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.

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

k-swiss names eric sarin as vp of product

PRESS RELEASE: WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA (August 6, 2013) K-Swiss announced today the appointment of Eric Sarin as the company’s new vice president of product. Sarin will oversee all facets of K-Swiss product strategy, design and development globally. Sarin will be headquartered in Westlake Village, CA, reporting directly to CMO, Barney Waters.

“Eric is a great combination of creativity and strategic leadership with a very strong global point of view,” said Waters. “With K•Swiss under new ownership, we plan on bringing the brand back to prominence, and hiring Eric is a big piece of the puzzle.”

Sarin brings 17 years of global experience in the athletic and lifestyle footwear industries to K-Swiss. Most recently, Sarin was part of the team responsible for the impressive turnaround of the Le Coq Sportif brand. He was based in Paris and held various roles including global director of product. Prior to Le Coq Sportif, he served as international business unit manager at Puma, leading the lifestyle business and seasonal creative concepts from 2002-2008. From 1996-2002, Sarin worked for Adidas AG where he held various U.S. and European design and product management roles, including senior product manager for Adidas Originals Footwear.

“K-Swiss is great brand with a truly amazing history and story,” said Sarin. “I am genuinely excited to be part of the team challenged with putting the company back on a track to reaching its full potential.”