book excerpt: Slammin’ by Marcus Paul Cootsona

Every and now and then a good sports book drops on your desk and it is one of those that you just can’t put down. Slammin’ is one of those. When we were contacted to see if we by any chance would want to feature this story on TSF we didn’t expect this book to be so much fun.  Enjoy the long excerpt and if you want to buy the book then you can buy it on Amazon (Kindle version also available)

About the author

Marcus Paul Cootsona is a tennis professional, lapsed playwright and the author of Occam’s Racquet – 12 Simple Steps to Smarter Tennis. Three times ‘Tennis Specialty Retailer of the Year’, a member of the Wilson Advisory Staff, and a contributor to Inside Tennis magazine, tennis is his life. He lives in Northern California with his wife and two sublime, ridiculous dogs. He is not a former Navy SEAL.Slammin' book cover

Synopsis

Fifty-three year-old tennis pro and family man, Wally Wilson is happily teaching Silicon Valley’s millionaires and billionaires at the double-wide estate of his temptress and benefactor, 17 year-old Ashley Margincall.

But when Wally’s serve speed spikes and unidentified government agents appear, he begins a pro tennis odyssey that might lead him to the U.S. Open or the twisted nexus of a Grand Slam conspiracy. Strangely blessed, but always behind the power curve, Wally realizes he’s been given all the power, but none of the control.

Editorial Reviews

“Marcus hits a clean winner with Slammin’
Jon Wertheim, Executive Editor, Sports Illustrated

“Slammin’ has the sort of wacky charm that keeps a reader following Wally’s excellent adventure as the plot, like the pro circuit, curves around like a snake eating its own tail.”
Michael Mewshaw, Inside Tennis

The Excerpt

National security beckoning, the Suburbans took the seven blocks from the Yacht Club to Wally’s Cloud Avenue house like the Stig. But despite their pace, they finished second. When they arrived, Wally’s GT 500 was already there and parked. And the neighbors, who would all be by with questions later, were taking pictures and texting Channel 7.

Four agents in suits had commandeered the four corners of Wally’s five thousand square-foot lot. Two more identical agents stood guard at the front door.

And the racquet was still in Wally’s hand.

Deuce took the news about his mom stoically, helped his dad free the racquet, then brought all the agents what he would like to drink – Red Bulls, Rockstars and Monsters. He and Wally now stood in the living room with Flint and Steel, watching a kidnapper productions DVD on their 52-inch TV. Deuce thought this was the most interesting thing that had ever happened in Menlo Park and was proud that his family had a TV worthy of federal agents and their badass attention. And happy that they liked the drinks. Wally, on the other hand, was struggling to make sense of everything that was happening and Addie wouldn’t come out of her room. Two identical agents stood vigilantly in the entry, sipping the cold beverages, admiring Wally’s handmade furniture and the various family photographs of Danielle, especially the ones of her in a swimsuit or running shorts.

On the TV, a friendly, educated German-accented voice started in over a wide shot of the wind-furled Swiss flag.

“We can no longer be neutral,” it said.

Suddenly, the screen image flag burst into flames, smoldered menacingly and faded incongruously into footage of Danielle, Donald and the bankers toasting each other with champagne flutes on a yacht in Lake Geneva. While Danielle talked business with the Swiss, her boss stared at her, tongue protruding.

“We have taken the American couple, Danielle Wilson and Donald Grosser.”

“American couple?” thought Wally.

“Who’s Donald Grosser?” asked Deuce.

“Mom’s boss,” said Wally.

“That guy with the tongue?” shuddered Deuce.

Wally nodded.

The Swiss voice went on, “We have also detained some of our countrymen so that we may now set in motion an overdue chain of necessary events.”

The dinner cruise image dissolved to a slick, promotional video of a luxurious estate in a Swiss forest, showing tennis courts, stables, a pool, a nine-hole golf course and a formal dining room with Swiss dinner delicacies and some perky, blond models.

The voice continued, “They will remain our guests, free to use all the amenities of this world-class destination and receive expert instruction in sports, cooking and language classes until our demands are met. You see, we are angry but we are not uncivilized.”

Inexplicably, Wally suspected that Donald had something to do with the reason they were snatched, but he could not quite work it out. Yet. He wanted to be Liam Neeson in Taken, but at the moment he felt like Harrison Ford in Frantic. And behind the self-restraint, he knew his son was rattled.

