Party Rock Open Wild Cards Announced

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 19, 2012) – Las Vegas’ Asia Muhammad and US Open Junior Girls winner Samantha Crawford have been awarded main draw singles wild cards into the Party Rock Open, a women’s $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament taking place at the Darling Tennis Center Sept. 23-30.

 

Muhammad is fresh off competing in the finals of the World Team Tennis Championships.  The 21-year-old, who turned pro as a teenager in 2007, will look to make a splash in her hometown event after reaching the quarterfinals in 2009.

 

Just last month Crawford, 17, reeled off six straight matches to capture the US Open Junior Girls’ title as a USTA wild card.  Crawford is from Atlanta and trains full-time at the USTA’s National Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.

 

Other main draw wild card recipients include 2010 NCAA champion Chelsey Gullickson, and Allie Will, a 21-year-old who led the Florida Gators to back-to-back NCAA team titles in 2011 and 2012.

 

Gullickson is from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and is the daughter of former major league baseball pitcher Bill Gullickson.

 

Qualifying wild cards went to teenagers Chalena Scholl (U.S.), Ayaka Okuno (Japan), and Las Vegas’ Kimberly Yee, the No. 1 16-year-old in the country.  Sanaz Marand (U.S.) and 24-year-old Toni Kinard (U.S.) round out the qualifying wild cards with one to be determined.

 

In doubles the USTA will be awarding a main draw wild card to be announced on Monday, and tournament organizers have selected Roxanne and Sierra Ellison, the stalwart sisters who graduated from San Diego State University and turned pro this year.

 

Italy’s Romina Oprandi, currently ranked No. 59 in the WTA world rankings, captured the Las Vegas title in 2011, while top 25 player and U.S. Olympian Varvara Lepchenko was the 2010 champion.

 

The tournament’s official website is www.partyrockopen.com. To learn more about Redfoo and Party Rock Clothing, go to www.partyrockclothing.com.

 

The Party Rock Open is presented by Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center, Las Vegas’ premier orthopedics group. Other sponsors include: USTA-Nevada, CourtThink, LLC, Agent Atleta, Ltd., WG Communications Group, Cox Communications, ESPN 1110 AM, The Point 97.1, 98.5 KLUC, Marty Hennessey Foundation, Solinco strings, Western Cab Company, Marquis Aurbach and Coffing, www.10sBalls.com, Asics, and Perrier water.

 

Follow along on Twitter @partyrockopen and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/partyrockopen.com.

 

Tournament Co-Directors:                    Tyler Weekes  tyler@CourtThink.com

Jordan J. Butler, Esq. jordan@agentatleta.com 

 

Tournament Press Contact:                  Steve Pratt  310.408.4555, Sprattt@aol.com

 

Tournament Marketing/Sponsorship:   Terri Weisbord  702.806.9760 terriwgcommgroup@aol.com

 

USTA Pro Circuit

With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 33 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Mardy Fish, Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, Caroline Wozniacki, John Isner, Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.

World Team Tennis Results – 7/6/11

FINAL RESULTS – All matches complete:

NEW YORK SPORTIMES def. Boston Lobsters 21-16

Men’s Doubles – Greg Jones\Jesse Witten (Sportimes) def. Eric Butorac\Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) 5-3

Women’s Singles – Martina Hingis (Sportimes) def. Coco Vandeweghe (Lobsters) 5-2

Men’s Singles – Jan-Michael Gambill (Lobsters) def. Jesse Witten (Sportimes) 5-3

Mixed Doubles – Coco Vandeweghe\Eric Butorac (Lobsters) def. Martina Hingis\Greg Jones (Sportimes) 5-3

Women’s Doubles – Martina Hingis\Abigail Spears (Sportimes) def. Mashona Washington\Coco Vandeweghe (Lobsters) 5-1

Washington Kastles def. PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS 19-18

Men’s Singles – Brendan Evans (Freedoms) def. Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) 5-2

Women’s Doubles – Lisa Raymond\Beatrice Capra (Freedoms) def. Venus Williams\Rennae Stubbs (Kastles) 5-3

Men’s Doubles – Nathan Healey\Brendan Evans (Freedoms) def. Bobby Reynolds\Leander Paes (Kastles) 5-4

Women’s Singles – Venus Williams (Kastles) def. Beatrice Capra (Freedoms) 5-2

Mixed Doubles – Venus Williams\Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Lisa Raymond\Nathan Healey (Freedoms) 5-1

Newport Beach Breakers def. SPRINGFIELD LASERS 20-19

Men’s Singles – Raven Klaasen (Lasers) def. Lester Cook (Breakers) 5-2

Women’s Singles – Anne Keothavong (Breakers) def. Carly Gullickson (Lasers) 5-1

Men’s Doubles – Paul Hanley\Raven Klaasen (Lasers) def. Lester Cook\Travis Rettenmaier (Breakers) 5-3

Women’s Doubles – Anne Keothavong\Marie-Eve Pelletier (Breakers) def. Carly Gullickson\Lilia Osterloh (Lasers) 5-4

Mixed Doubles – Marie-Eve Pelletier\Travis Rettenmaier (Breakers) def. Carly Gullickson\Paul Hanley (Lasers) 5-4

ST LOUIS ACES def. Sacramento Capitals 21-16

Men’s Doubles – Jean-Julien Rojer\Roman Borvanov (Aces) def. Nick Monroe\Mark Knowles (Capitals) 5-2

Men’s Singles – Roman Borvanov (Aces) def. Nick Monroe (Capitals) 5-1

Mixed Doubles – Mark Knowles\Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) def. Jean-Julien Rojer\Liezel Huber (Aces) 5-3

Women’s Singles – Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) def. Maria Sanchez (Aces) 5-3

Women’s Doubles – Liezel Huber\Maria Sanchez (Aces) def. Christina Fusano\Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) 5-3

Standings

Eastern Conference MP W L PCT MB

Washington Kastles         2  2  0 1.000  —

Boston Lobsters            2  1  1 0.500  1

New York Sportimes         2  1  1 0.500  1

Philadelphia Freedoms      2  0  2 0.000  2

Western Conference MP W L PCT MB

Newport Beach Breakers     2  2  0  1.000  —

Springfield Lasers         2  1  1  0.500  1

St Louis Aces              2  1  1  0.500  1

Kansas City Explorers      1  0  1  0.000  1.5

Sacramento Capitals        1  0  1  0.000  1.5

Next Matches: 7/7/2011

New York Sportimes @ PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS, 7:00 PM (EDT)

Boston Lobsters @ WASHINGTON KASTLES, 7:00 PM (EDT)

Newport Beach Breakers @ ST. LOUIS ACES, 7:15 PM (CDT)

Sacramento Capitals @ KANSAS CITY EXPLORERS, 7:35 PM (CDT)

For live scoring and complete player / match statistics, please visit www.WTT.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.

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.

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.”

A Family Affair On Randall’s Island

World Team Tennis is supposed to be fun. The format, the intensity of the season, and even the fun rules makes it a great place to take families.

With that in mind the New York Sportimes may have taken it one step further.

Coach Chuck Adams is back for his fourth season helming the New York Squad, but and like back in 2007, he will have his wife and new mother Ashley Harkleroad right next to him on the bench, making a comeback from maternity leave from the sport.

“I think it’s a good break for Ashley to come out and still be a part of the tennis,” Adams said. “If you are on the tour, it’s all or nothing, going from city to city. This is a good way to get her feet wet and see if she enjoys the competition.”

Harkleroad has been on the sidelines for the past 2 ½ years with the birth of Adams and her son Charlie, born on March 30, 2009. Taking part in the Sony Ericsson Open back in March, she lost in the first round to Alicia Molik, 6-1 6-1, but is using this World Team Tennis season to really see if she should make a full blown comeback.

“Actually it’s really fun to be back out here again, be on a team, to be coached by him because I have been out for 2 ½ years. It’s actually really exciting,” Harkleroad said. “It’s slowly coming along. When I am at home, I am only practicing two days a week because I concentrate on being a full time mom. It’s actually a good opportunity to be a good opportunity for me to play every single day here and I am not used to that. It’s great practice for me and hopefully later in the season I will play singles and get better.”

Of course Adams has the interesting predicament of coaching his wife, which means balancing the harshness of being a coach without ending up in the doghouse.

“She has a great tennis mind,” he said. “She’s been coach by Jose Luis Clerc and Jay Berger. She is so knowledgeable with tennis that I just try to organize her and try to get her to improve. And I try to work on the same things I did four years ago. I am not trying to reinvent the wheel.”

Harkleroad only played in the women’s doubles portion of the Sportimes 21-20 win over the Washington Kastles last night at on Randall’s Island to open the season. It was a sparse crowd due to the holiday as the 2000 seat Sportime Stadium was probably half full. Yet, that didn’t cut down on the enthusiasm.

Howard Stern’s sidekick Robin Quivers was in attendance as was Wimbledon Mixed Doubles champion Leander Paes, taking the red-eye in to play for the Kastles and as the two and a half week season continues expect John McEnroe and Kim Clijsters to play for New York, with James Blake, Martina Hingis, Andy Roddick, and Serena Williams coming in, playing for various opponents.

“This is a way for Claude(Okin) the owner to promote this club and this tennis facility, especially now that he has the McEnroe Academy here and McEnroe is going to play in four matches for our club,” Adams said.  “It’s a great fit. The new manager for our team John (Dado) is going to arrange some matches in the city so we can draw more than we do on Randall’s Island.  The tennis is pretty high quality. Seventy five percent of the players are pretty recognizable.”

Of course with Clijsters playing for New York on July 19th, Adams has a unique opportunity to make it an all-mothers doubles matchup with the 2009 US Open Champion playing alongside his wife.

“We can have a playpen for the kids along side of the court,” Adams joked. “I would like to Ashley to give it one more shot out there. She’s only 25 and so talented. She can give it another run.”

And the fun is just starting as World Team Tennis goes on throughout the month of July.