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!

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...]

under armour’s first global marketing campaign will feature sloane stephens, among others

Under Armour logo - Global Campaign with Sloane Stephens

Under Armour announced on February 12 the launch of their first ever global marketing campaign, I WILL™. The campaign aims to highlight athletic passion and UA’s “commitment to engineering innovative products that provide real performance advantages.” At the event the brand unveiled the campaign’s principal creative spot featuring Canelo Alvarez, boxing’s welterweight World Champion; Sloane Stephens; Bryce Harper, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year; and Kemba Walker, who is currently leading his NBA team in points, assists and steals per game. The minute-long ad shows the athletes in their authentic training environment wearing Under Armour products.

“Ten years ago Under Armour became a household name when the brand asked athletes everywhere to ‘Protect this House.’ The response in the iconic commercial, and throughout the years, has been the same: I WILL,” said UA CEO and Founder Kevin Plank. “Today, Under Armour inspires the next generation of athletes to unleash their inner resolve and our I WILL trademark confirms our promise to continuously redefine the future of performance through innovation that will help give athletes an edge.”



The campaign launched Tuesday globally online (watch it above) and debuts on television in the US on Saturday, February 16, during NBA All-Star Weekend (TNT). The spot will also air on multiple networks including ESPN and MTV. Other elements include digital, OOH, grassroots, international extensions, a social competition and a new microsite, IWILL.ua.com launching on February 15, 2013.

The brand also showcased its Armour39 system – a digital performance monitoring system which helps improve training, scheduled for a March 2013 launch. The system provides a single score WILLpower measurement that reflects an individual’s overall effort during a workout session and also tracks heart rate, calories burned, and intensity. Designed to seamlessly integrate into any workout, Armour39 allows athletes to uncover precise information about their training and athletic potential.

Sloane in Doha: Stephens, ranked 17th, was entered as the 16th seed in the Qatar Total Open, held in Doha this week. She beat Anna Tatishvili in the opening round before falling to the Czech Republic’s Klara Zakopalova, losing the second and third sets in tiebreaks. The quarterfinals will be played tomorrow, with Victoria Azarenka, who double-bageled McHale, facing ErraniSerena Williams vs. Petra KvitovaMaria Sharapova taking on Sam Stosur; and Agnieszka Radwanska playing Caroline Wozniacki. (Draw: Qatar Total Open Women’s Singles)

(Photo Credit: image via Under Armour)

andy roddick, sloane stephens lead world teamtennis draft

PRESS RELEASE

Mylan WTT Logo - 2013

Andy Roddick is returning to the tennis courts this summer.

The former world number one was the top pick in today’s Mylan World TeamTennis Marquee Draft. Roddick, who first started with Mylan WTT in 2000, will play for the Springfield Lasers. This will be Roddick’s 7th Mylan WTT season and his first since 2010.

“I first played World TeamTennis when I was just starting out and have played throughout my career so I’m excited to be back,” said Roddick. “I’ve always liked the competition and the fan energy. I love being on a team and am looking forward to playing for the Springfield Lasers this July.”

Sloane Stephens, currently ranked No. 17, was selected by the Philadelphia Freedoms with their first-round pick. The 20-year-old Stephens first played Mylan World TeamTennis in 2009 as part of an all-amateur USTA team.

The newest Mylan WTT franchise, Texas Wild, will bring the world’s best doubles team to their new home court in Irving, Texas. The Wild, who relocated to Texas this year after 20 seasons in Kansas City, protected the rights to Bob and Mike Bryan who are back for their 11th season.

Venus Williams, who led the Washington Kastles to their second straight undefeated season and championship title in 2012, returns to the nation’s capital for her 10th Mylan WTT season. The three-time champion Kastles will be taking a 32-match win streak into their 2013 season opener.

Two of the top Americans on the ATP Tour will once again play for the Sacramento Capitals. The Caps protected their rights to Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish. Querrey is ranked No. 20 on the ATP Tour and Fish is No. 32.

In a trade completed prior to Tuesday’s draft, the Boston Lobsters acquired the rights to Mark Philippoussis from the Philadelphia Freedoms.

Teams will complete their lineups next month when the Mylan WTT Roster Draft is held March 12 in Indian Wells, Calif. Dates for all Mylan WTT matches will be announced during the week of March 4 when the 2013 schedule is released.

