the tennis channel unveils signature series: arthur ashe at the us open 2014

Tennis Channel will celebrate the illustrious career of tennis pioneer, devoted activist and Hall of Famer Arthur Ashe in Signature Series: Arthur Ashe during the 2014 US Open. The newest edition to the network’s original Signature Series documentary lineup – Ashe’s first authorized television biography – will debut Sunday, August 31, at 11 p.m. ET at the conclusion of Tennis Channel’s US Open coverage. A complete schedule of episode airdates can be found on the channel’s website at www.tennischannel.com/schedule.

Signature Series: Arthur Ashe delves into the brilliant tennis career, passionate activism and untimely death of one of the most respected athletes of all time. In a pantheon with other 20th Century agents of change like Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens and Muhammed Ali. Ashe is remembered as a man who broke color barriers and affected human rights issues. With perhaps nothing more important to him than education and the opportunities it can afford people, of all walks of life, Ashe took a leading role in advancing this cause of using a locker room as a means of promoting the classroom. The dignity and grace with which he led his life, on and off the tennis court and in the face of his own mortality, remain respected around the world.

“Arthur Ashe’s legacy transcends tennis and even sports, and this is a story that simply had to be told,” said Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, Tennis Channel. “For the first time television audience will experience Arthur in the context of history and learn why he was one of the greatest social leaders our world has seen.”

An eventual World No. 1, Ashe began as an outsider in tennis, an African-American unable to play junior tournaments – or even walk onto the same court with a white opponent – because of racial segregation laws in his home state of Virginia. He went on to lead the University of California Los Angeles’ championship tennis team, and became the first African-American to play for the U.S. Davis Cup team in 1963. This landmart “first” was one of many in a lifetime of firsts for Ashe. He later became the first man to win the US Open in 1968, its inaugural year. In doing so, he also became the first – and to this day only – African-American man to win the singles title at the US Open or the U.S. National Championships, as the tournament was known before the Open Era.

Ashe added to his place in history with championships at the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975, also firsts for an African-American man. Even today his Wimbledon championship upset of Jimmy Connors is considered a match for the ages. Ashe remains the only black man to win singles championships at the US Open, Wimbledon or the Australian Open. He also, with 1983 French Open winner Yannick Noah of France, became one of only two black men to win a major tennis singles title. He finished his career with 33 titles overall.

This documentary, however, charts the story of not only a Grand Slam champion, but also a lifetime leader, humanitarian, philanthropist and human rights activist who worked with three different U.S. presidents. Known for his character, Ashe’s passionate and tireless leadership translated into many causes – both politically and socially. He protested South African apartheid, championing human rights and serving as a beacon of hope to the people suffering under segregation there. Ashe became such a virtuous example to South Africans that they nicknamed him “Sepo” or “Hope.” After decades in prison, future South African president Nelson Mandela immediately sought a meeting with Ashe upon his release. Ashe was also committed to protesting U.S. crackdowns on Haitian refugees. He was arrested twice while demonstrating his beliefs regarding these issues. Above all Ashe was a fierce advocate of educational empowerment, and gave back to his community throughout his life. Paramount among his achievements may be his role as a founding member of National Junior Tennis and Learning, a non-profit dedicated to helping underprivileged youth through tennis.

“We are humbled to be able to honor Arthur Ashe’s memory in this edition of Signature Series,” said Laura Hockridge, vice president, original programming, Tennis Channel. “His actions as a player have helped to mold the sport as we know it today, and his convictions as an activist continue to inspire people and motivate positive change in the world.”

In 1992, Ashe announced that he had contracted AIDS during a blood transfusion years earlier while receiving treatment after heart surgery. In doing so, he became an early and public face for raising awareness about the disease. Ashe, with his wife Jeannne, helped to bring attention to AIDS by founding the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS, which generated funds for study into treating, curing and preventing the disease, with the eventual goal of finding a cure. He continued to bring light to the plight of AIDS victims by speaking before the U.N. General Assembly, inciting a call to action for delegates to increase funding for research and see the virus as a global issue. At a local level, Ashe also founded the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. He designed the institute to address poor health care delivery issues amongst urban minorities. Ashe died in 1993 of AIDS-related pneumonia.

“The greatness of Arthur Ashe was not his tennis. It was the way he carried himself and what he tried to create. He represented so many good ideals and values … and I always believed that America lost a great deal when we lost Arthur Ashe,’ said longtime friend and agent of Arthur Ashe, Donald Dell, in an interview that appears in the documentary.

