The Koz with Filip Peliwo

18 year old No. 2 seed Canadian Filip Peliwo won his second Slam title of the year defeating Great Britain’s Liam Broady,  the No. 13 seed  6-2, 2-6, 7-5 to capture the 2012 US Open Jr. Boys Championships.

Peliwo is the first player since Australian Mark Kratzmann in 1984 to reach the final of all four junior slams. Dave “KOZ” Kozlowski caught up with the champion at the National Billie Jean King USTA Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY.

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The Koz with Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci

Number two seeds Italians Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci captured their second Slam Women’s Doubles Title with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over number seeds Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka. Dave “KOZ” Kozlowski caught with the champions at the National Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, NY.

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World TeamTennis Finals to air live on NBC Sports Network

NEW YORK (September 10, 2012) – World TeamTennis, the coed professional tennis league co-founded by Billie Jean King, today announced an agreement to air the WTT Eastern Conference Championship and the WTT Finals on NBC Sports Network, Sept. 15-16.

NBC Sports Network will air six hours of coverage from the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, set for Sept. 14-16 at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston, S.C.  The network will be the broadcast home for the Eastern Conference Championship on Sept. 15, and the WTT Finals on Sept. 16.  The Western Conference Championship on Sept. 14 and the Eastern Conference Championship on Sept. 15 will both be live streamed on WTT.com.

Leif Shiras will host the WTT broadcasts and will be joined by former WTT veteran Luke Jensen.

The WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO kicks off on Friday, Sept. 14, when the Orange County Breakers take on the Sacramento Capitals for the Western Conference title.  Action begins at 6:30 p.m. EDT and the match will be live streamed on WTT.com.

Venus Williams leads the undefeated Washington Kastles into the Eastern Conference Championship match against their rival New York Sportimes featuring Martina Hingis and John McEnroe on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 6:30 p.m. EDT.  The Kastles are riding a 30-match win streak, the second longest in U.S. pro sports team history.  Washington won the 2011 title with the first undefeated 16-0 record in WTT history.  The Eastern Conference final will air on NBC Sports Network at 12:30 a.m. EDT / 9:30 p.m. PDT that evening and will be live streamed on WTT.com.

The two Conference Champions will face off on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3:30 p.m. EDT, in the WTT Finals which will air live on NBC Sports Network.  All four teams have won at least one WTT title, with the Sacramento Capitals leading the way with a League-record six titles.

Sacramento, Orange County, Washington and New York advanced to the WTT Finals Weekend after capturing the top two spots in their conferences during the 37th regular season of the WTT Pro League presented by GEICO, which ran July 9-28.  For tickets or other information on the WTT Finals Weekend presented by GEICO, visit www.FamilyCircleCup.com/WTT or www.WTT.com/Finals.

GEICO is the presenting sponsor of the WTT Pro League.  Other official WTT Pro League national and regional sponsors for the 2012 season include Cancer Treatment Centers of America, DecoTurf, Kraft, Mylan, Sims Recycling Solutions, UBS and Wilson Racquet Sports.

WTT FINALS WEEKEND  – TV & LIVE STREAM SCHEDULE

Fri., Sept. 14 – Western Conference Championship- 6:30 p.m. EDT – live stream on WTT.com

Sat., Sept. 15 – Eastern Conference Championship – 12:30 a.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network (tape-delay) and live stream on WTT.com (Eastern Conference Championship live stream presented courtesy of the Washington Kastles)

Sun., Sept. 16 – WTT Finals – 3:30 p.m. EDT – LIVE on NBC Sports Network

MEDIA CONTACT:  Rosie Crews, WTT  817.684.0366  rcrews@wtt.com

About WTT Pro League presented by GEICO: 

The World Team Tennis (WTT) Pro League presented by GEICO showcases the best in professional team tennis with the innovative coed team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s.  The WTT Pro League has featured virtually every major champion of the Open era over the League’s past 36 seasons.  The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is a minority owner and promotional partner of World TeamTennis.   WTT and the USTA are teaming up on number of initiatives, including development of the youth market through junior team tennis programs.  For more information on the WTT Pro League, visit www.WTT.com.