Each of the eight teams will play 14 matches – seven home, seven away. Eastern Conference teams are the Boston Lobsters, New York Sportimes, Philadelphia Freedoms and Washington Kastles. Western Conference teams are Orange County Breakers, Sacramento Capitals, Springfield Lasers and Texas Wild.

The eight teams will compete in two conferences during the regular season which concludes on Wednesday, July 24. The top two teams from both the Western and Eastern Conference advance to the 2013 Mylan WTT Conference
Championships which will be hosted on Thursday, July 25 by the top-seeded team in each Conference. The 2013 Mylan WTT Finals will be contested on the home court of the Eastern Conference Champions.

Mylan WTT Marquee Draft Selections (in Draft order)<ol>

  1. SPRINGFIELD LASERS: Andy Roddick (1st round selection)
  2. TEXAS WILD: Bob and Mike Bryan (1st round protection)
  3. BOSTON LOBSTERS: Mark Philippoussis (1st round protection – acquired rights via pre-Draft trade with Philadelphia Freedoms)
  4. PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Sloane Stephens (1st round selection)
  5. ORANGE COUNTY BREAKERS: no Marquee Player selection
  6. NEW YORK SPORTIMES: no Marquee Player selection
  7. SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Mardy Fish (1st round protection); Sam Querrey (2nd round protection)
  8. WASHINGTON KASTLES: Venus Williams (2nd round protection)

Marquee Player Matches (dates TBD when schedule is released in early March; additional visits could be added before season):

  • BOSTON LOBSTERS: Mark Philippoussis (3 matches).
  • NEW YORK SPORTIMES: Visiting players are Andy Roddick (Springfield Lasers) and Sloane Stephens (Philadelphia Freedoms) for one match each in Albany, N.Y.
  • ORANGE COUNTY BREAKERS: Visiting players are Bob and Mike Bryan (Texas Wild), and Andy Roddick (Springfield Lasers)
  • PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS: Sloane Stephens (2 home matches). Visiting players are Bob and Mike Bryan (Texas Wild) and Andy Roddick (Springfield Lasers).
  • SACRAMENTO CAPITALS: Mardy Fish (2-3 home matches); Sam Querrey (3rd week of season). Visiting players are Bob and Mike Bryan (Texas Wild).
  • SPRINGFIELD LASERS: Andy Roddick (1 home match). Visiting player is Sloane Stephens (Philadelphia Freedoms).
  • TEXAS WILD: Bob and Mike Bryan (1 home match). Visiting player is Venus Williams (Washington Kastles).
  • WASHINGTON KASTLES: Venus Williams (1 home match). Visiting player is Andy Roddick (Springfield Lasers).

victoria azarenka wants australian open title

Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open 2013

Victoria Azarenka had a lot to endure in the past couple of days: she was overcome by nerves and blew five match points in her semifinal match against teen sensation Sloane Stephens. Criticasters booed her for that but Azarenka would like to use the Australian Open finale to shush the naysayers and gain back some of that goodwill.

That 10-minute timeout, which the World No. 1 took during the 5-4 changeover right after she lost her serve, was necessitated by an apparent rib injury. Vika denies that she took a medical timeout to get an extra break to recover from the match. (Was Azarenka right in taking the medical timeout at 5-4 for nerves? Tell us!)

Azarenka told the press that it wasn’t nice to read and hear the criticism revolving her timeout but added that there are sometimes things that we don’t have control over and that the best you can do is learn from it.  Azarenka further added that the most important thing for her is to put up a great finale versus Li Na.

Stats: Azarenka and Li have played each other 9 times so far in their careers. And head-to-head is 5-4 in Vika’s favor. Azarenka has won the last four encounters.

kit count: australian open women’s QFs

Australian Open logo

The Women’s QF draw at the 2013 Australian Open: adidas (6), Nike (4), Lotto (2), and 1 each for Under ArmourFilaLacoste, and Qiaodan.

