phillip simmonds named to staff at sportime / john mcenroe academy



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PRESS RELEASE

Long Island native and recent ATP Tour professional player Phillip Simmonds has joined the staff at the SPORTIME location in Syosset, N.Y., and at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy Annex at the SPORTIME location in Bethpage, N.Y., it was announced by SPORTIME CEO Claude Okin. Fresh off a successful junior and pro career, Simmonds joins fellow pro Robert Kendrick, who has been Director of Tennis at SPORTIME Syosset since September 2012 and who helped bring the 28-year old into the Sportime fold.

Born in Selden, N.Y., Simmonds won nine ITF Futures and three USTA Challenger titles while achieving a career-best rank of #200 in the world. He played in the US Open main draw singles in 2006 and in US Open main draw doubles in 2004, 2006 and 2007. A member of the 2002 U.S. Junior Davis Cup team that reached the finals, Simmonds was semi-finalist at the French Open and Wimbledon juniors and won the prestigious Orange Bowl in 2002 and the Australian Open Junior Doubles in 2003.

“Adding a new, young coach, with junior and professional experience and accomplishments of Phillip Simmonds is a big boost for SPORTIME Syosset and for the John McEnroe Tennis Academy,” said Okin. “He has already shown us that he is a great teacher and motivator. He is a great guy and a great colleague and, best of all, he is a native Long Islander. We are pleased and fortunate to have Phillip at SPORTIME.”

“I am excited about the opportunity to return home and to start taking what I have learned from my decades of experience as a tournament player and sharing it with students at SPORTIME and at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy. Of course I can’t wait to work with our juniors, but I am also having fun with our adult and recreational players,” said Simmonds. “So far I am very excited about this next chapter in my career in the sport.”

short balls: a ‘dead’ week in tennis



Summer sorrow? The three weeks between Wimbledon ending and the US Open Series beginning (Note: we understand that the USOS already began in Atlanta, but surely you can understand that it really feels like summer when Stanford and Los Angeles start, no?) can always be a bit awkward. Sure, there is the beautiful thing that is World TeamTennis, and yes, there are those random events in Europe and the historic after-Wimbledon beacon known as Newport. But this is the time of year that tennis usually takes a breather. Or, at least, tennis news. In 2011, however, not so much. Don’t believe us? Read your way through this week’s short balls – there’s plenty to be had!

Up in arms: Folks in Canada (and beyond) were up in arms over a Rogers Cup poster being used to advertise the women’s tournament as a lead in for a senior’s event that featured Andre Agassi and John McEnroe. The tag line? “[C]ome for the ladies, stay for the legends.” Wait, really? Yes, really. Busted Racquet has a good shot of the poster, which Chris Chase says isn’t really that big of a deal — arguing that the tag line just sort of sucks. And while we partly agree, it was a double slap in the face from the TSF POV: sexually charged (“come for the ladies”) and wait … you want folks to stick around for two retired legends? To us, it should be the other way around. But the Rogers folks changed it up after the outcry, instead using: “[M]aking history, re-living history.” Done and done.

Wozy’s new boo? Always a flirt on Twitter, Caroline Wozniacki might actually have a boy following through on all those winky faces and nudge, nudge LOLs. Who’s the new fella? That’d be Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, the 22-year old who stormed through the golf world earlier this summer to win the US Open — you know, just around the time that Caro was crashing out of Wimbledon. But Rory has a complicated (and catty?!) ex GF (Holly Sweeney — they were childhood boos!) and when trying to make an international relationship work in the 21st century, there are only so many #missubabe hash tags that will suffice. Stay tuned.

Dulko, Lena tie the knot (but (k)not to one another): Both Gisela Dulko and Elena Dementieva were married recently, Lena’s nuptials being quite the gathering of Russian tennis royalty. WomensTennisNow.com has a bevy of pictures, and Jon Scott wrote in the Daily Spin on Tennis.com that Safina, Kirilenko, Kuzentsova, Dushevina, Vesnina Zvonareva, Kudryavtseva and Igor Andreez (Kirilenko’s beau) were all in attendance. Dementieva married Maxim Afinoginov, a Russian hockey palyer, at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow.

Johnny be good. Seems as though John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg can still bring in the big bucks — and crowd. Their well-documented encounter on the World TeamTennis court last week in NYC helped raise more than $300,000 thanks to a sell out crowd. Where does the money go? To the youth, of course! “The funds raised will benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, which provides scholarships, coaching, tournament travel and introductory programs for area youth who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the Academy or to participate in recreational tennis programs,” a Sportimes release said. Dunlop and Nike are corporate sponsors of the academy, which starts its second school year this coming September.

Do you think she did it herself? Pakastani doubles expert Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi announced his engagement to Faha Akmal Makhdoom. The two, above, celebrated over the weekend. Quite the tattoo, right?! But seriously, Erwin, that should make our tattoo watch list, right?!

Time-lapse goodness. Before short(er) balls, a bit of other thread (ot) delight: the video below shows the NYTimes.com homepage in time-lapse from September of last year until this month. Be amazed.

