wta 40 love: martina passes $1 million in season prize money



The WTA has released the third episode in their series WTA 40 LOVE Story presented by Xerox, a 10-part video series showcasing the history and growth of the women’s tennis tour. Entitled “1982: Navratilova Passes $1 Million in Season Prize Money,” the third episode highlights Martina Navratilova‘s 1982 season when she became the first woman in tennis history to surpass the $1 million dollar prize money mark in a season.

Watch: “1982: Navratilova Passes $1 Million in Season Prize Money”, WTA 40 Love Story presented by Xerox.

madison keys: moving better, knowing what she wants, giving back



The US Open American Express Fan Experience 2013 A decal of Madison Keys appears inside the American Express Fan Experience, a hospitality suite installed on the grounds of the 2013 US Open.

Madison Keys has better knowledge of her game. The fifth-best American on the WTA Tour has had a solid year, reaching the quarterfinals at events in Birmingham and Charleston, and making her way through qualifying before falling in the second round of the main draw in Madrid.

Keys was scheduled to face seed Jelena Jankovic in her opening match at the 2013 US Open. “I was telling people that I felt like I was going to have a seed in the first round,” said Keys by phone from her hotel in New York City. Thus, a match-up against a former World No. 1 was not a surprise. The Serbian Jankovic, who has had a resurgence in her own game after a mental refocus that started early this year, defeated Keys in straight sets.

This loss is only a slight setback to what has been a successful year for Keys, who is now ranked 39th. “Pieces of my game have come together a little better,” shared Keys. “I have a better idea of how I want to play and when I’m going to do certain things [on the court].” Keys also credits better movement on the court for her rise in the rankings.

The US Open American Express Fan Experience 2013
A fan at the US Open American Express Fan Experience watches as his tennis strokes are translated into visual art and sound.

The 18-year-old was also one of three American tennis players – Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock are the two others — showcased in the American Express Fan Experience, set up on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the 2013 U.S. Open. Of the many interactive exhibits, Keys showed interest in the display that turns groundstroke swings into music and art. We asked her what genre of music would best describe her tennis style; she said it would be “smooth” with a little crazy.

Keys was also instrumental in the erection of three new tennis courts at the Hodge Park Community Tennis CEnter in Rock Island, Ill., where Keys is from.

“I am really proud to be here today to help support this Fresh Courts program created by USTA and American Express, and to help support tennis communities like this, especially the one here in Rock Island where I grew up,” said Madison Keys to the Rock Island, IL community during the ceremony.

(Getty Images courtesy of American Express)

nike+ fuelband campaign highlights ping pong in #makeitcount campaign



NYC - Nike - #MakeItCount - PingPong - Table Tennis

 

Nike NYC folds in some table tennis into its campaign to get folks in New York to raise their heart rates. The latest event organized by Nike NYC Serving It Up: Tournament of Champions is a ping pong happening this Friday, August 23 at Moynihan Station (401 7th Ave. @ W. 33rd St.). Reserve your spot by tweeting a pic of your Nike+ Fuelband to @nikenyc on Twitter.  Winners could bag stylish gear like workoutwear, sweatbands, and shoes.

More: Check @nikenyc for more details.

uniqlo releases novak djokovic’s 2013 u.s. open kit



Uniqlo releases Novak Djokovic 2013 U.S. Open kit

UNIQLO previewed the 2013 U.S. Open kits to be worn by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and at the same time announced that it would sell a collection based on these styles, available to the public.

The designs keep simple, as has been the case for Djokovic’s UNIQLO uniforms thus far, and the Japanese outfitter’s design director, Naoki Takizawa, explained their concept behind the pieces. “The collection captures [Novak's] calm demeanor as well as his strong energy on the court in a striking yet unconventional black scheme and includes a mint green color that was chosen by Novak. The red version of his performance wear portrays a sense of passion while incorporating the UNIQLO official company colors of red and white. Once again the lines are an important design element aimed to help visualize his physical strength and speed on the court.”

Uniqlo releases Novak Djokovic 2013 U.S. Open kit

The company also offered another description for the collection on their website: “While unusual in the tennis world, we chose black as a key color in this year’s U.S. Open Collection.” JFTR, it’s really not that unusual, at least not for the U.S. Open (See: Roger and Serena wear black in NYC.)

“To us,” UNIQLO continues, “the color represents the strength and elegance of Novak Djokovic’s playing style. The mint blue detailing matches the tournament’s official color and symbolizes the cool agility of Novak’s movements on the court.”

Buy: Novak Djokovic Performance Wear; polo, shorts, track jacket, track pants priced at $49.90; socks, $9.90; uniqlo.com

Looking forward: Djokovic heads into the final Slam of the year with a 5-2 record for the summer hard court season; he lost in the semis of Montreal to Rafael Nadal and the quarters of the Western & Southern Open to John Isner.

Novak Djokovic - #meetnovak - Uniqlo - U.S. Open 2013

#meetnovak: Uniqlo arranged a meeting between Novak and fans at their Fifth Avenue flagship on Monday night.

(product images courtesy of UNIQLO; #meetnovak photo via @TheSliceTweets)

going green: venus williams (‘s diet)



By Benjamin Snyder

Venus Williams has had to change her diet since being diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome

No more Oreos or Jamba Juice? Venus is aspiring to have a better diet in 2012. (AFP/Getty)

A tall order for the taller sister. Can the meat-and-potatoes Wimbledon-queen summon her past success as a leaner and greener player?

Older sister Venus, who’s claimed five titles at the All England Club, is having a health scare of her own after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease, which can lead to damage of the body’s vital organs. The illness forced her drop out of the US Open this year and has pushed meat out of her diet.

Despite the seriousness of the condition, Venus has been sporting a positive attitude and even healthier eating habits. She told reporters, “I changed my diet completely, so lots of vegetables. I [altered] my mind frame completely because I was the person who always ate their steak first and their salad second.”

Times are changing for the superstar, who said last year that she “eats to live and not lives to eat.” She continued talking foodie favorites, saying that she considered “beans and rice and blackened chicken” a top meal choice.

Venus discussed her new diet’s impact on the future. “My goal next year is to play a full schedule. It will take some work to get there, but I’m no stranger to hard work.”

TSF Vault: Venus Williams

This recalls the gourmet changes for 2011 ATP success stories Novak Djokovic, who’s claimed three major titles this year, and Andy Murray, who went on a 17-match winning spree after the US Open.

Djokovic’s decision to cut the carbohydrates to curb his Ciliac disease helped him achieve his best season ever, including the No. 1 ranking. Meanwhile, Murray discussed his own gourmet foray into becoming more fit. Before losing to Tomas Berdych in the Paris Masters, he said, “I think there’s a bit of difference in my approach to training and the diet; I feel pretty fresh.”

Not all’s well for the scrawny-looking Scot, who misses being able to pick up a menu and order what he wants. You can almost imagine his mouth watering when he said: “It can be quite frustrating when everyone else is dunking their bread in olive oil or smearing it in butter.”

Murray aside, Venus’ newfound form and fitness will no doubt have fans worldwide salivating for a dominating force in an otherwise floundering WTA. Petra Kvitova, 21, the current world No. 2 and winner of Wimbledon and the Season Ending Championships, might be the answer. She’s still, however, young and half-baked in terms of talent and poise.

It’s time for Venus to turn up the burners and bring back the motivation for which she’s known. Currently ranked No. 103, having only played a handful of tournaments this year, Venus quickly doused rumors of retirement.

“I love the game. The racket feels right in my hand and I’m planning on going right back to where I was at the top of the rankings in the singles and doubles.”

With Venus back in-shape and on form, the alarm bells should be sounding for the rest of the women’s tour. It’ll be tough to get out of the fire and back into the figurative frying pan that is professional tennis at her ripe age of 31. But if anyone can come back from adversity and succeed, it’s a Williams.

High stakes (steaks?), indeed.