What could he do? Didn’t he have some hidden abilities that could be tapped for a daring, nighttime rescue? He had well-polished interpersonal skills, for instance. Couldn’t they help?
His rambling focus returned to the big screen TV.

Over a shot of downtown Zurich’s banking district, the precise voice was winding up.

“We want two things. One, for the Swiss government to lower the cost of living for average Swiss citizens who have been priced out of their own country. And two, for confirmation of this action to be delivered to us personally by the greatest tennis player of the Open Era, the Swiss maestro and Lindt spokesman, Roger Federer. That’s it. We will be in touch again after his first match on Monday.”
The DVD closed with a short highlight reel of Federer’s victory at the 2009 French Open over Robin Soderling.

“He really played well that year,” said Flint popping the DVD out of the Blu-ray player,

Wally asked, “Swiss pirates?”

“A lot of folks with an agenda these days,” said Flint.

“But Danielle just called me this morning. What happened?”

“As far as we know right now, heavily-armed men boarded the cruise boat and took them. They were well-funded, well-organized but unaffiliated as far as we can tell. The boat was found abandoned this morning. The dinner was uneaten, but quite lavish.”

“Who shot the video?” said Deuce.

“That’s a good question,” said Flint, taking a sip of Monster.

“Thank you,” said Deuce, delighted. “By the way, I thought you guys carried Glocks.”

Flint patted his service weapon. “We’re not FBI.”

“Okay. Then, CIA? NSA?” said Deuce.

“CGA,” said Flint. Off Deuce’s puzzled look, “Classified Government Acronym.”

“OIC,” said Deuce.

“So what can I do?” said Wally.

“Remain calm. Go about your normal life. Answer the phone when they call.”

“That’s it?”

“Aren’t you guys going to look for her?” said Deuce.

“We are following every available lead. We’ll do everything we can to get her back.”

“Awesome,” said Deuce.

“But please understand, it’s very delicate. We can’t just invade an ally.”

“So not everything, everything,” said Deuce.

Flint and his men assembled to leave. “We’re going to leave you now.”

“Great,” said Deuce, deflated.

Wally was worried. “But this is a kidnapping, don’t you need–”

“An elaborate phone set up with agents at your house?’ asked Flint.

“Yeah. Don’t you?” said Wally.

“We’ve already cloned your cell phone. We’ll know when they call.”

“Can you clone my sister’s too?” said Deuce.

Wally glared at him.

“I thought you’d want that,” said Deuce, honestly.

Then, Wally asked Flint, “And in the meantime?”

“To be honest,” said Flint, “Not much. Really, one of two things needs to happen. The kidnappers either decide it isn’t worth the trouble any more or the Swiss government does an unprecedented U-turn and devalues their currency to lower prices.”

“Those are the choices?” said Wally.

“The good ones,” said Flint.

“Can’t I do something?” repeated Wally.

Addie had just emerged from her room. “Dad?”

“Yes, Sweetie?”

“Can I go on a date tonight with the hottest guy in school? He just messaged me and asked me out.”

“Addie, now? Your mom’s been kidnapped.”

atp tour and lacoste extend partnership through 2015

The ATP has announced a two-year renewal of its partnership with Lacoste, the renowned lifestyle fashion brand. The “crocodile” will continue to dress the line judges at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London until 2015. Lacoste has been a loyal partner of the world’s biggest indoor tennis tournament since 2002.

“As a partner for the past 12 years, from Shanghai to Houston and now in London, Lacoste has always been in line with what the event stands for: a mix of tradition and innovation,” said Laurent Delanney, ATP Commercial Director. “The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is broadcast in 193 territories and Lacoste is present in 114 countries. Wherever it takes place, the extensive global coverage of the tournament is the foundation of our successful partnership.”

Beyond the on court brand exposure, Lacoste’s benefits include a private hospitality suite in the Sponsor Village facing one of the practice courts and a promotional booth in the popular Fan Zone, which welcomed over 300,000 people in 2013.

“With our support to several players and several tournaments throughout the year, it is natural for us to partner with the culmination of the ATP World Tour season.” said Berta de Pablos-Barbier, Group Marketing & Branding EVP. “We will keep a close look at the Race to London to see if some of our ambassadors qualify for the tournament in the singles or doubles draw.”

An extended collaboration

Both parties also took the opportunity to extend the collaboration, which will see the ATP staff wearing Lacoste at all ATP events and Lacoste receiving advertising space on ATPWorldTour.com, which recorded 550 million page views in 2013.

