Sam Stosur Presented Sportmanship Award

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., September 4, 2012 — The USTA today announced that Samantha Stosur has received the first-ever “US Open Sportsmanship Award” presented to one male and one female professional tennis player who best demonstrate excellence in sportsmanship throughout the Emirates Airline US Open Series and the US Open. The award was presented to Stosur today at the US Open by USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen and Sportsmanship Selection Committee Chairman Todd Martin.

“Great sports make a sport great and Samantha Stosur is a perfect choice for the US Open Sportsmanship Award,” said Vegosen. “Samantha is a phenomenal player and also exhibits the type of quality and tradition in our sport that we want to showcase. When someone like Samantha has accomplished as much as she has and is still a class act, it shows that character is really important in the game and in life.”

“I feel extremely honored to accept the Sportsmanship Award,” said Stosur. “I always try to compete hard and growing up watching my idols, I admired the players who were graceful in victory or defeat. It was a surprise to receive the award and nice to take home the beautiful trophy, although not quite the big one I was after.”

Stosur won the 2011 US Open, defeating Serena Williams in the final. She reached the round of 16 at the US Open this year, losing to world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in an epic three-set match. Stosur also reached the quarterfinals of the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in Cincinnati and the round of 16 in Montreal. She is ranked No. 7 in the world.

Under Vegosen’s leadership, the USTA started a Sportsmanship Committee in 2011. Its charge is to “educate and inspire youngsters and their parents to develop and exhibit a high degree of sportsmanship and an attitude of fair play and mutual respect on and off the tennis court. Underlying the charge is the ethical imperative that fairness is more important than winning.”

Eligibility requirements for winners include participating in at least two Series tournaments, as well as the 2012 US Open. In addition to a handsome trophy, each US Open Sportsmanship Award winner receives a $5,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice.

LAS VEGAS ATHLETE MANAGEMENT COMPANY SIGNS TOP AMERICAN WOMEN’S TENNIS PROSPECT VARVARA LEPCHENKO

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Feb. 17, 2011) – A new athlete management company based in Las Vegas has announced the signing of professional tennis player Varvara Lepchenko, the No. 74 ranked player in the world.

Agent Atleta’s Jordan J. Butler will represent the 24-year-old Lepchenko, who is coming off the most successful season of her career in which she enjoyed wins over several former and current Top 50 players, including Julia Goerges, Melanie Oudin, Sorana Cirstea, and Mirjana Lucic.  She finished 2010 with fifteen straight victories on the USTA Pro Circuit, capturing three consecutive titles.  Lepchenko has ten ITF career titles to her credit.

Lepchenko was born in Tashkent, Soviet Union (now Uzbekistan), and currently resides in Allentown, PA.  She has been competing under a U.S. designation for the past several years and expects to obtain her U.S. citizenship this coming fall.  It is anticipated that the left-handed Lepchenko will be a candidate for the U.S. Fed Cup Team – there are currently only four Americans ahead of Lepchenko in the WTA world rankings.  Lepchenko recently expressed her desire to compete for her adopted country via her Twitter account (@varunchik1).

“Varvara is a great person and a very talented player who is beginning to hit her stride as a professional,” said Butler.  “Given her strong work ethic and inherent drive to succeed, her best years are clearly ahead of her.  Agent Atleta is ecstatic to represent Varvara’s career interests.”

Lepchenko is coached by her father, Peter Lepchenko.  She trains periodically at the USTA National Training Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.  Her next major WTA Tour event comes at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells next month where she has been entered in the main draw.

About Agent Atleta Ltd.

Agent Atleta Ltd. is an athlete management company based in Las Vegas, Nevada, emphasizing comprehensive representation of professional tennis players.  Agent Atleta literally means “Athlete Agent,” the technically correct term for “sports agent,” as the agent represents the athlete as opposed to the sport.

Agent Atleta’s managing member, Jordan J. Butler, is a certified athlete agent, licensed attorney, and a member of the Sports Lawyers Association and the ABA Forum on Entertainment and Sports Law.  Mr. Butler has a diverse tennis background as a former nationally ranked junior and Division I college tennis player; freelance tennis journalist; and current co-director of the Lexus of Las Vegas Open, a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event.

Agent Atleta also counts American Julia Cohen amongst its clients.  Cohen turned professional in 2010 following a stellar junior and college career.  She is currently ranked No. 161 in the WTA world rankings.

