Serena Wins Fourth US Open

Serena Williams collapsed to the tennis court and then jumped for joy after she won her fourth US Open of her career yesterday. The 15th Grand Slam victory of her career wasn’t as easy as it seemed at the beginning, and Williams was actually two points away from losing her second-straight US Open final.

Serena dominated the first set of the matchup, winning 6-2, and breaking the serve of her opponent, 23-year old Victoria Azarenka, ranked #1 in the world, three times. It appeared that the 30-year old Williams would win the final easily, without losing a set to any opponent, something she also accomplished in 2002 on her way to the US Open title. But Azarenka stormed back to take the second set 6-2, to create the first US Open Women’s final to go to a third set in 17 years.

Williams and Azarenka traded breaks in the third and final set, and Azarenka was in control, up 5-3 and a break. At 30-30, Williams took over, holding serve, then breaking Azarenka to tie the set at five, then held serve again before converting a final break that crowned her the champion.

Serena talked about her opponent being two points away from handing her defeat after the match. “At 30-all I figured I could serve out and just make her serve for it…after that, I thought I could just force another game and obviously never give up. I never, never quit. I have come back so many times in so many matches.”

With her win, Williams becomes the first woman ever to win a Grand Slam title in three different decades. “That’s kinda cool” she responded, when asked about the accomplishment. Serena praised the play of her opponent. “You can tell by the score line that she really worked hard and she pushed me.”

Azarenka also had positive things to say about Williams. “She never gives up…she’s definitely the toughest player mentally there is. She continued, with an upbeat attitude. “I have to be positive, you know, because I feel like these kind of matches, every time I play Serena, it really pushes (me) to be better, to improve, to move forward. I have to be thankful to her for that.”

There were numerous entertainers in the star-studded crowd of 23,771, including tennis legends Billie Jean King and Boris Becker, New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Mets pitcher RA Dickey, actors Will Ferrell, Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Judd Hirsch, and James Caviezel, actresses Jennifer Connelly, Minka Kelly,and Vivica Fox, musicians Redfoo of LMFAO and Mandy Moore, supermodel Tyra Banks, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

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.

Williams leads next round of qualifications for TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul

NEW YORK, NY, USA – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced today that Serena Williams and the doubles teams of Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka and Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond have qualified for this year’s TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, which will be staged at the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The WTA’s year-end finale, to be held from October 23-28, will feature the world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams, competing for the coveted title and a share of $4.9 million in prize money.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to Serena, Andrea, Lucie, Liezel and Lisa on qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul,” said Stacey Allaster, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Serena has had an incredible year, becoming the only player in history to achieve a golden career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles, and winning her 5th Wimbledon and 4th US Open titles. Serena’s love of the sport and relentless determination to win continues to inspire generations of tennis fans from around the world.”

 

“Andrea and Lucie’s outstanding play has seen them reach the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, in addition to winning a silver medal at the Olympics. It is a wonderful moment for them to qualify for their first WTA Championships. Liezel and Lisa continue to set the bar for dedication and commitment, capturing five titles and spending 20 weeks as co-No.1s on top of the WTA doubles rankings. It will be great to see them back in Istanbul to defend their title.”

 

Serena Williams

 

This season Williams has added more highlights to her resume, including winning two gold medals at the Olympics to achieve a career golden Grand Slam in singles and doubles, securing her 14th and 15th Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, and surpassing sister Venus for the most titles won by an active player (45).

 

The 30-year-old has compiled a 53-4 record this season and a tour-leading six titles, bolstering her Wimbledon, Olympics and US Open victories with wins at the Family Circle Cup (Charleston), Mutua Madrid Open and Bank of the West Classic (Stanford). She is undefeated against Top 5 opponents this year (10-0), and with her tally of 15 wins, only one player can boast more defeats over World No.1 players (Navratilova, 18; equal with Davenport, 15).

 

Williams has qualified for the WTA Championships on nine occasions during her career, and is set to compete for the first time since 2009. The American is a two-time champion at the event – receiving a walkover in the 2001 final against Davenport, and defeating sister Venus in 2009 – in addition to reaching the final in 2002 (runner-up to Clijsters) and 2004 (runner-up to Sharapova in three sets).