About NBC Sports Network:

NBC Sports Network is the 24/7 cable platform for NBC Sports’ rich heritage of unmatched storytelling, best-in-class production and utilizing broad promotion to make big events bigger. Now in more than 79 million homes, NBC Sports Network serves sports fans by airing coverage of the Olympic Games and Trials as well as the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, major college football and basketball, and horse racing surrounding the Triple Crown, among other events.  The network’s original programming, such as Costas Tonight, NFL Turning Point and NBC SportsTalk, exemplifies NBC Sports’ ability to tell stories and provide meaningful, relevant content. The network is also home to the best outdoor programming on television. NBC Sports Network, which prides itself on serving sports fans across multiple platforms, is distributed via cable, satellite and telco operators throughout the United States.

Samantha Crawford Wins Girls Junior Championship

FLUSHING, N.Y., September 9, 2012 – The United States Tennis Association (USTA) today announced that American Samantha Crawford of Atlanta, Ga., captured the 2012 US Open Girls’ Junior Championship with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over No. 12 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sunday. Crawford, who currently trains at the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla., is the second consecutive American to win the US Open Junior Girls’ title, and the third in the past five years.

“We are extremely proud of Sam and the total team effort of her family, coach Kathy Rinaldi and the entire USTA Player Development team Boca Raton,” said USTA General Manager, Player Development Patrick McEnroe.

Crawford follows Grace Min, in 2011, and CoCo Vandeweghe, in 2008, as Americans to win US Open Junior titles in the last five years. Crawford’s victory also completes an American sweep of the 2012 US Open Junior Girls’ titles after Taylor Townsend, of Jonesboro, Ga., and Gabrielle Andrews, of Pomona, Calif., won the doubles championship on Saturday.

Crawford, a 17-year-old wild card in the 2012 US Open Junior Championship, defeated five of the Top 12 seeds to win her first major girls’ singles title and cap an impressive summer. Crawford, as a wild card, qualified for the US Open singles main draw and took Great Britain’s Laura Robson to a second-set tiebreak in the first round. She also played in the US Open women’s doubles and mixed doubles main draws, earning a wild card entry into the former after winning the USTA Girls’ 18s Nationals doubles title with partner Allie Kiick, of Plantation, Fla.

Crawford was playing in just her fifth ITF world junior circuit event of the year. Prior to the US Open, she played in two USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 events in 2012, reaching the final in Yakima, Wash., and the semifinal in Sacramento.

BBC to be honored for commitment to tennis at The Legends Ball

NEWPORT, R.I., September 6, 2012 – With US Open finals weekend just around the corner, so is The Legends Ball, the annual gala celebration of tennis hosted by the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. The event will gather hundreds of tennis enthusiasts, industry leaders, and stars of the sport, including recent retiree Kim Clijsters and legends like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Pam Shriver, Stan Smith, and more, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. The Legends Ball will pay tribute to the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2012- Jennifer Capriati, Gustavo Kuerten, Manuel Orantes, Mike Davies, and Randy Snow, and it will recognize one individual and one organization that have shown an exceptional commitment to the growth of the sport. The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award, which is presented to an organization, will be awarded to the BBC, which has delivered an outstanding year of tennis coverage, including Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympic Games, and is in their 85th year of covering the sport. BBC Sport’s tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend will be at the event to accept the award. It was previously announced that the other award of the evening, the Eugene L. Scott Award, will be awarded to Chris Evert and presented by Billie Jean King.

 

The Cullman Award is given in honor of the man who served as president and chairman of the Hall of Fame from 1982-1988, and recognizes an exceptional company that shares Cullman’s enthusiasm for tennis and has also made a significant contribution to society at large- both philanthropically and through outstanding generosity of spirit.

 

“The BBC has been a dedicated broadcast partner to the sport of tennis for a remarkable 85 years. In recent months they’ve delivered extraordinary coverage of Wimbledon, as well as some of the most exciting Olympic tennis the world has ever experienced. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s Legends Ball is an opportunity to pay tribute to the outstanding contributors to the sport of tennis who have played an instrumental role in its growth. We are so pleased to present the Cullman Award to the BBC to say thank you for all they’ve done to spread tennis news and deliver its most important moments to the fans,” said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.