Spending nine years in the World Top 10, Ashe contributed more to the sport than just great match play and big wins. In response to tennis’ growing popularity and the stalemate of tennis professionals’ earnings, he co-founded the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) with Jack Kramer and others in 1972. The ATP was formed to represent the interests and rights of the men who made their living on the pro tennis circuit. Ashe served as president for two years and went on to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985. Today he is the namesake of the main venue at the US Open, “Arthur Ashe Stadium,” the largest tennis arena in the world. It was Ashe’s dedication to promoting equality and championing human rights – both in his professional and personal life – that keeps him in the hearts and minds of the public.

Ashe’s family, friends and contemporaries have joined together to help Tennis Channel honor the tennis great by speaking about their fondest memories of him on camera. Each was asked to write a personal letter to Ashe from the present, addressing the ways in which his legacy lives and the changes in the world today because of him. Read in “Dear Arthur” segments throughout, the letters form the pillars of the film’s structure. His brother Johnnie Ashe, Ambassador Andrew Young, prize winning sports writer Frank Deford and tennis icon Billie Jean King are among those featured. Other interviewees include contemporaries like all-time great Rod Laver and Cliff Drysdale, and tennis chroniclers Richard Evans and Steve Flink.

Signature Series: Arthur Ashe is a a part of Tennis Channel’s on going Signature Series documentary lineup. Other tennis personalities and subjects have included Rod Laver, Andre Agassi, Vitas Gerulaitis, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Rene Lacoste, Bud Collins and the sport’s centuries-old origins.

tennis legend mats wilander coaches GQ’s rosecrans baldwin for the US Open

GQ’s Rosecrans Baldwin is a tennis fanatic. He didn’t start playing tennis until the age when most pros retire, but he’s pretty decent at it. It was the longest of shots, but that didn’t stop him from gunning for this year’s U.S. Open. He hooked up with a former champ (Mats Wilander!), trained for months, and took his first step toward becoming a Grand Slam winner.

Baldwin on his experience training with Wilander:

“My first time out, a ball from Mats came fast to my backhand. I was caught off guard and returned a weak slice, rather than a more powerful topspin shot. Mats said immediately: ‘Why did you do that? You’ve got a good backhand—why hit a slice?’ Twenty minutes later, there was a drill where Mats fed me overheads so fast I might as well have swung my arm like a propeller to hit them all. Instead, I lost focus and dumped three into the net. Mats was pissed. ‘You should never miss an overhead! It’s the easiest shot in tennis. Federer misses maybe five overheads in a season.’”

Watch Roger Federer’s pre-match routine

“It was a master class. He disassembled everything he’d noticed in my game, down to the tiniest hiccups in my strokes. ‘Against these guys’—meaning the opponents I’d see at the tournament—‘you have nothing. No weapons. Maybe two things: your footwork and your determination. That’s it.’ From there came tips, tactics, solutions. He jumped out of his chair to demonstrate positioning. Compared situations I might face to moments in matches he’d played twenty-five years ago. By the end, my notes ran to seven pages.”

The September issue of GQ is available on newsstands now in New York and LA and nationally August 26.

sony develops smart tennis sensor to improve your game

Tennis Sensor on Racket

The Sony Smart Tennis Sensor is a device that is developed for players who want to optimize their play. With the  Smart Sensor you are able to keep track of various shots such as top spin forehand, slice forehand, topspin backhand and many more.  And even  tracks your attack style. And you can keep track of all aforementioned things using your smartphone and / or tablet.

Sony has partnered with Wilson, Yonex and Prince to realize real-time optimization of play and more to select tennis racket models accross the USA and Canada.

“Wilson is thrilled to be the exclusive distributor and marketing partner with Sony on this important Tennis technology advancement,” said Mike Dowse, President of Wilson Sporting Goods Co. “As a leader in Tennis for more than 100 years, Wilson has always been at the forefront of sport innovation and is dedicated to providing the best technologies to athletes of all levels. In some cases we build that innovation, but we also seek out partners, like Sony, who have developed innovation that we view as best in class.”

With an IP65 waterproof/dustproof rating and officially approved by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for use during competition*, Sony’s Smart Tennis Sensor aligns to play of all levels and intensities.

“As of May, Yonex has had great success in introducing Sony’s Smart Tennis Sensor exclusively within Japan. This product has brought a new enjoyment to the game and has stirred strong praise among many tennis fans in Japan,” said Manji Kanemasu, Assistant General Manager of Global Marketing. “As the Smart Tennis Sensor expands globally, it will surely bring about a fun new experience to tennis fans all over the world.”

The Smart Tennis Sensor will be available at Wilson.com and through select Wilson tennis dealers, by the end of January 2015, at a MSRP of $200. More specifications and a full list of compatible tennis racket models will be available at: http://www.smarttennissensor.sony.net/NA/

serena williams joins Delta Open Mic to warm up for the US Open

Last night, Wednesday, August 20th at Arena in New York City, No. 1 tennis player Serena Williams joined Delta Air Lines for the first ever Delta OPEN Mic to warm up before she steps onto the court for New York’s most celebrated tennis tournament. Serena, along with celebrity friends, Orange Is The New Black’s Uzo Aduba and Laverne Cox, comedian Kathy Griffin, 30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden, Glee’s Darren Criss, celebrity fitness trainer Shaun T and tennis star Jack Sock, sang their favorite tunes to gear up for the tennis tournament kicking off on Monday.

Williams, a karaoke enthusiast, kicked off the night by channeling her inner Marilyn with “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” followed by Laverne Cox’s memorable rendition of “One Moment in Time.” The two were met with a resounding round of applause by fellow karaoke buffs and Delta guests.

And this post really is useless without the photos!

 

 

roger federer sits down with wilson for an interview

Roger Federer sits down with Wilson for an interview and discusses various topics.  Is he mentally and physically ready for the US Open 2014? Especially after the win in Cincinnati. How does a champion like Roger Federer prepare for a match. What is his pre-match routine and much more.

But the best questions were about the Wilson RF Pro Staff and the ALS Ice  Bucket Challenge.

Enjoy the interview because we sure did

roger “the betterer” federer and the wilson racket scientists celebrate the RF97

Since Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and 17-time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer announced the technical specifications of the Wilson Pro Staff line in early July, the tennis community has eagerly awaited the final look of the rackets. This weekend, the stealthy, matte black racket will give way to a new design inspiration for the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph and the line of Pro Staff rackets.

The new family of Pro Staff rackets underwent an aesthetic reinvention worthy of its performance specification evolution. The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph will feature a black throat and red hoop. Red is a color with close ties to both Federer and Wilson and black is a color prevalent in past Pro Staff rackets. Black standardized design elements have been placed at three and nine o’clock on the hoop to ensure Pro Staff rackets are unmistakably Wilson, while infusing a fresh, youthful look.

“This is a great example of the synergy that exists between Wilson and the tennis community,” said Mike Dowse, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. President. “As a brand, we are committed to listening to the needs of our professional and recreational players. With the new Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph racket we have created a stylish design while maintaining the premium performance and feel.”

The story behind the final graphics package for the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph proves their intimate connection with tennis fans. Wilson executives discovered Peter Figasinski, a freelance graphic designer and life-long Wilson racket player, after he posted a design concept on a popular tennis forum. After tracking down Figasinski, Wilson signed him to a one-year contract to do exclusive design work across a variety of products and platforms.

Figasinski set out to share his vision for the new Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph racket as a modern yet youthful tribute to the proud heritage of the storied racket line. The design was submitted to Federer, who took to the graphics instantly.

“When I saw the designs from Wilson, I knew right away that this was the look that I wanted to represent my legacy with the brand,” said Federer. “The design is young and modern, with a classic feel. It is a fitting look for the next generation of the Pro Staff rackets.”

The Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is the first Autograph racket from Wilson in nearly 40 years, the last being the Chris Evert Autograph introduced in 1976. The Jack Kramer Autograph, launched in 1949, is the best-selling racket in tennis history. Autograph rackets are reserved for tennis legends and no one is more deserving than Federer, considered by many as the greatest tennis players of all-time. The RF97 Autograph is the centerpiece for the new and evolved Pro Staff line, with the flagship graphics set to become the design inspiration for the Wilson line for years to come.

The Wilson Pro Staff rackets have delivered uncompromising feel for players of all skill levels and the latest products preserve the consistent feel while introducing a 97-inch head in three of the four models. The re-engineered Pro Staff models feature a 26 percent wider racket beam providing a significant boost in power. Compared to Federer’s previous racket, the Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is seven percent larger, resulting in a 10 percent larger sweet spot. The use of braided graphite and Kevlar® maintain the consistent feel that players have come to know in the Wilson Pro Staff line.

Wilson has produced an episodic series of videos that highlight the unique relationship they share with the tennis legend. The third and final episode is now available for viewing at www.wilson.com/betterer.

The new Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph is projected to be available in stores on October 1, 2014 and a retail price will be announced in the near future.

 

fitz and the tantrums headline the opening night ceremony of the us open 2014

The USTA today announced that energetic and genre-smashing band Fitz and The Tantrums will perform at the Opening Ceremony for the 2014 US Open in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Following the band’s performance 3 Winans Brothers, the Grammy-Award-winning brothers Bebe, Marvin and Carvin, will take to the court to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.” The ceremony will be carried live by ESPN on Monday, August 25 as part of the cable network’s comprehensive coverage of the US Open.Fitz and the Tantrums

Fitz and The Tantrums will perform a three-song set, and will be surrounded by an immersive video and lighting spectacle, with dynamic projections of great US Open moments and tennis graphics on the court of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Other elements of the Opening Night Ceremony will include a special appearance by Tennis Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova, each of whom won a US Open singles title in 1984. They will join USTA Chairman of the Board and President Dave Haggerty on court to welcome fans, and in a US Open first, will remotely trigger the lighting of the Empire State Building. This special moment with one of New York’s most recognized icons will signal the start of Fitz and The Tantrum’s performance, and will be shown on the stadium’s big screens.

The performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” by the 3 Winans Brothers, will be especially poignant as 2014 marks the 200th Anniversary of the composition of our National Anthem. The colors will be presented by members of the NYPD and FDNY ceremonial units.

Fitz and The Tantrums – comprised of Fitz (vocals), Noelle Scaggs (vocals/tambourine), James King (saxophone), Jeremy Ruzumna (keyboards), John Wicks (drums) and Joseph Karnes (bass) – came onto the scene with the self-released EP Songs for a Breakup, Vol. 1 in 2009 and soon were appearing on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” and touring with Maroon 5. Their full-length debut, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, spent 73 weeks on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, peaking at No. 1, and they were named a “You Oughta Know” artist by VH1.

The 2013 release of More Than Just A Dream – produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, M83, Depeche Mode, Phoenix) – ratcheted things up several notches. USA Today noted, “the Los Angeles sextet is more than ready for the big leagues” while Rolling Stone said the group “is all about irrepressible energy: hopped-up rhythms, shout-it-out choruses, hooted background vocals.” Fitz and The Tantrumshave performed on numerous television shows, including “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Late Show with David Letterman,” “Conan,” “Good Morning America,” “TODAY,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Their first and second single (“Out of My League” and “The Walker”) from More Than Just A Dream both have gone # 1 at Modern Rock radio and have been RIAA certified gold.

From a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to 17 Grammys among them, BeBe, Marvin & Carvin Winans (3 Winans Brothers), have always been innovative in their music, their business savvy, their incredible groundbreaking shows, and more. The brothers have come together for the first time to create their supergroup, 3 Winans Brothers, and are ready to unveil their debut album Foreign Land, set for a September 2014 release via Regimen Records/BMG/eOne Music. Blessed with their family’s unerring sixth sense for fusing traditional gospel and urban contemporary music—without compromising the message or the spirit—the 3 Winans Brothers deliver a versatile album that speaks to all ages. Foreign Land, which includes their current hit single, “Move In Me,” brims with a wide range of styles.

IMG signs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

IMG announced  the signing of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France to a worldwide marketing and management representation. Tsonga, currently ranked World No.15 (as of Week of July 28, 2014), has a career high ranking of World No.5, achieved week of February 27, 2012.

The Le Mans native finished 2013 in the Top 10 for the third year in a row. Tsonga has 10 career ATP titles and has been the finalist at the 2008 Australian Open and the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals in London. He has reached the semifinals of the 2013 Roland Garros and the 2011 and 2012 Wimbledon.

‘’We are thrilled that Jo-Wilfried chose IMG to represent him. He is a terrific player and a great person, and we look forward to strengthening and growing his global brand on and off the tennis court,’’ said Fernando Soler, Managing Director of IMG Tennis.

Tsonga will be managed by Carlos Fleming whose athlete management portfolio includes seven-time Grand Slam Champion Venus Williams, NFL stars Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers), Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers) and Victor Cruz (New York Giants), and reigning US Open Women’s Golf Champion, Michelle Wie.

Tsonga joins IMG Tennis’s roster of stars which includes Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Li Na, David Ferrer, Kei Nishikori, and John McEnroe, among many others.

Bryan Bros. foundation raises more than $100,000 for junior tennis in ventura county and santa barbara

Once again, the Bryan Bros. Foundation was the big winner as more than $100,000 was raised at the annual V-Grid Tennis Fest presented by Alexander Cadillac and Esurance and featuring Mike and Bob Bryan.

The all-time winningest doubles team in tennis history was joined by former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and other friends in presenting $16,000 checks to the Ventura County Junior Tennis Association, Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons, Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo and the Oaks Christian High School tennis program. The Foundation will distribute the remaining funds raised to other deserving groups throughout the year.