“Our teams are very proud to wear Lacoste clothes, which combine elegance and comfort,” said Laurent Delanney, ATP Commercial Director. “The quality and consistency of the clothing reflects the level of professionalism we want to achieve in all areas of our organisation.”

“ATPWorldTour.com is a very good platform to keep expanding our new campaign ‘Life is a beautiful sport’ as an established member of the big tennis family.” said Berta de Pablos-Barbier, Group Marketing & Branding EVP.

 

 

petra kvitova wins 2nd wimbledon singles title; federer is wimbledon runner-up and breaks more records

Petra Kvitova joined the Multiple Grand Slam Singles Title Club and the Multiple Wimbledon Singles Title Club by winning the 2014 Wimbledon Singles Title. She won the Title at the All England Club in 2011 as well. Her 12th WTA Singles Title was one of the most dominant in the history of the tournament. Although she was two points from losing in the 3rd round to Venus Williams, Petra did not lose any other sets and held three of her opponents to three games or less in a match. She also had three sets where she didn’t lose a game, including in the final. She will move into the top five on the WTA tour rankings when they are published on Monday.

“Petra’s extended family at Wilson congratulates her on an exemplary performance and a stunning two weeks at Wimbledon,” said Mike Dowse, President of Wilson Sporting Goods Co. “To hold an opponent to just three games in the final of a Grand Slam is testament to what an incredible talent this woman has become. We at Wilson are proud to be there for her from an equipment perspective to help her achieve these types of milestones.”

Roger Federer’s performance was equally impressive as he was 18 and 1 in sets en route to the final. The final match was of epic proportions, with momentum shifts and intense back-and-forth play throughout the five-set match before Federer was finally defeated, 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 6-7 (7-4), 7-5, 4-6. This marked his 25th Grand Slam Final, which is a record. He also set records for semi-finals, quarter-finals and numerous others. Roger was using the new Pro Staff RF97 Autograph, which he helped design with Wilson over the last year and that will be available to consumers in October.

Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, Simona Halep and Lucie Safarova had incredible runs at Wimbledon as well, by all reaching the semi-finals. This means that three of the four players on both the men and women’s draw were using Wilson rackets. Of note, since switching to his Spin Effect Pro Staff at the beginning of the year, Grigor Dimitrov has won three ATP Singles Titles on three different surfaces and has now gotten to the quarters and semi-finals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon respectively. While pro tennis players are notorious about never changing their rackets, Grigor Dimitrov and Roger Federer are proving with wins…that technology matters!

Wilson dominated the two-week tournament registering 45 match wins in the gentlemen’s draw and 45 match wins as well in the ladies’ draw, more than any other manufacturer on both men’s and women’s draws. A quick look at the numbers reveals that Wilson had more main draw players in both the gentlemen’s singles main draw and the ladies’ singles main draw. The Wilson players were the most numerous to reach the round of 16s in both the gentlemen’s and ladies’ draws. Wilson, More Win.

Earlier in the tournament, and after three years of development and dozens of prototypes, Roger Federer and Wilson officially announced the new Wilson Pro Staff line of rackets, which they collaborated in developing. The Wilson Pro Staff line will feature rackets suited for a variety of attack-style players: from avid players to youth striving to improve their game. The Wilson Pro Staff rackets provide more power without compromising the classic feel long associated with the Pro Staff line.

Wimbledon_Win_Poster_Kvitova

roger “the betterer” federer shows his new wilson pro staff racket

For months Roger Federer’s stealthy, matte black racket has been the source of conjecture and debate amongst tennis fans. Wins in Dubai and Halle, along with several finals appearances amplified the buzz surrounding his new secret weapon. After three years of development and dozens of prototypes, Roger Federer and Wilson officially announced the new Wilson Pro Staff line of rackets, which they collaborated in developing.

The new Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph* delivers the precise feel Federer demands with a larger sweet spot and more power in comparison to the Wilson rackets he has used throughout his storied career. The Wilson Pro Staff line will feature rackets suited for a variety of attack-style players: from avid players to youth striving to improve their game. The Wilson Pro Staff rackets provide more power without compromising the classic feel long associated with the Pro Staff line. The final graphics package will be unveiled closer to the projected October 1, 2014 in-store date.

