony Rossi (Kentucky) v. Mitchell Frank (USTA)

3:00 p.m.

Daniel Nguyen (USC) v. Jean Andersen (Texas)

Nassim Slilam (Florida) v. Alexios Halebian (USTA)

4:00 p.m.

Jaak Poldma (USC) v. Sekou Bangoura (Florida)

DAY 3: Sunday’s Schedule

8:00 a.m.

Alex Musialek (Kentucky) v. Vasko Mladenov (Texas)

Bob Van Overbeek (Florida) v. Marcos Giron (USTA)

Alexios Halebian (USTA) v. Jean Andersen (Texas)

Jaak Poldma (USC) v. David Holiner (Texas)

Sekou Bangoura (Florida) v. Mitchell Krueger (USTA)

Ed Corrie (Texas) v. Bruno Abdelnour (Illinois)

9:15 a.m.

Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) v. Johnny Hamui (Illinois)

Eric Quigley (Kentucky) v. Raymond Sarmiento (USC)

Pedro Zerbini (Cal) v. Anthony Rossi (Kentucky)

10:30 a.m.

Daniel Nguyen (USC) v. Nassim Slilam (Florida)

Nick Andrews (Cal) v. Hunter Harrington (USTA)

Alexandre Lacroix (Florida) v. Jack Sock (USTA)

Carlos Cueto (Cal) v. Bjorn Fratangelo (USTA)

Abe Souza (Illinois) v. Mitchell Frank (USTA)

Dennis Nevolo (Illinois) v. Maks Gold (Kentucky)

JT Sundling (USC) v. MacKenzie McDonald (USTA)

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.  A not-for-profit organization with 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game.  It owns and operates the US Open, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open.  In addition, it owns the 90-plus Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games.  USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the USTA, provides financial support for disadvantaged youth and people with disabilities through tennis and education programs.  For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.

Headline Tennis News With Koz is Now Online

Tennis Ledger’s Dave ” Koz” Kozlowski of IndieTennis.com gives us today’s Tennis News through his daily broadcast “Headline Tennis News With Koz.”

By clicking the audio player in the sidebar, you will be able to hear today’s broadcast from Koz. He will be updating it daily.

Dave “Koz” Kozlowski is the host of “Inside Tennis With The Koz” one of Tennis Channel’s original show series now airing on www.indietennis.com. Koz is one of the initial 17 Master USPTA Professionals in the world. He was named the 2000 USTA Tennis Broadcaster of the Year. The 2001 National Pro of the Year has the distinction of being the first American tennis broadcaster to interview Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova.

Fish Leads Off US Davis Cup Action

Mardy Fish makes his return to Davis Cup action tomorrow as a pivotal player in the United States’ quest to return to the World Group. Fish opens against Alejandro Falla in the first match of the Davis Cup World Group Playoff against host Colombia on the red clay of the Plaza de Toros La Santamaria in Bogota.

It is a critical tie for the USA, which must win to avoid relegation. If the USA loses, next year will mark the first time since 1988 that it is ineligible to play for the Davis Cup championship.

The 19th-ranked Fish and Falla have split two prior meeting, both on hard court in 2008.

Sam Querrey will play Santiago Giraldo in Friday’s second singles match. Itis the first first match between the 21st-ranked Querrey and World No. 61 Giraldo, who is playing in his hometown.

The tie marks a beginning and an end for American tennis.

Patrick McEnroe will lead the U.S. in his last match as captain.  McEnroe has been the United States Davis Cup coach since 2000 and led the team to its record-extending 32nd Davis Cup title in 2007.

Ryan Harrison, who knocked off Ivan Ljubicic at the US Open, makes his Davis Cup debut on Saturday, partnering with John Isner in the doubles against Robert Farah/Carlos Salamanca.

McEnroe opted against selecting US Open champions Bob and Mike Bryan for the tie, citing the high altitude in Bogota in preferring to pick four players who can play singles and doubles.

It is the first time since 2005, and just the fifth time since the World Group was instituted in 1981, that the U.S. has had to compete in the play-off round.

The U.S. is 3-1 in World Group Playoffs, having defeated Belgium on red clay in its last appearance in the World Group Playoff.

The World Group Playoff against Belgium in 2005 was the first of 10 consecutive U.S. Davis Cup ties that featured the lineup of Andy Roddick, James Blake and the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, shattering the previous U.S. record for most consecutive ties with the same lineup. The previous record was three consecutive ties by eight different combinations.

In Sunday’s reverse singles, Fish plays Giraldo and Querrey closes the best-of-five match tie against Falla.

WORLD GROUP PLAY-OFFS

COLOMBIA v USA
Venue: Plaza de Toros La Santamaria, Bogota, Colombia (clay – outdoors)

Mardy Fish (USA) v Alejandro Falla (COL)
Sam Querrey (USA) v Santiago Giraldo (COL)
Ryan Harrison/John Isner (USA) v Robert Farah/Carlos Salamanca (COL)
Mardy Fish (USA) v Santiago Giraldo (COL)
Sam Querrey (USA) vs. Alejandro Falla (COL)

Richard Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Koz Interviews Rafael Nadal

Tennis Ledger’s Dave ” Koz” Kozlowski of IndieTennis.com was in the interview rooms at the US Open, braving the rain and the crowds. Today, Koz gives us an interview with Rafeal Nadal, the US Open Men’s Champion. They discuss his run at Flushing Meadows and his great season.

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Dave “Koz” Kozlowski is the host of “Inside Tennis With The Koz” one of Tennis Channel’s original show series now airing on www.indietennis.com. Koz is one of the initial 17 Master USPTA Professionals in the world. He was named the 2000 USTA Tennis Broadcaster of the Year. The 2001 National Pro of the Year has the distinction of being the first American tennis broadcaster to interview Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova.