radiotennis.com selected by usta to broadcast ‘college matchday’ series



radiotennis.com chosen by USTA to broadcast "College MatchDay" series

RadioTennis.com has been selected by the USTA to webcast the trial run of their new “College MatchDay” Series. The campaign, which should be in place in 2014, will highlight two matches per week throughout the college tennis season.

The College MatchDay series kicks off Sunday, February. 24, with one of the biggest rivalries in women’s college tennis — the University of Florida versus Stanford University in Gainesville, Fla. The men will then be in the spotlight on March 22, when the University of Virginia hosts Duke University in Charlottesville, Va.

(RELATED: Virginia men win the 2013 ITA National Men’s Indoor Championships)

“There is so much great competition in college tennis, and we’re thrilled to be able to spotlight some of the game’s finest teams, players and coaches with College MatchDay,” said Virgil Christian, Director, Collegiate Tennis and Market Development, USTA. “We’ve got four of America’s finest college tennis programs launching College MatchDay this season, and we’re looking forward to growing the series in the years to come.”

“RadioTennis.com is proud to be associated with this new and dynamic series,” states RadioTennis.com’s CEO Ken Thomas. “And we look forward to sharing American intercollegiate tennis with our listeners not only here in the United States, but also and around the world.”

Broadcast Schedule: February 24, Stanford University vs. University of Florida; March 22, Duke University vs University of Virginia.

What about TV? JFTR, we’d watch this if it were on Tennis Channel.

15th annual arthur ashe essay contest under way



Athur Ashe Essay Contest 2013

The 2013 Arthur Ashe Essay Contest, run by the USTA and their National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) arm, is now under way. Contest participants are asked to answer the following question: “If you could follow in Arthur Ashe’s footsteps and ‘give back’ to tennis, what would you do to give back to the game, and how would it impact others?” The winners will receive a trip to New York City around the time of the U.S. Open.

Details: 2013 Arthur Ashe Essay Contest

(Photo Credit: Ashe Wikipedia)

short balls: open coverage explodes, around the parties and irene


Here we go! The all-out media blitz for the 2011 US Open has begun, the New York Times seemingly sounding the starting gun this morning when Novak Djokovic lived on its homepage for much of the morning with a piece written by Greg Bishop about the all-out transformation of Djoko over the last year: the diet, the game, the ranking and the media appeal. It doesn’t stop there with the Times, which has stories about Irene, finding tennis courts in NYC and qualies of course. But those are just the meat-and-potatoes posts. More? Andy Samburg dresses up (and celebrates like) the best champs from tennis’ past, though he didn’t pull a Djoko and sport a Maria-inspired wig. Check out the hilarious video here.

TSF Vault: Short balls | US Open

Time out: But don’t think the Times is the only one who has it going on. New York magazine has an entire US Open guide section while Time took the time to follow Djokovic around, too. Tennis.com is unsurprisingly all blinged-out, currently with a Richard Pagliaro Q&A with Andrea Petkovic. Their USO-specific page is a looking a little bit like it’s stuck in 1999, though we’re positive that Tignor, Bodo and the rest of the crew will be on the grounds and covering as they always do. TennisNow.com is looking more and more like Tennis.com these days, which isn’t necessarily a horrible thing. But we do enjoy their easy-to-read breeze through the fashion of the men and women at Flushin this year, which is heavily linked to outside sources. CNN/SI gives little/no cover play to the Open on this Friday, but we expect them to beef up coverage as the tourney actually gets underway. No doubt they have frontman L. Jon Wertheim‘s piece on the seeds (he’s all Serena on the women’s side) featured on the tennis page. Tennis Channel wants folks to play in its Racquet Bracket challenge – and we would — if only that meant a date with James LaRosa of Sweet Spot fame. His latest Spot? A drinking game, of course! Oh James! You keep us sober (in life)! ESPN.com doesn’t have any USO coverage on its homepage, either, and hasn’t even pulled the “Tennis” section from out underneath the “More Sports” bar. But the .com side always adds to what TV has going on — which is bigger than ever. ESPN3 went as far as sending out a release to tout their individual coverage that supplements TV. What can we say? We sort of love it.

