serena williams, sloane stephens and more to headline inaugral taste of tennis in new york city

AYS, the creators and producers of the Taste of Tennis, New York’s premier pre-US Open experience, announced today the first-ever Taste of Tennis Week will take place from August 20th – August 23th, 2014 in New York City. In addition to the renowned Taste of Tennis Gala, Taste of Tennis Week will feature even more tennis-meets-food events, including the Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge on August 20th, Citi Dining Series on August 21st and Party with The Pros on August 23rd.Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens

The 15th Annual Taste of Tennis Gala offers guests the opportunity to sample sensational cuisine prepared by the most prestigious chefs in the world, sip on handcrafted cocktails all while rubbing elbows with professional tennis players. World #1 Serena Williams, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Host of Today Show and MSNBC’s NewsNation, Tamron Hall, will be joined by top tennis players, celebrities and a number of New York’s finest chefs and culinary personalities.

“The Taste of Tennis concept has proven to be so popular, and we are pleased to offer these exciting new events that provide foodies and tennis fans with unprecedented access to their favorite chefs and pro tennis personalities,” explains Penny Lerner, CEO of AYS.

Tickets for the Taste of Tennis Week are currently on sale and can be purchased online via the links below. The complete Taste of Tennis Week schedule of events includes:

Wednesday, August 20th – Celebrity Chef Tennis Challenge, 9AM-12PM (Midtown Tennis Club – 341 8th Avenue): Hosted by Top Chef Masters Finalist Kerry Heffernan. At this exciting event, professional chefs will serve up something a little out the ordinary as they compete in a round-robin style doubles tournament to determine who is the King (or Queen) of the court!

  • Participating chefs include: Marc Murphy (Landmarc), Kerry Heffernan (Top Chef Masters Finalist), Daniel Holzman (The Meatball Shop), Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop), David Seigal (Cull & Pistol), Francois Payard (FPB, FP Patisserie), Zac Young (David Burke Group), Chad Brown (Davio’s), Eric Gabrynowicz (Restaurant North), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto), Phil Conlon (Corkbuzz Wine Studio), Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar and Grill), Philippe LaJaunie (Les Halles), Carmen Quagliata (Union Square Café), Floyd Cardoz (Celebrated Indian American Chef) and Andrew Friedman (Cookbook Author)
  • $150 to Participate in the Challenge: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/celebrity-chef-tennis-challenge-tickets-12319053621

Thursday, August 21st – Taste of Tennis Gala, 7PM-10PM (W New York- 541 Lexington Ave.): The party that started it all! To celebrate the US Open, AYS created the Taste of Tennis, a one of a kind event featuring fine food prepared by 25 of NYC’s top culinary minds, signature cocktails, interactive sponsor experiences, live music and appearances by the world’s greatest tennis players. Hosting this year’s gala will be Today Show’s Tamron Hall, headlining Chef Masaharu Morimoto and professional tennis star Serena Williams. The evening will be a curated culinary evening with US Open stars, the brightest chefs in New York and celebrities who will be on hand to enjoy the slew of offerings with proceeds benefiting City Harvest.

  • Participating chefs include: Headlining chef, Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto), John Mooney (Bell, Book, & Candle), Marc Murphy (Landmarc), Peter Andino (Heartbeat), Daniel Holzman & Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop), Eric Gabrynowicz (Restaurant North), Kerry Heffernan (Top Chef Masters Finalist), Bill Telepan (Joel Javier/Larissa Raphael) (Telepan Local), David Seigal (Cull & Pistol), Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga and The Fat Ham), Jimmy Bradley (The Red Cat), Phil Conlon (Corkbuzz Wine Studio), Chad Brown (Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse), Carlos Llaguno (Les Halles), Harold Moore (Commerce Restaurant), Ben Pollinger (Oceana), Zac Young (David Burke Group), Georgeann Leaming (Suppa), Admir Alibasic (Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse), Sebastien Chamaret (Bagatelle), Paul Evans (Secrets St. James, JTB) among others.
  • Participating athletes include: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Bryan Brothers, Sloane Stephens, Gael Monfils, Aga Radwanska, Dustin Brown and more to be announced.
  • Major sponsors for the 15th Taste of Tennis include Citi, Rado, Guadalupe Islands Tourist Board, The Cheesecake Factory, Jamaica Tourist Board, W New York, UnBurn, Mouton Cadet and Franciscan Estate Napa Valley, among others.
  • Ticket Information: Individual tickets for the event are available for $275/per person; http://tasteoftennisnyc.eventbrite.com/?aff=PressRelease

Saturday, August 23rd Party with The Pros, 6PM-9PM (Measure Lounge at Langham Place Fifth Ave.): Guests at the Party with the Pros will enjoy an evening of great food, handcrafted signature cocktails and live music, with some of the top names in professional tennis. This exclusive event takes place a Measure Lounge at the luxurious Langham Place Fifth Avenue hotel. Attendance is limited to 150 guests so get your tickets now!

Chia Co official sponsor of the US Open 2014

The USTA announced today that The Chia Co, world innovators in health food, will be an official sponsor of the US Open in a three-year deal spanning 2014 to 2016.

As a Health Food sponsor, The Chia Co will offer Chia Pods, a ready to eat product combining the nutrition of chia seeds with coconut milk and fruit, from a branded promotional space at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Chia Pods will be available in both player and media dining areas. In addition The Chia Co will receive on-court exposure through a branded cooler in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium and the Grandstand.