“I grew up idolizing the legends of the game, so it was natural for me to play with Wilson Pro Staff 85-inch rackets,” said Federer. “I love the feel a smaller head provides, and larger rackets couldn’t deliver the feedback I needed to be successful. This new Wilson Pro Staff racket has been a long time coming, but I finally have the feel I need in a 97-inch head.”

The iconic Pro Staff line has spanned 31 years and is steeped in history, tradition, and Grand Slam victories. The Wilson Pro Staff line has 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 for a significant boost in power. Compared to Federer’s previous racket, the Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Autograph is seven percent larger, resulting in a 10 percent larger sweet spot that consistently produces more power for Federer and for tennis enthusiasts. Wilson’s use of braided graphite and Kevlar maintain the consistent feel that players have come to know in the Pro Staff line.

“When it comes to his tennis career, Roger is a chess master, always thinking several moves ahead,” said Mike Dowse, Wilson Sporting Goods Co. President. “So when we broached the subject of developing a more powerful racket that would still fit his needs for responsive ‘feel’ and attacking style, we jumped at the chance to collaborate with him. This racket represents the most extensive collaboration between an elite player of Roger’s caliber and Wilson. The result is a groundbreaking racket that will benefit tennis players worldwide.”

Wilson has produced an episodic series of videos that highlight the unique relationship they share with the tennis legend. They can be viewed along with additional information on the racket at www.wilson.com/betterer.

Federer’s collaboration with Wilson actually goes back decades. He won the Wimbledon Juniors crown in 1998 playing with a Wilson Pro Staff 85 racket. He turned pro shortly after that victory and began working with Wilson to find the 90-inch racket that, with updates, has been his weapon of choice throughout his incredible career.

The new Pro Staff line includes four models to address different kinds of players:

Wilson Pro Staff

put a new spin to your game with the HEAD Graphene Extreme

Head  Extreme MP 0206

HEAD announced today the launch of the next installment in the Extreme racket series, now infused with Graphene technology: the HEAD Graphene Extreme.

The new generation of the Extreme racquet series now combines the best features of the Extreme series with Graphene, the world’s strongest and lightest material, making this the final HEAD racquet series to feature the Graphene technology. The special construction of the racquet spreads the weight evenly from grip to tip, allowing for greater playability and lethal levels of spin. The Graphene Extreme racquet series is designed for the aggression of the modern game, allowing players to generate massive amounts of power without sacrificing spin or superior handling. With the new Head Graphene Extreme, giving your opponents a hard time has never been easier!

The design of the next generation of this celebrated racquet family embodies the aggressive nature of the product. The contrast between the vibrant hues of neon green and robust sections of black is representative of the dynamism and versatility of the Graphene Extreme racquet series. This high performance racquet isn’t only for HEAD’s top professional players, but for all players who value the ideal combination of power, spin and elite maneuverability. While the Graphene Extreme Pro is the top model and most powerful, the Extreme series also includes the Extreme MP and the Extreme Lite. All Graphene Extreme racquet models will retail for $190.

If you want to know more, please go to  Facebook.com/headtennis or follow @Head_Tennis on Twitter.

 

iberostar renews partnership with toni nadal

Iberostar
IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts and Toni Nadal recently renewed their partnership agreement, which originated in 2009, further reinforcing their link within the world of sports.

Toni Nadal, who is also the coach and uncle of tennis star, Rafa Nadal, will continue to be the company’s ambassador on all of the world’s tennis courts for three more seasons. His support and commitment to the brand is displayed at every tennis match with Tony sporting his favorite IBEROSTAR hat.

“At IBEROSTAR, we want to reaffirm our passion for sports,” said Luis Hérault, Chief Marketing Officer of GRUPO IBEROSTAR. “This agreement is further evidence of our commitment to one of the values, which we assume as our own. We are delighted that Toni Nadal will continue to be an ambassador for our brand.”

“We have been working together for many years and I hope to continue for many more,” remarked Toni Nadal. “IBEROSTAR is a company which has always shown its support for sports and particularly for tennis.”

IBEROSTAR furthers this growth by promoting and encouraging sporting activities as it is considered a fundamental pillar of the brand. Most recently, IBEROSTAR announced the sponsorship of the 2014 Majorca Padel Tennis World Championship, where the winner will receive the IBEROSTAR Trophy; the sponsorship renewal of the IBEROSTAR Stadium; and its support for the sport of basketball as official sponsor of the C. B Canarias team.

About IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts

IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts is a family-owned Spanish hospitality company with more than 50 years of experience in the travel industry. IBEROSTAR provides unique vacation experiences, rooted in superior customer service and quality, in the world’s most popular vacation destinations. With around 100 hotels in 13 countries, IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts is committed to offering excellence in quality and service and providing personal attention to each guest. For more information, please visit iberostar.com.

new espn/atp agreement expands coverage for iw, miami, and world tour finals

PRESS RELEASE

ESPN expands of ATP coverage for Indian Wells, Miami, and ATP World Tour Finals

TV Schedule for Miami Now includes Both Finals; ESPN3 to Deliver More Action from Every ATP World Tour Masters 1000 & 500 Event

ESPN and the ATP World Tour have finalized a long-term agreement that will expand coverage of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.; Sony Open Tennis in Miami; and the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals currently played in London. More than 44 hours will be aired, including, for the first time, both the women’s and men’s championships from the South Florida event. Also, more live action from every ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and 500 tournament will be on ESPN3 – totaling up to 1,200 hours annually.

“ESPN is thrilled to expand coverage of three of the biggest events outside the Major Championships – Indian Wells, Miami and the ATP World Tour season finale,” said Jason Bernstein, ESPN senior director, programming & acquisitions who oversees both ESPN3 and ESPN’s tennis business. “ESPN3 presents more live tennis action than any other U.S. outlet year-round, with multiple simultaneous matches available on broadband and via WatchESPN no matter where you are.”

Mark Young, CEO ATP Americas and Chief Media Officer, said, “We’re delighted to sign this extended agreement with ESPN, paving the way for even greater TV coverage and viewership in the US of our biggest events. ESPN is a terrific broadcast partner for the ATP and, with more fans tuning into ATP World Tour events than ever before, it’s a very exciting time to be a part of the Tour.”

ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually via WatchESPN. It is available to 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.

ESPN – All Four Slams, All In One Place
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity for live television with all other rights extended in a 12-year agreement starting in 2012. Exclusivity for the US Open in an 11-year agreement begins in 2015.

About the BNP Paribas Open
The BNP Paribas Open is the largest ATP World Tour and WTA combined two-week event in the world, offers more than $12,000,000 in prize money, and is the only event to provide the Hawkeye line challenge system on all match courts. In 2013, more than 380,000 people attended the event. Visit www.bnpparibasopen.com for more information, including tickets and hotel vacation packages Indian Wells Tennis Garden Box Office, 800-999-1585 or 760-200-8000, 78-200 Miles Avenue, Indian Wells, CA, 92210.

About Sony Open Tennis
The 2014 Sony Open will be played March 17-30 at the Crandon Tennis Center in Miami. The two-week combined event is owned and operated by IMG. The Sony Open is one of nine ATP Masters 1000 Series events on the ATP calendar, a Premier Mandatory event on the WTA calendar, and features the top men’s and women’s tennis players in the world. The event’s international fan base, exotic location, and celebrity appeal give it an energy and excitement unlike any other event on tour. In 2013 Andy Murray defeated David Ferrer for his second Sony Open title, while Serena Williams knocked off Maria Sharapova to capture her record sixth title in Miami. For ticket information, call (305) 442-3367 or visit the website at www.SonyOpenTennis.com.

About the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is the year-end climax to the men’s professional tennis season, featuring only the world’s best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams as they battle it out for the last title of the season. Players compete for Emirates ATP Rankings points throughout the season in a bid to earn one of the eight coveted berths and a chance to win the $1.92m prize money on offer for the winner. Played using a round-robin format, each player plays three matches as they compete for a berth in the knockout semi-finals and beyond. The prestigious tournament has been contested in major cities around the world with a rich history dating back to the birth of The Masters in 1970 in Tokyo. Since 2000 the event has taken place in cities such as Lisbon, Sydney, and Shanghai. In 2009 the tournament was moved to London, where it will be played through 2015.

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.

mishit: mattek-sands and allaster ring nyse bell

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Stacey Allaster ring NYSE bell 2013

 

Purple, like the logo: Not sure if Bethanie Mattek-Sands is the WTAer I’dve taken with me to the NYSE to ring the opening bell, Ms. Allaster. Is this the image we want to project to the world about who is playing tennis these days? I guess we can mix things up, seeing that Serena Williams and Vika Azarenka got a chance to thank SAP when that data partnership was announced in Cincinnati (Western & Southern Open).

(image via)