Jan Kodes Hosts Book signings During Open

1971, 1973 US Open Finalist To Sign Copies of “JAN KODES: A JOURNEY TO GLORY FROM BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN” at US Open Bookstore and Czech Restaurant “Café Prague” During 2010 US Open

Coffee Table Book Provides Narrative and Illustrated History of Czech Tennis

NEW YORK – Former Wimbledon champion and two-time U.S. Open finalist Jan Kodes of the Czech Republic will host two additional signings for his new book “JAN KODES: A JOURNEY TO GLORY FROM BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN” during the 2010 US Open.

Kodes will host a signing on Sunday, September 5 at 5 pm at the US Open Bookstore on site at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Kodes will also sign copies of his book at Café Prague, an authentic Czech coffee house in mid-town Manhattan at 2 West 19th Street at Fifth Avenue on Friday, September 10 at 3 pm. Kodes hosted his first book signing at the US Open bookstore on Thursday.

The coffee table book, originally published in Czech, provides a narrative and illustrated history of Czech tennis through the eyes of Kodes and author Peter Kolar. The book, filled with hundreds of unique and personal photographs, documents the successful journey of Kodes from political turmoil of the Cold War to international tennis fame, detailing the early days of darkness and family persecution in communist Czechoslovakia and the complexities of becoming a professional tennis player under a totalitarian regime. Entertaining anecdotes featuring Czech tennis legends Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova are also featured as well as the stories behind Kodes’ victories at Wimbledon and the French Open and his two runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open.

“I am very pleased that this book is now available in English so fans outside of the Czech Republic can learn about my story and some history of tennis in my country,” said Kodes. “I am happy to share stories of my triumphs and failures as well as stories about Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl and other Czech tennis greats.”

“JAN KODES: A JOURNEY TO GLORY FROM BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN” is available for $49.95 in bookstores and retail outlets across the United States and Canada. It is a deluxe glossy photo and text hard cover that fills 548 pages.

Kodes is considered the most under-rated tennis champion of the Open Era, reaching five major singles finals, winning the French Open in 1970 and 1971 and the men’s singles title at Wimbledon in 1973. He also reached the U.S. Open final in both 1971 and 1973, losing to Stan Smith and John Newcombe, respectively. Kodes played Davis Cup for Czechoslovakia for 15 years, leading his country to the final in 1975, where it lost to Sweden in Stockholm. His Davis Cup finale came in representing the team in 1980 when it won the championship over Italy in the final. Kodes has served as his country’s Davis Cup captain, president of the Czech Tennis Association, and tournament director of ATP Czech Open tournament.

“I believe that, in his time, Jan was one of the best players in the world,” said five-time Wimbledon champion Bjorn Borg. “He earned his place in tennis history as a great champion.”

Peter Kolar is a Czech writer, who has written for Basket, Sports Plus, and Xantypa. He is the author of several Czech books profiling the NBA, the Winter Olympics, and three-time world decathlon champion, Tomas Dvorak.

“JAN KODES: A JOURNEY TO GLORY FROM BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN” is published by New Chapter Press – also the publisher of The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer, The Bud Collins History of Tennis by Bud Collins, The Education of a Tennis Player by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match, by Cliff Richey with Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, Tennis Made Easy by Kelly Gunterman, Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli, The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda, Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog by Susan Anson, The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle by Stewart Wolpin, People’s Choice Cancun – Travel Survey Guidebook by Eric Rabinowitz and Weekend Warriors: The Men of Professional Lacrosse by Jack McDermott, among others. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com.

A Lighter Fish Swims At The Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Going into this year’s open, Mardy Fish was having a very impressing year. A finals loss in Cincinnati to Roger Federer is nothing to sneeze at, so much so that many a prognosticator was picking Fish to be America’s best chance to win the Men’s Singles.

But of course, they have to play the matches and Fish survived a first round scare to Czech Jan Hajek in five sets, 6-0 3-6 4-6 6-0 6-1.

“I won”, Fish laughed when asked at what happened today. “No, these guys are good, man.  You know, I started out great.  I made one unforced error in the first set, entire first set.  Played a bad game early in the second and he held, served well, held throughout there.  4‑All in the third set he hit four winners, broke me there, and played a long game the next game and he held.

“Next thing you know, you’re down two sets to one thinking, you know, maybe you’re going home.  That’s not where I want to be right now, so I was lucky to turn it around and play a little more aggressive.  I was playing a little too defensive.  You know, lucky enough to turn it around.”

It’s funny because Fish has been a journeyman for most of his career but at age 28, he seems to have put it all together by watching his diet, while going into a fitness regimen.

“I feel like a completely different person, playing like a completely different player, and able to do things that I’ve never been able to do before,” Fish said.  “Hopefully it’s a career thing.”

And he is seeing the results, because in Cincinnati he beat Gilles Simon, Fernando Verdasco, Richard Gasquet, Andy Murray, and Andy Roddick, which is no small task to say the least.