Breakdown: See the complete list after the cut…

short balls: vogue's fashion through the years, twitter check-ins and the espys looks (and don't looks)

It’s Vogue, dahling: How did we miss this?! Just shy of Wimbledon, Vogue.com used their Vogue Daily outlet to post a 110-year history of tennis fashion, called the “Evolution of Tennis Fashion.” The 26-picture slide show scoots through the early 20th century as eventually makes it to today’s looks, punctuated by the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova. Our favorite look? Katharine Hepburn rocking high-waisted shorts in the 1940s (above, with Ana Ivanovic). | TSF Vault: Vogue

Through the (on court) years: Yahoo‘s Busted Racquet tennis blog edited by Chris Chase is also giving a through-the-years look, but they’re focusing on classic matches. Recently they’ve looked at the classic Pete Sampras-Roger Federer Wimbledon 2001 encounter, and the last Slam Chris Evert would ever win: beating Martina Navratilova at the 1986 French Open. But our fave they’ve written up so far has been from another Martina: Martina Hingis. A look back at her meltdown against Steffi Graf at Roland Garros in 1999. Does it ever get old?!

Tennis trend? 
Planking has caught on in the tennis community. Hard core.On Tennis.com‘s Daily SpinJon Scott checks in on a Laura Robson favorite that kept the US Davis Cup team (too?) busy and entertained last weekend in Austin. And if you’re not quite sure what planking is, read away, folks!

Yes, Sloane does tweet. Our friends over at Adjusting the Net have a good write-up on Sloane Stephens‘ Q&A with reporters yesterday on a call for the Citi Open later this summer. While Melanie Oudin told TSF last week on a similar call that she kept the social networking tool at an arm’s length, Stephens is known as one of tennis’ best (and funnest) tweeters. She says:

I love Twitter. I post everything myself but my uncle been emailing me since I was 10 years old and on the bottom of his emails they have these quotes and I’ve always found them really cool. So I’ve kept all my uncle’s emails and I go back re-read the quotes on there and think “That’s a good one” so I’ll post that one or whatever. Initially it was just being funny and to just throw stuff out there, but then people responded to me saying I love your tweets and can relate to what you say so I started tweeting more and I’m glad people enjoy it.

More: Follow Sloane on Twitter | And TSF, too!

SI.com’s Twitter breakdown. Before we get to chatting up the ESPYs, SI.com has their “Twitter 100″ out today, a list of 100 sports writers, personalities and athletes that the site felt were the ones writing the sports story on Twitter. While Sloane didn’t make the cut, Serbian players Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic did, as did Andrea Petkovic. TennisReporters.net writer (and Mr. Do-It-All) Matt Cronin was on the list, as was gay sports outlet, Outsports.com. Next year, TSF, next year!

Did she just wear that? And no, we’re not talking about Maria Sharapova in this one. Serena Williams was quite the sight to be seen last night at the ESPYs, where Seth Meyers hosted. Serena wore a number that gave quite a peek to her front side and her back, and we can’t quite say we were the biggest fans of such an option. Serena, along with Rafael Nadal, won awards for Best Female and Male Tennis Player, respectively. | More: Who looked better? Maria or Brooklyn Decker?

The (fashionably) tall kids:
It’s rare to see Maria Sharapova not be the tallest one in the room, but as she chatted about her eye-popping heels backstage, Amar’e Stoudemire joined her and the New York Knick had her by a couple inches — even with heels on. Watch below:

More Amar’e: He’s a pretty fashionable guy | Plus: ESPY fashion report card … in which MLB pitcher Brian Wilson — channeling Serena’s pink spandex bodysuit — got a surprising F. Shouldn’t he get a D- for accessorizing well? Erwin?!

OK, one more! The Biebs was giving us a NASCAR look. And come on, you gotta sorta appreciate it, right?!

short(er) balls: They were rocking the (more distinguished) fashion in Newport last weekend at the festivities surrounding the International Tennis Hall of Fame weekend. An Angelea Moore fashion show raised funds for the Hall. | Rihanna is replacing Megan Fox in the Armani underwear campaign, joining tennis’ Rafael Nadal. | AOL has a good gear and apparel guide for tennis fans — everything under $100. | Sybille Bammer retires from the tour after losing her final match in her home country of Austria. Remember two years ago when the mama was a tour force to be reckoned with? No comeback for her, she says. | Feel better, Miles! Miles Raonic, Canada’s new star, is out for six weeks after hip surgery. That puts his US Open in clear doubt, and definitely means he misses out on the Masters stop in Canada next month. | Caroline Wozniacki‘s dad and coach, Piotr, lashes out over criticism that she should replace him as the guide to her game. He did not join her in Bastad last week, where Wozy withdrew due to injury.

(Vogue.com screengrab; Serena/Maria, Wilson and Biever all Getty Images)