“The USTA proudly promotes healthy choices and an active lifestyle” said Lew Sherr, USTA Chief Revenue Officer. “Teaming with The Chia Co is a great fit for the US Open. We are excited that our event can provide a global showcase for their new innovative product and their brand.”

This sponsorship marks The Chia Co’s first entry into tennis and expands their existing sports sponsorships, which includes a partnership with 11-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater.

According to John Foss, founder and CEO of The Chia Co, “We’re thrilled to be joining the ranks of established partners to one of the world’s most highly respected sporting events. The USTA is highly selective in which brands they align with, and we know our brand and products are a natural fit for the US Open. Our Chia Pods offer vital nutritional fuel for all levels of athletes.”

To support their involvement with this event, The Chia Co will be running a retail promotion in the lead up to The US Open. One lucky winner will enjoy a trip for two to New York and courtside seats to the 2014 US Open Men’s Semifinals.

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)

spotted in the city: prince sets up shop at 47th/lex

Prince Tennis opens a storefront in NYC

 

Prince has set up a pop-up store (“brand experience”) in New York City timed with the 2013 U.S. Open. The space, which opens on August 23, will host appearance by sponsored athletes, viewing parties, and a space selling limited-edition merchandise. There will also be an opportunity to preview the Fall 2013 product collection before they hit the stores in October.

 

(photo by @npmikolich)

sharapova withdraws from the 2013 u.s. open with shoulder injury

Maria Sharapova - Nike - 2013 Australian Open

 

Blowing us a red-lipped kiss goodbye: 2006 U.S. Open Champion Maria Sharapova withdrew from this year’s Championship because of bursitis in her right shoulder. “Maria has informed us that she will be unable to compete at the U.S. Open this year due to a right shoulder bursitis and has withdrawn from the tournament,” U.S. Open tournament director David Brewer said in a statement. “We wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to her return to New York next year.”

Sharapova also released a statement through her own website, saying “”I just wanted to let you know that withdrawing from the US Open has been a really tough decision to make. I have done everything I could since Wimbledon to get myself ready, but it just wasn’t enough time. I have done many tests, received several opinions and it all comes down to taking the proper amount of time to heal my shoulder injury properly. It’s certainly not an easy decision to make ahead of one of my favorite tournaments, but I know it’s the right one that will get me back on the courts soon. I plan on taking the next few weeks off, receiving proper treatment and rehabilitation. I will miss being part of the US Open, but can’t wait for next year!”

Moving on up: Because of this withdrawal, Agnieszka Radwanska moves up to the No. 3 spot in the seedings previously held by Sharapova. All the other seeds move up, with Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova moving up to the take the No. 32 seeding. (See: 2013 U.S. Open Women’s Singles Seeds | Men’s Seeds)

(via USATpicture of Maria Sharapova from the 2013 Australian Open via Getty Images)

american express at the 2013 u.s. open

The American Express Experience at the 2013 U.S. Open

U.S. Open sponsor American Express is behind many of the initiatives that enhance the fan experience at the USTABJKNTC during the two weeks it plays host for the last major of the year. They’ve taken over a section of the Indoor tennis center, providing swing analysis, virtual tennis, an exhibit by the Hall of Fame on “Battle of the Sexes,” an IBM Data Wall, and other great ways to cool down and pass the time while at the Open. Outside of the hospitality area, Amex also offers their radio commentary (Radio Live) and TrendCast, a feature within the U.S. Open app that tracks trending topics in social media.

Read on: The full release is below the gallery (and the cut).

(renderings courtesy of American Express) [Read more...]

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)

ralph lauren outfits on-court officials at the 2013 u.s. open

Ralph Lauren clothes for the 2013 U.S. Open

Ralph Lauren‘s big pony has returned to the U.S. Open for yet another year. The American outfitter will dress all on-court officials — chair umps, line judges and ball persons — and all their looks will be made available to the public. The collection features the uniforms as well as tennis dresses, skirts, shorts, polo shirts, sweaters, and commemorative caps.

The pieces will be available onsite at the US Open Ralph Lauren Shop for the duration of the tournament and also available at select Ralph Lauren stores, department stores, and online at www.ralphlauren.com.

australian gothic: wilson fetes vika azarenka’s australian open win

Victoria Azarenka wins the 2013 Australian Open using a Wilson Juice tennis racquet

Fight to the Finish: The road to the second consecutive Australian Open title for World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka was long and hard. Not only was everyone trying to topple her, they came close to doing so: Jamie Hampton pushed Vika to three sets in third round but eventually lost because of a back injurySloane Stephens couldn’t continue her momentum after Azarenka’s 10-minute medical timeout in the semis; and Li Na rolled both ankles and hit her head — enough for the 2011 finalist to lose any edge she might have had over Vika in the final. And add to that the already anti-Vika crowd who became rabid after that questionable timeout and was out for Schadenfreude and blood.

But these were all mere distractions which Azarenka’s “fighter” mentality swatted away. She ground out a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Li in Saturday’s final.

FYI, Azarenka’s playing a Juice racquet from sponsor Wilson. (Review: Tennis Now’s Robert Martin on the Juice 100 BLX.)

Australian Gothic: Meanwhile, this ad sent out by the Wilson folks after Vika’s win is creeping us out. What happened to her eyes? Full version of the tribute after the cut…