 

The BBC brought tennis to the airwaves of Great Britain in 1927, with the first radio coverage of Wimbledon. This contract with the All England Lawn Tennis Club continues today- making it the longest running multiplatform rights contract in world sport.

 

The BBC has always strived to bring technological innovation to tennis- the first ever live television coverage of a sports event (1937), first color TV broadcast (1967), first use of Hawkeye in tennis, first multi-platform coverage, and in 2011, the first ever 3D transmission on the BBC. As host broadcaster at Wimbledon, the BBC currently brings live coverage of the event from nine courts, producing over 900 hours of tennis coverage distributed to 160 countries. Over the years, many great voices of the sport have delivered BBC’s coverage, including Dan Maskell, “The Voice of Tennis” for BBC from 1949 -1991, John Barratt, Bill Threlfall, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Bjorn Borg, and Jimmy Connors. Today’s team is led by Sue Barker and includes John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lindsay Davenport, Virginia Wade, Tracy Austin, John Lloyd, Pat Cash, and Tim Henman.

 

As well as Wimbledon, the BBC covered many World Championship Tennis tour events throughout the 1970’s, and has been the host broadcaster for Olympic tennis from Atlanta, Athens, and London, with live coverage everyday from the 2012 Olympics. Over the years the BBC has covered all the Grand Slams with many years at the French and Australian Opens. Additional tennis coverage has included annual tournaments such as Queens, Eastbourne, and Bournemouth, as well as Davis Cup, Wightman Cup, the ATP World Tour Finals, and the Masters events from The Royal Albert Hall.

 

Today’s multi-platform coverage includes the Wimbledon Championships, as well as the Australian Open Finals, the Barclay’s ATP World Tour Finals, and the AEGON Championshpis at Queen’s Club on television. BBC Radio 5 Live has commentary from all four Grand Slams, all the key ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, and Wimbledon warm-up events, plus key Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties. News and reports throughout the year across BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC news channel, and BBC sport online round out the tennis coverage.
Previous recipients of the Cullman Award have been: BNP Paribas (2006); Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc. (2007); Sony Ericsson (2008); Tennis Channel (2009); Mercedes-Benz (2010); and Campbell Soup Company (2011).

 

An impressive collection of tennis greats will be in attendance at the Legends Ball, including current players, Hall of Famers, executive leaders from the ATP World Tour, WTA, ITF, and Grand Slam tournaments and tennis fans from around the world. In celebration of their Hall of Fame Induction, which occurred in July, speaking programs and video presentations will pay tribute to former world No. 1’s Jennifer Capriati and Gustavo Kuerten, Spanish tennis great Manuel Orantes, tennis industry innovator and promoter Mike Davies, and the late wheelchair tennis champion, Randy Snow.

 

Always a highlight of the evening, The Legends Ball silent auction will feature an array of exclusive experiences and luxury items that will excite tennis fans and non-tennis fans alike. Among the items up for bid are exclusive tickets for the finals of all four tennis majors in 2013, luxurious vacation packages to the Caribbean and Europe, tennis camps for juniors and adults, including a week of instruction at esteemed academies like the Chris Evert Tennis Academy and Ivan Lendl’s International Junior Tennis Academy, and exclusive tickets to events including the Grammy Awards and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

 

Proceeds of The Legends Ball, which has been held annually since 1980, will benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and support the mission of preserving the history of the game, honoring the legends and inspiring the future.

 

For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or to learn more about The Legends Ball, call 401-849-3990 or email mforts@tennisfame.com.

 

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About the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum

Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on a six-acre property that features an extensive Museum chronicling the history of the sport and honoring the 225 Hall of Famers; 13 grass tennis courts and an indoor tennis facility that are open to the public and to a club membership; a rare Court Tennis facility; and an historic 297-seat theatre. Annually in July, the venue hosts the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships for the Van Alen Cup, an ATP World Tour event. The buildings and grounds, which were constructed in 1880 by McKim, Mead & White to serve as a social club for Newport’s summer residents, are renowned for their incredible architecture and preservation. The facility was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is supported by Official Partners including BNP Paribas, Chubb Personal Insurance, Kia Motors and Rolex Watch USA. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and its programs, call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.

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.

Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters Qualify For WTA Championships

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Today, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters became the third and fourth singles players to qualify for the season-ending WTA Championships–Doha 2010, set to take place for the third year in a row at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar, from October 26-31.  Williams and Clijsters join Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and the doubles teams of Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta and Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik who qualified earlier. The world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams will compete for the coveted WTA Championships title and a share of the $4.5 million in prize money.

“I congratulate both Serena and Kim for qualifying for the WTA Championships and am glad that fans all over the world will have the opportunity to watch these two incredible players compete for the coveted title in Doha,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

SERENA WILLIAMS:

World No.1 Serena Williams has qualified for the WTA Championships for the seventh time in her career and is headed to Doha as the defending champion, having defeated sister Venus in the 2009 final.  In her career, Serena has held the World No.1 ranking for 122 weeks (6th all-time), including all of 2010 season to date.  Serena enjoyed a successful start to the 2010 season, capturing her 12th Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open, in addition to taking home the doubles trophy with Venus.  At Roland Garros, she reached the quarterfinals (l. to Stosur) and also won the doubles title with Venus. She then went on to capture her 13th Grand Slam victory at Wimbledon two weeks later, passing Billie Jean King’s career number of Grand Slams singles title wins.

In addition to her success at the Grand Slams, Serena reached the final of the Medibank International (Sydney, l. to Dementieva) and the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Rome, l. to Jankovic).

KIM CLIJSTERS:

“A year into my comeback, making the WTA Championships is a great achievement to me. It’s certainly a personal highlight and goal of mine,” said World No.5 Clijsters.  “I’ve never been to Doha so it will be exciting to travel there as it’s a place I’d like to see and learn about.”

Just one year since making a comeback to the sport after a two-year hiatus, Kim Clijsters is the fourth player to qualify for the WTA Championships and will attempt to win her third year-end title, having previously captured the trophy in 2002 and 2003.  This year marks Clijsters’ seventh year-end Championships appearance, the first since 2006.

Clijsters has had a terrific 2010 season, highlighted by winning her third US Open title, and reaching her “second-career” highest ranking of World No.3 on August 23, 2010.  Clijsters has an impressive 36-6 win-loss record this year and has reached the quarterfinals or better seven times in 10 tournaments played.  In 2010, Clijsters has won four tournaments – the Brisbane International (Brisbane), the Sony Ericsson Open (Miami), the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open (Cincinnati), in addition to defending her title at the US Open.

RACE TO THE WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS – DOHA 2010 (as of the week of September 27, 2010)

SINGLES DOUBLES
PLAYER POINTS RACE STANDING TEAM POINTS RACE STANDING
Caroline Wozniacki** 5615 1 Gisela Dulko/Flavia Pennetta** 7186 1
Serena Williams** 5355 2 Kveta Peschke/Katarina Srebotnik** 5921 2
Kim Clijsters** 5295 3 Serena Williams/Venus Williams 5500 3
Vera Zvonareva** 5173 4 Lisa Raymond/Rennae Stubbs 4704 4
Venus Williams 4985 5 Vania King/Yaroslava Shvedova 4527 5
Samantha Stosur 4567 6 Nuria Llagostera Vives/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 3676 6
Jelena Jankovic 4033 7
Francesca Schiavone 3952 8
Justine Henin 3415 9
Elena Dementieva 3327 10
Victoria Azarenka 3196 11
Li Na 3091 12
Shahar Peer 2965 13
Agnieszka Radwanska 2831 14

** Denotes player/team has already qualified

Women’s Professional Tennis Celebrates 40th Anniversary

ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA – Forty years ago today, women’s professional tennis was born when nine players, called the Original 9 and led by Billie Jean King, signed symbolic $1 contracts with the late Gladys Heldman, publisher of World Tennis publications, to compete in the newly-created Virginia Slims Circuit.  On September 23, 1970, Billie Jean King, joined by Rosemary Casals, Nancy Richey, Kerry Melville, Peaches Bartkowicz, Kristy Pigeon, Judy Dalton, Valerie Ziegenfuss, and Julie Heldman, decided to participate in the inaugural $7,500 Virginia Slims of Houston event that was financially backed by Phillip Morris’ Joe Cullman.  The Virginia Slims of Houston paved the way for other tournaments of its kind and led to the creation of 19 others, offering total prize money of $309,100.  Subsequently, in 1971, King became the first female athlete in history to pass the six-figure mark in single season earnings.