Short(er) balls: Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish have signed up to play an exhibition match in Oklahoma City — near where Andy’s bro John Roddick is the University of Oklahoma coach — on Steptember 25. John will join the gents for a doubles exo, as well. Ticket info here. | Things are shaping up well in Cincy. The Mason, Ohio-based stops gets the men and women at the same time this year (Aug. 13-21) and has six new courts, including a 4,000-seat show court. | Remember Robby Ginepri? The oft-injured American is on somewhat of a mini-comeback. The 2005 USO semifinalist beat former world no. 2 Tommy Haas in Atlanta this week and remains in the draw. Oh, and he’s engaged, too. | Ice cream sandwiches are all the rage in NYC right now. And for good reason. | The Museum at FIT in New York is currently showing a fashion exhibit that focuses on sports wear and its (huge) influence on the rest of the fashion and clothing industry. | A 17-year-old Lexington, Ky., tennis stand out is the new face of Hollister. The teen — Chad Buchanan — has no relation to American upstart Chase. Though, his mom was runner-up in the Miss America pageant in 1984.

(Serena-Hingis image via the AP; Elena image via Sports.ru; and Qureshi image via Getty)

spotted in the city: (late) open shots



Some of these are almost a month late, but we still have a few items from the US Open that we’ll roll through the TSF realm to make sure that nothing has fallen through our editorial cracks. Another few shots for our spotted in the city series, which we captured during a busy couple of weeks during the Open.

During the USO, Madison Square Park, in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, was turned into a tennis-viewing haven. I did a post about the two-week long viewing event on the New York Times‘s Straight Sets tennis blog. I took this shot on the first Friday night of the Open after grabbing some grub at Shake Shack with some friends.

A couple days after the USO was finished, workers at the adidas store in NoHo were already taking down the displays of Andy, Ana, Caroline and Jo-Wilfried and putting up some mannequins for an upcoming sale.

We were out on Randall’s Island at the SportimeNY fitness center for the Legends Clinic that was put on by Ralph Lauren and featured Venus Williams. On our way to the bathroom, this door label caught our eye:

(photos by tsf)

and so it begins: mcenroe picks his boys



Mac assembles the army: John McEnroe took another step in setting up his eponymous Nike-sponsored tennis academy by plucking five New Yorkers for scholarships. One of the boys will receive a full ride and the other four get substantial grant assistance.

The Academy revealed the names during halftime of a sold-out WTT match between the New York Sportimes (whose roster includes McEnroe and Kim Clijsters) and the Philadephia Freedoms (Andy Roddick).

Mazel: Aleksandar Kovacevic, 11, of Manhattan, is the full scholarship winner. The others: Jameson Corsillo, 7, of White Plains, N.Y., Ethan Leon, 9, of Woodhaven, N.Y., Mitchell Ostrovsky, 12, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Lamar Remy, 14, of Roslyn, N.Y.

“I just went out and tried my best and I’m glad the coaches think I have potential, and I can’t wait to learn from the best,” said Kovacevic. “It was exciting to hit on the same court with John McEnroe and Andy Roddick, and I hope to be playing on this court as a pro one day.”

The girls will get their chance to try out on Monday, July 19, with Clijsters and Martina Hingis on hand to announce the five finalists.

(Kovacevic photo by Fred Levine/FALPhotography.com courtesy of Sportimes)

short balls: to nike, the kids must be alright



In the ball pit: We’re excited to see Nike have a hand in John McEnroe‘s Tennis Academy on Randall Island, which is scheduled to open mid-September. The tennis giant has signed on as its first corporate sponsor, outfitting the students and staff for a minimum of five years. Juniors have been personae non gratae in Nike’s sponsorship agenda thus far, so it’s great to see Johnny Mac leveraging his 30-year relationship with the company to help out the up-and-comers.

Tennis Strategery: The folks over at Fuzzy Yellow Balls are taking their tennis instruction videos to the next level. This week, they’re releasing a series on strategy, and we suggest you take a look. (Your fabulous outfits already make you a winner in our book; you might as well win the match, too!)

Further reading: Tennishead has churned out the second issue of adizine, its PR project for adidas‘ tennis arm. Plenty of cutesy pics of the studs and, uhm, mares, in the stable, including Ivanovic, Henin, Verdasco, Murray, and Tsonga. We liked the ode to the Barricade. (adizine, issue 2)

Further reading, part 2: Lee Goodall and his tennishead team have also produced their e-mag’s 9th issue in time for Wimbledon. (Read)

(OT) One Bus Away: I’m going to keep my fingers crossed hoping that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa‘s 30/10 Transportation Plan will be able to integrate software like OneBusAway, which “helps you find a nearby bus stop anywhere in the city with GPS and then tells you when the next three buses are actually estimated to arrive, rather than scheduled to arrive.” (via Worldchanging)

(OT) Recession Rags Bag: I had a chance to drop by the Recession Rags studio a few months ago, where proprietor Justin Sellman showed me a little bit of what to expect in the coming months from the Brooklyn-based shop, including velvet scarves–I’ll wear it even through our uber-mild L.A. winter–and a bag, pictured, now available on their site.