“I feel so much different, as well,” he said.  “You know, I can look at pictures, and some pictures I might look okay and some, you know, not.

“Even from 2009 Wimbledon, I mean, you know, it’s almost embarrassing to think about as a professional athlete or a professional tennis player.  I mean, we have to be in such good shape.  It’s pretty crazy how I kind of got away with it ‑ for a little while, at least.”

All of this showed today as Fish was on the ropes to Hajek, but with temperatures in the mid-90s, the Czech wilted, while Fish enjoyed the heat, like…well a fish enjoys water.

“Yes, it’s hot,” he thought. “This is probably the hottest it’s gonna be here.  But, I mean, from what we went through this summer, what John and I went through this summer in Atlanta, I mean, it’s just not even ‑‑ I can’t tell you.  It’s not even close.  It’s not even ‑‑ I mean, it’s 50 degrees less, I’m telling you, and no humidity, so it just feels nice. It just feels kind of hot.”

And even with the heat, Fish endured. And many a champion has a five set scare in the first round or two. Today, Fish survived the test and the heat.

Celebrity Tennis Premieres Tomorrow

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28, 2010 – Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, will premier original series Celebrity Tennis, Monday, Feb. 1, at 6:30 pm ET.  The half-hour show is hosted by film, television actor and commentator of The World Poker Tour, Vince Van Patten, who takes viewers inside the lives of celebrities who are passionate about watching and playing tennis.

Van Patten grew up in New York playing tennis near the US Open’s then-Forest Hills home and took up acting when his showbiz family moved to California.  He became a professional tennis player in 1979 and spent eight years on the pro circuit.  In Celebrity Tennis Van Patten unearths the ways his guests are influenced by tennis and how the sport is a regular part of their lives, and offers a demonstration of their on-court strengths.

“The worlds of tennis and celebrity have long been intertwined,” said Laura Hockridge, vice president, original programming, Tennis Channel.  “Professional stadiums are filled with newsmakers of every type, from entertainers and politicians to business people and other sports’ athletes.  Pro tennis players today are just as likely to appear on red carpets or magazine covers.  Vince Van Patten is a perfect host for Tennis Channel’s Celebrity Tennis, having navigated both of these environments throughout his life.”

The premier edition of Celebrity Tennis profiles television’s top advice guru, “Dr. Phil” McGraw, on a red clay court at Church Estate Vineyards in Malibu, Calif., where he declares his backhand to be his best shot.  A serious tennis player who uses the game as his own form of therapy, McGraw hits the court six-to-eight times a week, and admits to Van Patten that he builds his daily schedule around getting in an afternoon match.  McGraw also offers viewers a glimpse inside his overstuffed tennis bag, which he says he always has on hand, as well as a look into his vast closet full of treasured tennis T-shirts.

“It is good to be back in the game I love and a relief to be away from the high stakes poker games for awhile,” said Van Patten.

The second episode of Celebrity Tennis (Feb. 8) visits all-American supermodel Christie Brinkley in East Hampton, N.Y., at a charity benefit for the Ross School, where she is joined by actor Alec Baldwin, tennis legend Andre Agassi and famed tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.

Brinkley, who coincidentally grew up in California on Rod Laver Lane (a street named for one of the sport’s all-time champions), hits with Van Patten on the court at her house, built to the same specifications as center court at the US Open.  Brinkley also demonstrates her air-guitar skills on a tennis racquet, plays tennis with neighborhood kids and divulges funny anecdotes about her many trips to the US Open.

Poker champion Gus Hansen is the focus of episode three (Feb. 15), which takes viewers to Las Vegas’ Stirling Club.  Hansen explains that, although he played in junior tennis tournaments as a youngster, he realized he did not have the goods to go all the way.  Having made close to $10 million as a career gambler, however, he tells Van Patten that he stopped putting his money down on tennis after losing seven figures on a bet that Rafael Nadal would win the 2009 French Open.  (Though at the time of the bet Nadal had never lost a French Open match, the perennial clay-court champion ultimately lost to Robin Soderling in an upset for the ages.)

Television and music superstar Brandy is profiled in the fourth episode of Celebrity Tennis (Feb. 22).  In addition to revealing herself as the hardest working tennis student in show business, Brandy notes that her introduction to the sport came at the hands of none other than her best friend, American superstar Serena Williams.  Van Patten goes for a workout with Brandy and her demanding tennis fitness routine as they get in court time in Calabasas, Calif.

Additional episodes of Celebrity Tennis will follow these initial editions.

Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle.  A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community.  It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup.  Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 MSOs, Verizon FiOS TV, and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.