 

Click on the link to hear Serena’s thoughts on her season and qualifying for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul: http://youtu.be/D-xgx4R9gvg

 

Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka

 

“It is such an unbelievable feeling to have qualified for the WTA Championships,” said Hradecka. “I watched the matches last year, and Petra Kvitova told us how amazing the tournament was, so we are really looking forward to it.”

 

“When we were planning our goals at the start of the year, our focus was really on the Olympics, but as the results started to come, we began to think it might be possible to qualify for Istanbul,” said Hlavackova. “It’s great that we’ll be playing indoors on a fast surface, and we’re going to have some fun and make the most of the week.”

 

The Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka has advanced to seven finals so far this season, winning titles at ASB Classic (Auckland), Memphis International, and Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati), in addition to finishing runners-up at Wimbledon, US Open and the Olympics.

 

First teaming together in 2008 they have collected eight titles, including last year’s Roland Garros, and in doing so became the first all-Czech pairing to win a Grand Slam doubles title since Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova won Wimbledon in 1990. Both players will be making their WTA Championships debut, and will follow in the footsteps of Novotna/Sukova who were the last Czech team to contest the WTA Championships, also in 1990.

 

Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond

 

“One of our goals this year was to return to Istanbul and defend our title at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships,” said Huber. “Istanbul was a memorable experience last year and I am excited to be heading there again in October. The doubles competition there will be tough and I’m sure the fans will see some of the best tennis all year.”

 

“I’m thrilled to qualify for my twelfth WTA Championships and am looking forward to ending the year hopefully on a high note in Turkey!” said Raymond.

 

Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond are two of the WTA’s most decorated doubles players. This season they have reached eight finals and captured five titles: Open GDF SUEZ (Paris [Indoors]), Qatar Total Open (Doha), Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) and New Haven Open at Yale.

 

Between them, Huber and Raymond own 132 doubles titles, including 11 Grand Slams and 7 Championships, including last year in Istanbul. Huber has spent 199 weeks at the top of the WTA’s doubles rankings – behind only Navratilova’s 237 weeks – while at 39 years of age, Raymond is the oldest player ever to hold the WTA No.1 ranking in singles or doubles.

 

Huber will be making her sixth appearance at the year-end finale. The 36-year-old is a three-time winner of the WTA Championships, having won in 2007-08 with Cara Black, and last year with Raymond. This will be 39-year-old Raymond’s 12th journey to the event, having first qualified in 1994. Including last year’s victory, she has won the title four times; also in 2001 with Rennae Stubbs, and 2005-06 with Samantha Stosur.

 

These players join the already-qualified Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, and doubles team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Five singles and one doubles spot remains open for this year’s player field.

 

RACE TO THE TEB BNP PARIBAS WTA CHAMPIONSHIPS-ISTANBUL

(players/teams in bold already qualified)

PLAYER

POINTS

  TEAM

POINTS

Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

8686

  Errani / Vinci

10097

Maria Sharapova

8190

  Hlavackova / Hradecka

7100

Serena Williams (USA)

7900

  Huber / Raymond

7036

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)

6296

  Kirilenko / Petrova

4555

Petra Kvitova (CZE)

5310

 

Llaogstera Vives / Martinez Sanchez

3737

Angelique Kerber (GER)

5080

  Kops-Jones / Spears

3143

Sara Errani (ITA)

4820

 

Li Na (CHN)

4152

 

Samantha Stosur (AUS)

3571

Marion Bartoli (FRA)

3345

 

 

 

Tickets for the 2012 TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships–Istanbul, as well as info about the event, are available for purchase through Biletix – either online at www.biletix.com or at Biletix ticket counters in Turkey.

