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.

 

caroline wozniacki and meb keflezighi enter the tcs new york city marathon

New York Road Runners announced Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi and 22-time WTA singles champion Caroline Wozniacki as official entrants for the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. In addition to participating in the 26.2 mile event, Keflezighi and Wozniacki will run as Ambassadors for New York Road Runners Team For Kids charity running team (TFK). TFK helps to raise funds for NYRR youth running programs, providing free health and fitness programs to more than 200,000 children in New York City schools throughout the five boroughs and around the world.

Photo credit: Courtesy NYRR

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.

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!

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.”

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.

kimberly yee to receive national award at International Tennis Hall of Fame

With Hall of Fame inductees Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport and famed coach Nick Bollettieri looking on, Las Vegas’ Kimberly Yee will accept the nation’s highest junior tennis award this weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

The 17-year-old Odyssey Charter High School senior has been named a recipient of the prestigious Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award, which is presented each year by the Board of Directors of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The award began in 1987 and is given to a “junior player who exemplifies the finest qualities of sportsmanship in tournament play and the finest traditions of the great sportspersons of tennis past and present.” Past winners include current WTA and ATP American players Alexa Glatch, Alison Riske and Las Vegas’ Sam Querrey.

“The credit for this award is really for the team that helped me: my parents, my USTA friends from NJTL and the USTA Serves Foundation and all my teammates at NO QUIT Tennis Academy,” Yee said. “Since I was 9 the USTA has been helping my family and made much of what I do possible.”

Yee has been No. 1 in the USTA national rankings in the girls’ 12s, 14s, 16s and Top 10 in the 18s. She came through the local Las Vegas NJTL chapter called the Marty Hennessey Jr. Tennis Foundation. She is also part of Team Bryan, a USTA NJTL Excellence Team in partnership with the Marty Hennessy Jr. Foundation where she mentors and tutors children 3-4 times per week and teaches the next generation of players on how to be a polite, kind and respectful champion. She is coached by her father Adam Yee and Tim Blenkiron from the NO QUIT Tennis Academy.

Bob and Mike Bryan have been Kimberly’s heroes since she was young,” said Ryan Wolfington, who started the Foundation 10 years ago as a volunteer. “Like Bob and Mike, Kimberly has always had all A’s, incredible sportsmanship and an amazing desire to help other people.”

Yee’s efforts will be honored at the Friday night awards dinner that will be attended by all of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees. On Saturday, Yee will attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies of Lindsay Davenport (former No. 1 player); Chantal Vandierendonck (wheel-chair great); Nick Bollettieri (coach); Jane Brown Grimes (industry leader); and John Barrett (tennis historian/journalist).

“Kimberly’s desire to help others is so significant that I was afraid it would interfere with her training,” Blenkiron said. “But then she explained that giving back is what motivates her. I think she wants to do for other children what the Bryan brothers did for her.”

Bob Bryan commented in a video done on Yee that, “One of the best things you can do in tennis is win an award for sportsmanship and character,” he said. “She is a great role model and we really look up to her. We thank her for leading Team Bryan.”

Wolfington concluded, “I’ve been involved in tennis for the past 15 years, and I’ve never come across a student like Kimberly Yee. “She’s No. 1 in the country; the top tennis recruit. She gets good grades and continually sets an amazing example to others in the Foundation by volunteering and mentoring children.”

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.

 

 

US Open prize money to increase by four million dollars

 

The USTA today announced that the total purse for the 2014 US Open will increase by $4 million dollars bringing the total purse for the tournament to a record $38.3 million and an 11.7% increase over the 2013 US Open.

Both the men’s and women’s singles champions will earn $3 million, the largest payout in US Open history. Each round of the singles competition will see double digit percentage increases over last year’s record payouts. Total main draw prize money, which includes both the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles competitions, has increased by 12.5% over last year. Both the men’s and women’s doubles champions will earn $520,000, the highest in US Open history. The US Open qualifying tournament will now offer more than $1.5 million in prize money ($1,572,000) for the first time, and this represents an 11% increase over 2013.

In the last three years, US Open main draw prize money has increased by 64.6%.

Round-by-round individual prize money for the US Open is as follows:

Singles:                                             Doubles (each team):
Winner: $3,000,000                 Winners: $520,000
Runner-Up: 1,450,000             Runners-Up: 250,000
Semifinalist: 730,000               Semifinalist: 124,450
Quarterfinalist: 370,250          Quarterfinalist: 62,060
Round of 16: 187,300                Round of 16: 32,165
Round of 32: 105,090                Round of 32: 20,060
Round of 64: 60,420                  Round of 64: 13,375
Round of 128: 35,750

“Last year to recognize the importance of the players and the key role they have in building our sport, the USTA shared our vision to reach $50 million in prize money at the US Open by 2017,” said Dave Haggerty, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “This year’s prize money increase continues the commitment to make the US Open one of the most lucrative purses in all of sports.”

This year’s US Open is scheduled for August 25 through September 8, with the US Open Qualifying Tournament beginning on August 19.