“When the nine of us signed $1 contracts with Gladys, one of our goals was to create opportunities for new generations,” said Billie Jean King.  “We wanted to make sure that any young girl, if she was good enough and if she wanted to, would have the opportunity to make a living playing tennis. Now, 40 years later, we are seeing our dreams come to life.”

“Billie Jean King and her team of pioneers – the Original 9 – will forever serve as inspiration for every woman who has ever had a goal and a dream,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association). “Sports are a microcosm of society and Billie Jean and her fellow players were able to use tennis as a platform for social change, one that’s led to incredible opportunities for millions of women around the world.”

The WTA was founded following a meeting held during the 1973 Wimbledon Championships at the Gloucester Hotel in London, which united all of women’s professional tennis into one Tour.  Billie Jean King was the original president of the Women’s Tennis Association, which in 1974 further increased its financial stature by signing a television broadcast contract with CBS, the first in the history of women’s professional sports.  Also in 1974, the US Open offered women tennis players equal prize money to their male counterparts.

By 1980, there were more than 250 professional women tennis players competing all over the world in the WTA’s 47 events with total prize money of $7.2 million.  During the 1980’s, Martina Navratilova became the first woman to earn more than $1 million in a single season.  She bettered that effort in 1984 by crossing the $2-million mark in single season prize money, earning more than John McEnroe, the men’s World No.1 at the time.

In 2001, overall WTA prize money increased to $50 million with 63 events, including inaugural tournaments in the Middle East’s cities of Doha, Qatar and Dubai, UAE.  In 2005, the WTA struck a landmark 6-year, $88 million deal when Sony Ericsson agreed to become the sport’s worldwide title sponsor, marking the largest and most comprehensive sponsorship in the history of tennis and of women’s professional sport. By 2009, the WTA total prize money had grown to $85 million.

The historic achievement of equal prize money at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2007 meant that following a 37-year campaign that began with Billie Jean King and the Original 9, all four Grand Slams offered parity for the first time.  Six other tournaments have followed in the Grand Slams’ footsteps and now offer equal prize money, including the year-end WTA Championships.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Q & A With Bill Mountford of World Team Tennis

World Team Tennis completed another successful season back in July. With a unique format and fast action, it’s no wonder it has been around for 35 years.

But what about its future? Well today, Tennis Ledger is proud to interview Bill Mountford, the former Director of the National Tennis Center and the LTA in England, who is currently Vice President of WTT.

Tennis Ledger: Tell us a little about the Elton John event in Washington, DC this November.

Bill Mountford: WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO is an annual charity event co-hosted by longtime friends Billie Jean King and Sir Elton John. Elton is a huge tennis fan and wanted to do something in the tennis community so he teamed up with Billie Jean to create Smash Hits. The money raised from this tennis event and pre-match reception, as well as the live auction, will benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Washington AIDS Partnership. This is the first time in the event’s 18 year history that it will be held in the Washington, D.C. area. It’s a great night of tennis for a great cause. The talent is unbelievable – Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, James Blake, Anna Kournikova and we will be adding more names. All these tennis greats volunteer their time and talents and the quality of tennis is terrific. (NOTE: visit www.WTT.com/SmashHits for information and tickets.)

TL: How would you assess this past season of WTT?

BM: The 2010 season was a great celebration of the 35-season legacy of World TeamTennis. We had a season loaded with top players like Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, John McEnroe and the return of Martina Hingis among so many other recognizable names. In the WTT Pro League, we like to showcase three generations of tennis and bring quality, professional team tennis to supportive markets. Only two of our 10 markets have other big-time professional tennis events, so we recognize that it is vital to showcasing our sport in this country. Our 35th season culminated with one of the most exciting finals in recent history with the Kansas City Explorers winning their first-ever WTT Championship before a standing-room-only hometown crowd. It was a great finish to a memorable season.

TL: Are there any expansion plans on the horizon?