 

Follow all the latest news about the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul on www.wtachampionships.com, www.facebook.com/WTA, and www.twitter.com/WTA using #WTAChamps.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Eloise Tyson, WTA, +44.207.386.4100, etyson@wtatennis.com

Feray Akşit Güney, TEB, +90.216.635.6487, feray.aksitguney@teb.com.tr

Elodie Verbeke, BNP Paribas global sponsorship, +33632300396, elodie.verbeke@bnpparibas.com

Hatem Vural, Accord PR, +902122754710, hvural@accord-pr.com

 


 

About BNP Paribas:

BNP Paribas (www.bnpparibas.com) is one of the strongest banks in the world*. The Group has a presence in more than 80 countries and more than 200,000 employees, including more than 160,000 in Europe. It ranks highly in its three core activities: Retail Banking, Investment Solutions and Corporate & Investment Banking. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail banking model across the Europe-Mediterranean zone and boasts a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Investment Banking and Investment Solutions activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas and solid and fast-growing businesses in Asia.

* Rated AA by Standard & Poor’s i.e. 3rd rating level on a scale of 22.

 

About Türk Ekonomi Bankası (TEB):

Türk Ekonomi Bankası (TEB), a reputable and prestigious institution in the Turkish banking sector, was established in 1927. Since its establishment, TEB, with its expanded network of branches and a diversified range of products and services, pursues operating in various fields of the banking sector as investment, leasing, factoring and portfolio management. In February 2005, BNP Paribas, one of the top 10 most important banks in the world and the largest in the Euro zone, operating in 83 countries, became a partner of TEB which went public in February 2000. In the wake of its strategic partnership with the BNP Paribas, Türk Ekonomi Bankası carries its expertise in foreign trade, corporate, commercial and private banking over into the fields of retail banking and banking for small and medium-sized businesses. Today TEB is one of the major players of the Turkish Financial Services Market with consolidated asset size of 40.5 billion TL and more than 9.000 employees.

 

About BNP Paribas and Tennis:  

Long-standing partner to the sport of tennis since 1973, BNP Paribas is actively involved in the game at both local and international level, and in club, schools and social tennis as well as professional events. BNP Paribas has gradually become the number one sponsor in world tennis: official sponsor of Roland Garros since 1973 and sponsor of five ATP Masters 1000 events – the BNP Paribas Masters since 1986, Monte Carlo Masters since 2005, Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome since 2006, BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells since 2009 and the Shanghai Masters since 2010. The Group is also title sponsor of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas since 2001 and the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas since 2005, as well as being actively involved in many other international competitions including the Bank of the West Classic in California, the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, the Open 13 in Marseille and the BNP Paribas Showdown in New York. BNP Paribas is also an official partner of International Wheelchair Tennis, such as the the “BNP Paribas World Team Cup”. Through its support for more than 20 national tennis associations, 2000 clubs, 550 amateur tournaments, plus schools and social programs around the world, BNP Paribas helps to promote tennis and encourage widespread participation in the game. The Group’s commitment to social values is reflected in the sports sponsorships it has undertaken in numerous projects, including Yannick Noah’s ‘Fête le Mur’ Association and the tennis Téléthon in France, the Oberer Tennis Camp in Switzerland and the BNP Paribas ‘Taste of Tennis’ in the United States. As part of its creative sports sponsorship policy, BNP Paribas has launched a website “www.wearetennis.com” entirely dedicated to tennis news.  The Group’s new sponsorship slogan ‘We are tennis’ underlines the fact that BNP Paribas promotes tennis for all, at all levels.

WILSON WOMEN WAGE FIERCE BATTLE AT 2012 US OPEN SINGLES FINAL

CHICAGO (September 9, 2012) – Wilson Racquet Sports (www.wilson.com), the official ball and stringer of the US Open, was omni-present at the women’s singles’ final with WTA no. 4 Serena Williams playing fellow Wilson player and world no. 1, Victoria Azarenka. Williams, fresh from her Olympic gold medal and playing with her Wilson Blade Team, continued her momentum with a hard fought win over Azarenka, playing with her Wilson Juice 100. Winning her 15th career Grand Slam and fourth US Open title, Williams defeated Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

Williams, who lost only 19 games in six matches leading into the final, took the first set with a dominating serve and precise groundstrokes. Azarenka broke Williams’ serve twice in the second set to level the score to one set apiece. The 23-year old Belarusian came out strong in the third, breaking Williams’ serve to lead 2-1 before Williams reversed the lead by breaking right back. Williams’ win here caps off a steady string of wins, sweeping Wimbledon and the Olympics.