“We so appreciate all the fans coming out to support our Bryan Bros. Foundation’s big day,” Mike Bryan said. “The funds we raise from the Tennis Fest go right back into the community where we grew up and will benefit the area’s children’s programs.”

Added Bob Bryan: “It was great having Vika come out to help us entertain and play for the fans today. It was fun playing mixed doubles with her again and it was all for a good cause.”

In a very entertaining main exhibition mixed doubles match former French Open champions Bob Bryan and Azarenka beat Mike Bryan and Las Vegas’ Kimberly Yee, 6-2. Other pros playing exhibitions and in the pro-am included Justin Gimelstob, Jeff Tarango and Hank Pfister.

Junior exhibitions included the VCJTA All-Stars against the SBTP All-Stars as well as the Las Vegas Team Bryan juniors vs. the CIF-SS Division III Oaks Christian High team.

The event was attended by more than 800 people with 25 food and wine vendors serving throughout the day. This was the fifth year in a row Tennis Fest has been hosted at the Spanish Hills Country Club and was emceed by the twins’ father, Wayne Bryan. The day concluded with the Bryan Bros. Band entertaining the crowd.

Curtis Wright of Minneapolis, Minn., won the Pro-Am Tournament, while Trevor Short of Atlanta was second and Harold Edwards of Santa Paula, Calif., was third.

“Bob and Mike always make time in their very busy schedule to give back to the children of Ventura County and throughout Southern California,” said event organizer Dave McKinney. “The mixed doubles exhibition was so exciting and fun to watch, the fans wanted to see more. Vika was so good with all the fans and so entertaining and really added to the fun day for all the fans.”

former world no. 1 victoria azarenka to join bryan bros. at popular V-Grid tennis fest this saturday

Two-time Grand Slam singles champion and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka will reunite with winning 2008 French Open mixed doubles partner Bob Bryan this Saturday at the popular V-Grid Tennis Fest presented by Alexander Cadillac and Esurance and featuring Mike and Bob Bryan.Bob Bryan and  Victoria Azarenka
A limited number of tickets are still available for the 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. event being held once again at the picturesque Spanish Hills Country Club in the twins’ hometown of Camarillo. Log onto www.bbtennisfest.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

The all-time winningest doubles team in history and holders of 15 Grand Slam titles, the Bryan twins will once again entertain friends and fans alike in a day of tennis, music, food and wine tasting. Similar to year’s past, there will be a Pro-Am, exhibition matches and the day will culminate with a concert featuring the Bryan Bros. Band.

“Of course we are really happy and thankful that our longtime pal, Vika Azarenka, is coming to help out our Foundation and play the event,” Bob Bryan said. “We had a blast playing mixed together at the French and what a thrill to win that title together.”

The Tennis Fest is headed up once again by Spanish Hills Tennis Director Dave McKinney and will be emceed by the twins’ father, Wayne Bryan. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Bryan Bros. Foundation. Over the past few years, more than $530,000 has been raised to support deserving kids and programs, specifically the Ventura County Junior Tennis Association led by Terry Lynch, and the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons and CathyAnn Simon.

“We so greatly appreciate the support of the Ventura and Santa Barbara tennis communities that all come together to help with this event,” Mike Bryan said. “It is truly a team effort by so many people, including those supportive friends and fans who buy tickets and auction items.”

In the featured match of the day, Bob Bryan and Azarenka will take on Mike Bryan and one of the U.S.’s top juniors, Las Vegas’ Kimberly Yee, who over the weekend received junior tennis’ highest honor by winning the Bill Talbert Sportsmanship award at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Tennis stars that will be playing in the Pro-Am, besides the Bryan Brothers include Hall of Famer and former world No. 1 Tracy Austin; two-time winner of the French Open Doubles, Hank Pfister; four-time Grand Slam winner, Olympic gold medalist and No. 1 doubles player in the world, Ken Flach; former Roland Garros doubles finalist, Jeff Tarango; and former UCLA All American and NCAA singles finalist, Tony Graham.

“A very special thanks to V-Grid and Mike Cheiky for their wonderful support once again,” Mike Bryan said. “And we all appreciate the kind help of our wonderful sponsors Alexander Cadillac and Esurance.”

Added Mike: “Our young juniors girls will love being able to see Vika play up close. It will be a great inspiration to them. Vika is such a wonderful role model for up and coming juniors. She is really nice and has a sense of fun. Like, Bob, I am so glad she will be playing and adding so much to the event.”

The day after the TennisFest, the Bryans will play three home matches of Mylan World Team Tennis action for their new team, the San Diego Aviators, July 20th, 22nd and 23rd at the Valley View Casino Center (formerly the San Diego Sports Arena).