BM: As far as the WTT Pro League is concerned, we are not looking to expand beyond 10 teams in the U.S. right now. However we are discussing opportunities to take World TeamTennis to international markets. We had a successful WTT exhibition event at the 2010 Australian Open and we hope to build on that. On the Recreational TeamTennis side of the business, we are always seeking opportunities to establish new leagues in new markets. These WTT “Rec Leagues” are a great compliment to USTA Leagues all over the country, and there are 16,000 players who currently participate. We’d all love to see that number continue to grow.

TL: Any new innovations anticipated for 2011?

BM: We have begun preparations for the 2011 WTT Pro League season and we surely remain open to trying new things. My “blink” response to the question would be: “Yes!” WTT has been long been viewed as the “think tank” for professional tennis and we enjoy our role as innovators. It is likely that a few of our new ideas for the pro league – and for the overall betterment of our sport – will be put forth. Stay tuned on this…

TL: How actively involved is Billie Jean King with WTT?

BM: Billie Jean remains quite active with World TeamTennis, and WTT will always be a big part of her legacy in the sport. Along with CEO Ilana Kloss, she certainly remains the leading ambassador and spokesperson for WTT. Billie Jean has often said that if you want to see her philosophy on life, then you should watch a World TeamTennis match because it showcases men and women working together with equal contributions.

Richard Kent is the author of the tennis books “Inside The US Open” and “The Racket.”

After The Win, Nadal Basks In Glory

In the city that never sleeps, Rafael Nadal wasn’t resting on his laurels after capturing his first career US Open to complete the career Grand Slam on Monday night. The World No. 1 stayed on site at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center until after 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, celebrating with his family and friends, making a point to personally thank the members of the USTA staff for running the tournament and conducting interviews with Spanish television.

“I had the control antidoping, and saying hello, all the US Open staff and say thanks, everybody, for the organization, for the facilities that they give me, they give to me,” Nadal said in explaining his activity immediately after he crashed to the court following championship point.  “After that, I was with the authorities, they came, thank you very much. And the president of the Spanish Federation and the family.  Just be out there for the family for a few minutes, and afterward I was in the locker room organization, and having organizing all the clothes.”

So exactly what did Nadal do the morning after his triumph in New York City?

Nadal and girlfriend Xisca, who sat by herself in the player dining area gazing out of the window and watching the rain fall during the one hour, 47-minute rain delay that interrupted the men’s final, sat side-by-side in a van that took the pair back to their Manhattan hotel after 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

The nine-time Grand Slam champion only got about three hours of sleep before heading to Times Square with his family and management team for a photo shoot across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe.

Tourists and fans, seeing the swarm of photographers waiting and blue police barricades set up in Times Square knew something was about to happen and began to crowd the area.

Nadal and his team rolled up, he jumped out of a car and posed for a series of photos while fans screamed support (and a couple of marriage proposals) in his direction. An immensely popular presence in New York, Nadal acknowledged the crowd then it was back in the car for the short ride to Nike Town in mid-town Manhattan where fellow Nike endorser and tennis television analyst John McEnroe, who picked Nadal to win the Open before the tournament began last month, conducted a question and answer session in front of fans wearing Nike Nadal t-shirts staffers passed out at the door.

At the start of the interview McEnroe asked Nadal the question that had long been on his mind.

“How are you so damn humble?” McEnroe asked. “(You must be thinking) Why is this old man asking me these boring questions I want to get the hell out of here  and go home.”

A grinning Nadal replied: “Always a pleasure to talk to you John. That’s the only thing I can do (be nice to people). There are people out there every day waiting for a photo. That’s the normal thing to do. That’s my opinion.”

An unconvinced McEnroe shot back, “I tell them to get a life sometimes” prompting laughter from both the crowd and Nadal.

Nadal said life in Mallorca has shaped the player and man he has become.

“It’s part of the character in Mallorca; we are very relaxed,” Nadal said. “The life there goes a
little slower than here in New York so for that reason I am more relaxed on court.”

Completing the career Grand Slam on Arthur Ashe Stadium Court, Nadal fell to his back in a complete collapse and said his match point moment was purely a physical response.

“You don’t have control of your body at that moment,” Nadal said. “I don’t have any plan to go down when I win the title. When I won the last point I am (there).”

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.