“It’s incredible to win in front of a home crowd,” said Williams. “I felt their energy the entire match and thank all my fans for their support. Vika didn’t make it easy for me — she played a tough match, but I was able to hold on and achieve what I came here to do.”

This is Williams’ 45th WTA career title and tenth victory over Azarenka in their last 11 meetings, all played with Wilson rackets. Williams has won more major titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles than any other active player, male or female and is the second woman ever to win a Golden Slam.

“Serena showed incredible focus and we couldn’t be more proud,” said Renaud Vallon, global tour director of Wilson Racquet Sports. “She is incredibly passionate and shows the next generation what it takes to win.”

The Wilson Blade Team flex and pinpoint accuracy make it the racket of choice among top professionals, including Serena and her sister Venus. The larger head size provides more punch, while the lighter weight gives players greater maneuverability for hitting big shots with increased control. The Wilson Juice 100 features Amplifeel™, Wilson’s proprietary handle system, designed to increase power and spin for hard-hitting players.

Wilson won the US Open mixed doubles final with Bruno Soares and Ekaterina Makarova defeating Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski 6-7(8), 6-1,12-10 in a tiebreak. Soares played with his Wilson Six.One 95 and Ekaterina played with her Wilson Tour BLX. Wilson also swept in juniors with Filip Peliwo (Wilson Blade 98) and Samantha Crawford (Wilson Tour BLX) winning the boys and girls finals respectively, and Kyle Edmund (Six.One 95) and Gabby Andrews (Wilson Juice 100) securing victories in the boys and girls doubles finals.

Wilson owns more Grand Slam titles than any other racket brand.

About Wilson: Wilson Racquet Sports is a division of Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sports equipment and owned by Amer Sports. Wilson designs, manufactures and distributes sporting goods throughout the world and focuses on making technologically advanced products which help players of all levels perform better. For more information, visit www.wilson.com.

Azarenka Comes Out At The Open

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – She dances, she sings, and heck she can hit the ball too.

This is a different Victoria Azarenka we are used to seeing. In the past, she could be testy, yelling at the umpires, linespersons and even ballboys and ball girls.

But now, she is having fun.

All thanks to a sitdown with her grandmother Nina.

“I guess it’s just the mentality change, you know, the approach change,” Azarenka said. “I just know how to prepare myself to be in that state of mind.  It’s never always the same.  Sometimes to come up with that fire it takes a little bit more energy out of me or, you know, a little bit of adaptation, something that I have to bring myself.

“But, yeah, the approach is there.  I enjoy playing on the court.  It’s always there.”

Quietly, we have started to see it the last two weeks. Even though she’s the No. 1 seed, the 23 year-old has been overshadowed by the more household names on the tour.

But after her thrilling 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Maria Sharapova in the Semifinals, everyone is starting to know her now.

And she is having the time of her life.

“It’s sometimes it’s not as fun,” she said with a laugh.  “Especially in that first set today it wasn’t that fun. But I try to enjoy my moment.  I feel like I don’t want it to end.  I’m living this great run, you know, this great opportunities that coming at me, that I just want to continue and enjoy that ride.

“When I’m on the court, I feel like I’m in paradise.  I’m in that most comfortable place I can be.  Why not enjoy it?”

The Belarusian has made a name for herself this year. In the semifinals once in a Grand Slam before 2012, she is now on the cusp to win her second major of the year after winning the Australian earlier this season.

But now, she is facing maybe her toughest competition: Serena Williams.

“Well, first of all, if you look at our record it says it all,” Azarenka, who is 1-9 careerwise against Serena, said. “I mean, I haven’t won in any last meetings, so I definitely need to find something to surprise her tomorrow, because she’s in a great form, you know, feeling really confident right now.

“She has everything on her side.”

And that includes the crowd, who will support the American every day of the week. Azarenka, though isn’t going to be wearing Bobby Bonilla style earplug to drown out the noise.

“I will not really use ear plugs, but I definitely I would be surprised if it would be the other way, so I kind of know that already,” she said. “It’s not the first time for me to kind of face that.  It’s definitely gonna be the first time being in the US Open, but, you know, there is a lot of things that been for the first time for me in this year.  I just need to adjust and try to be, you know, who I am on the court.”

But to win the championship or even make it a game, what does she have to do?

“Well, I have to, you know, try to return well, definitely,” she said smiling.  “And serve.  Because, well, with Serena it’s not really the long rallies.  It’s all about, you know, who grabs the first opportunity, who is more brave to, you know, step it up right from the beginning.”

And if she does it, she will have a puncher’s chance against Serena. But whatever happens, the No. 1 seed will have fun with it.

At least that’s what her grandmother told her to do.

 

 

Serena Williams Steamrolls the Competition

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Serena Williams has been playing some of the best tennis of her career over the last three months. Williams won Wimbledon in July and a few weeks later won the gold medal in Women’s Singles at the 2012 London Olympics. She also added Women’s Double’s gold with her older sister Venus. Next up for Serena was the US Open.

Through the first four rounds of the 2012 US Open, Williams has defeated Coco Vandeweghe, 6-1, 6-1, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, 6-2, 6-4, Ekaterina Makarova, 6-4, 6-0, and Andrea Hlavackova, 6-0, 6-0. Serena has won an incredible 20 straight games, and is the favorite going into the round of eight.

When asked what her play through the first four rounds means, Serena responded “it says I’m focused.” Serena, always critical of her game, said “I feel like today I am getting more comfortable with the court and comfortable with the conditions…I like to play better during the second week.” Fitting, because the best players are the only ones playing in the second week and Serena is not only one of the best of this era, but of all time.

Not everything has gone perfect for Serena, as she and older sister Venus were defeated Monday night in Doubles by Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4. Venus also lost in the second round to Angelique Kerber in front of a boisterous crowd that included actress Vivica Fox. With the singles and doubles losses, Venus Williams is now done for the 2012 US Open, but don’t be surprised if she hangs around to see her younger sister play.

Serena, who is 30-years old, and Sloane Stephens, 19, who has been compared to Serena on the court, have forged a friendship recently that is somewhat of a mentor/mentee relationship. But you would be surprised at who plays what role. “I think she’s more my mentor than anything,” Williams said in an interview after her win over Vandeweghe in the first round. Serena had some more compliments of Stephens on and off the court. “I think she’s an amazing player. She’s playing so smooth. She looks like she gives no effort when she plays.”

Serena continued to talk about Sloane’s on-court performance, adding “I hope I can teach her some things, and hopefully she’s able to do it. I think that we can kind of feed off each other. She can teach me some things, maybe how to be calm on the court.”

Off the court, Serena had even more praise. “I think she’s a great person. She’s always encouraging me not to be single,” Serena said with a smile. Williams was later asked if she thinks Sloane has the potential to be the next superstar on and off the tennis court. “I think she has a great smile, a beautiful face. I think she has such a wonderful personality and attitude. So yeah, I think it’s totally possible.”

Earlier in the day, after her first-round, upset win over Francesca Schiavone, Stephens was asked some questions about Serena as well. “We’re really good friends. We just have a really good relationship. I felt like I knew her in a past life or something, I don’t know. It’s so strange” Sloane said.

One thing that makes Serena Williams so great is her confidence. When asked if she believes in her heart if she is the best player in the game, she responded “Of course I believe that. I think there are a number of players on this tour, a few players who believe that. I don’t think we would be playing if we didn’t believe that.”

Perhaps some of Serena’s confidence has rubbed off on Sloane. When asked if Sloane Stephens will be to be the next superstar in tennis, she simply, and confidently, replied “She is.” With a winning smile, a great personality and confidence to match, many are hoping that Sloane Stephens is the next superstar in the tennis world, and with a mentor like Serena Williams, she is well on her way.

Serena Williams will face Ana Ivanovic Wednesday (rain permitting) for a chance to go to the semifinals of the US Open Wednesday. Ivanovic defeated Stephens in the third round for the second year in a row, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2, and Stephens will definitely be cheering her mentor on.

Sloane and Serena Become Friends

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Serena Williams, one of the greatest female tennis players of all time, who is 30-years old, and Sloane Stephens, a 19-year old emerging star who has been compared to Serena on the court, have forged a friendship recently that is somewhat of a mentor/mentee relationship.

But you would be surprised at who plays what role. “I think she’s more my mentor than anything,” Williams said in an interview after her win over Coco Vandeweghe in the first round of the 2012 US Open. Serena had some more compliments of Stephens on and off the court. “I think she’s an amazing player. She’s playing so smooth. She looks like she gives no effort when she plays.”

Serena continued to talk about Sloane’s on-court performance, adding “I hope I can teach her some things, and hopefully she’s able to do it. I think that we can kind of feed off each other. She can teach me some things, maybe how to be calm on the court.”

Off the court, Serena had even more praise. “I think she’s a great person. She’s always encouraging me not to be single,” Serena said with a smile. Williams was later asked if she thinks Sloane has the potential to be the next superstar on and off the tennis court. “I think she has a great smile, a beautiful face. I think she has such a wonderful personality and attitude. So yeah, I think it’s totally possible.”

Earlier in the day, after her upset win over Francesca Schiavone, Stephens was asked some questions about Serena as well. “We’re really good friends. We just have a really good relationship. I felt like I knew her in a past life or something, I don’t know. It’s so strange” Sloane said.

One thing that makes Serena Williams so great is her confidence. When asked if she believes in her heart if she is the best player in the game, she responded “Of course I believe that. I think there are a number of players on this tour, a few players who believe that. I don’t think we would be playing if we didn’t believe that.”

Perhaps some of Serena’s confidence has rubbed off on Sloane. When asked if Sloane Stephens will be to be the next superstar in tennis, she simply, and confidently, replied “She is.” With a winning smile, a great personality and confidence to match, many are hoping that Sloane Stephens is the next superstar in the tennis world, and with a mentor like Serena Williams, she is well on her way.

Tennis Reacts To Roddick’s Retirement

The news of Andy Roddick’s retirement sent some shockwaves through the tennis world and many of his contemporaries gave their thoughts on what the 2003 US Open Champion meant to them.

James Blake was getting ready to play when the press conference happened. He wasn’t told by Roddick but did see the presser before his second round win.

“I had an inclination from the beginning of the year,” he said. “But I really thought his success at Eastbourne, success at Atlanta, the fact he was playing well again could have possibly changed that.

“To be honest, I thought it would have changed his mind when he beat Federer in Miami. To me that showed he could still beat the top guys.”

Serena Williams, said she knew about the announcement, so it didn’t come as a surprise.

“He told me a while ago, last year, this would be it,” Williams said. “I was at his house at Austin and we were talking about it.

“He’s been great for American men’s tennis, great for the US Open, doing so much and playing so well, just being a great player. A great attitude, incredibly fun to watch. You know, I know a lot of people look up to Andy Roddick. That’s who I want to be like.”

Sam Querrey also described him as his idol and a great help.

“He’s been my biggest role model the last 10 years playing tennis,” Querrey said. “He’s been a great guy, great leader to us all. Nice and kind. Real generous to the up-and-comers.

“For me, for [Ryan] Harrison, for the 18 year-olds now, he’s just been an unbelievable champion, a Hall of Famer, just a great guy, great person for the sport of tennis.”

Then there is Roger Federer, the man he just never could beat.

“Look you are always going to have someone around,” he said. “I had many guys who denied me many things. That was the last thing that came to my mind when he told me he was going to retire.

“He was happy to go into retirement. He had an amazing career. Some expected better; some expected worse. But I am sure he is happy with what he achieved because he achieved everything he wanted.

“Maybe to lose that Wimbledon title potentially, but let’s forget about that. He was in those Wimbledon titles. He could have gotten that title. That’s what I said when I beat him in ’09. He deserves this title as well. In my mind, he is a Wimbledon Champion as well, a wonderful ambassador for the game.

“I’m thankful for everything he’s done for the game, especially here for tennis in America. It’s not been easy after Agassi and Sampras, Currier, Chang, Connors, McEnroe, you name it.”

Serena’s Antics Will Get Her In Trouble

Flushing Meadows, NY – When we last saw Serena Williams step foot in the Borough of Queens, she threatened a line judge with her racket after committing a foot fault, ultimately forfeiting her Semifinal Match against Kim Clijsters in 2009.

The incident cost her around $95,000 in fines and also put her on probation for the 2010 and 2011 US Opens.

She didn’t play last year due to a foot injury, so that made her first round matchup last night against Bojana Jovanowski her first appearance in the 718 area code since the foot fault heard around the world.

Even though she is a low seed (28th due to injuries), this is still Serena Williams so of course she cruised to a 6-1 6-1 victory.

But it’s not a Serena match without some controversy. Last night the Open set her match as the late start, so she had to wait three hours for Rafael Nadal to win his round. And of course Williams couldn’t hold her tongue about it.

“No, I think the guys should play second,” she said. “They’re guys. We’re ladies. We’re ladies. They should totally play second all the time. Ladies, you open the door for ladies. They should go second. It’s ridiculous.”

Before last year’s Open, the ladies always went first, but then in 2010 the Open decided to mix up the matches with some nights having the men in the leadoff spot.

It’s pretty obvious why this is done – money. With the Open taking ESPN’s money, they have become slaves to what the networks want to see in primetime. ESPN’s ratings are dictated by the Eastern Time Zone, which is the most populous part of the United States. Prime time is 8 pm to 10 pm, so you can understand why the network will want the biggest ratings grabber for its first match.

So when it came down to the defending US Open Men’s champion and international star, or Serena, whose first round matchup was a mockery then you can understand what would go first.

Frankly, Serena will be more than glad to take all the prize money from the Open – equal prize money with the men for that matter – so she should sometimes bite the bullet for the bigger and better matches.

With the spotlight on her this year and the zero tolerance policy she has with the Open after two years ago, Serena should just keep her head down and play the game.

The bottom line is this Serena got off easy two years ago, but if anything happens this year then she will probably face harsher sanctions from tennis’s governing bodies.

A New Martina Hingis Leads The Sportimes back into Action…

She was known as “The Swiss Miss,” and at the ripe old age of 18 dominated the women’s tennis scene, especially the hard courts and tough fans of New York’s US Open. Now at age 32, a reborn, married and healthy Martina Hingis will return to New York and the fans who loved her as a member of the New York Sportimes of World Team Tennis. The Sportimes will begin defense of their 2010 Eastern conference title Wednesday the 6th when they take on The Boston Lobsters on Randall’s Island.

“I love the Team Tennis format that Billie Jean has created, and getting to play on the court in New York, at the beautiful facility John McEnroe has will be a thrill for sure,” Hingis said this week. “I feel great, I am enjoying life, and I want to have a great month for the fans and our team.”

The Martina Hingis of today is much more like the graceful player that stormed to the top of the women’s tennis game and much less like the rebellious twentysomething whose life turned due to injuries, boredom and other off the court issues in the latter half of the last decade. She has a new husband, showjumper Thibault Hutin, a new doubles partner at Grand Slams seniors events (Lindsay Davenport, who she teamed to win the French Open Masters with in May), and a new outlook on life that is refreshing in a sport that usually casts off its former stars for long periods of time. “I have my horses, my tennis and a very nice balance right now, especially not travelling 30 weeks a year playing,” she added.

Hingis will be a Sportimes mainstay for their matches this coming month. Fans can catch her no less than five times at the beautiful Randall’s Island facility, playing singles (including a match with the Washington Kastles Serena Williams) and mixed doubles with team captain McEnroe.

More importantly for tennis, it appears that one of their former bright stars is back and enjoying the game, and will bring that joy to the fun-filled world of WTT starting on Wednesday. For all the details visit newyorksportimes.com.