And the little guys? On the blogosphere, it’s business as usual around the horn. The blogging has been slow for C Note, but the tweeting? Outta control. So much so that Merriam-Webster finally appeased and made “tweeting” an actual, real world. Way to go, C! 52,346 tweets and counting. Down the Line has this hilarious cartoon via Women’s Tennis Blog. Tennis Panorama braved the epic crowds at Macy’s yesterday for the Rafa unveiling of a (shirtless) billboard. Did we expect anything else? Number of Rafa billboards? One. Number of words he spoke on stage? One. (“Hel-lo.”) The-Slice has tasty crumbs from Taste of Tennis last night. And Adjusting the Net is all about Winston-Salem. Someone had to be, right?

short(er) balls: The Post calls Serena’s path (she has Vika in the third round) “easy” for title. | TSF contributor Lindsay Sakraida has NYMag.com’s official preview of the men and women. | We didn’t see this coming: the USTA cancelled Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day because of Irene. Won’t reschedule. | Richard Evans writes on FoxSports.com that this is Mardy Fish‘s big opp. | More 3D tennis from Panasonic and CBS. Should we care? | Pete Sampras and other fellas part of an “Old School” tennis event last night in Murray Hill, Manhattan. | New Haven got all shaken up (and evacuated) after Tuesday’s earthquake. | Lleyton Hewitt? Out of the Open. | Tennis Channel is still battling with Cablevision. #overit | But really, NYT? Who is eating around the grounds. People are just eating in the grounds. | The next great gay film? We sort of think this is it. | Shameless plug: Housing Works has plenty of good sales this fall. In the city for the Open? Live there? Have the ability to shop online? Do. It.

(nytimes.com screengrab; hw photo provided)

 

past&e: after-school success in pdx


By Benjamin Snyder

Tennis Served Fresh is always trying to bring you fresh angles of the game. Here, we’ve had contributor Benjamin Snyder pen a repot on a Portland, Ore.-based after-school tennis program that shows how tennis can really shape just a community — not just an online community board. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of these things.


It’s summer now, but picture the end of a mild-weathered school day in Portland, Oregon. A group of children of varying ages gather together. They’re getting picked up to take part in an afterschool program. Instead of stepping inside the vehicle that arrives, some kids start running. A coach prompts them to give it their all on the impromptu run. The kids’ destination? The tennis courts.

According to Portland After School Tennis & Education (PAST&E) Executive Director Danice Brown, it’s all about participating and rewards. Those who accept the challenge to run to the local racquet club where the program occurs get the chance to start hitting right away, she explains. The goal? To raise the bar and to “create the student-athlete mentality.”

Offering over nearly 60 at-risk kids the chance to improve their form in the classroom and on the tennis court, PAST&E serves children kindergarten all the way up to high schoolers. The program attempts to develop its students by promoting literacy, an understanding of math and science, nutritional and fitness values, life skills, tennis and friendship. Achieving this goal includes a number of initiatives, including summer programming, tournament play, a tennis academy for high school students, one for younger students and more.

Helping to continue the success these initiatives, however, isn’t always easy. In fact, Brown considers it a battle to secure the funding necessary to keep the at-risk kids her program serves off the streets and on court.

Many times, she’ll get a quick answer from local pros or from the USTA suggesting that she stop worrying about getting together the money required for the child to play competitive junior tennis, which requires paying membership fees, having the money for transportation costs and other miscellaneous payments. What would otherwise be a “drop in the bucket” for some families, can be quite difficult for those that make around $15,000 to $20,000 of annual income, especially as some try to raise six children, explains Brown.

Instead of securing the money required to allow that child to participate in tennis in an organized fashion, some have told her to simply give the kid a racquet and send the young player to the public courts to hit.

Brown, however, has other thoughts. “In North Portland [one of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Portland], you can’t send children to the park; it’s not safe there, and it’s not organized,” she told TSF. “Our center is located in North Portland [at the St. John’s Racquet Center] which is in one of the more socio-economically challenged neighborhoods. It’s the ‘hood.’ There’s a lot of diversity, there’s a lot of gang activity, and there are a lot of elements that work against families and kids.”

Tennis Director Fitz Paccione states that PAST&E blends tennis and education with careful concern for the students involved. “Our main priority is to create a safe environment for children who are from at risk families, families that have high independency on crime, poverty rates very low, live in areas with a lot of gang activity,” he says.Although he and Brown noted that theirs is not the only program to combine tennis and education together — in fact, there are as many as 200 nationwide — PAST&E looks to be taking steps since its reorganization in 2008 to make it stand out from the rest.“I think the difference between PAST&E [and other programs] is that ours is really based on taking into account the entire child in that family,” says Paccione. For instance, getting into the program is completely scholarship based, with each child going through a selection process based on income, need and the confirmation of parental involvement going forward.

“We interview the parents to see if they’re willing to attend the family meeting, turn in report cards, progress reports, go to tennis matches, learn to be the best possible parent they can be, it’s real training for parents who have not had that in their background,” explains Brown.

“Parents really have to sign their name on the bottom line,” she continues. The committee works to determine the children with the most academic and emotional need. “We want that child because we feel that with the extra punch we can give…,we can make a difference in that child’s life.”

Originally, when PAST&E began in 1996 under the leadership of Ernest Hartzog, now one of eight on the program’s board, its goal was “just trying to introduce disadvantaged kids to the game of tennis,” says Brown.

Now, it’s much more.

Read (and see) more on the PAST&E program after the cut.

[Read more...]

6 minutes with … kristin chenoweth



Really though, “it must be love.” (Photo by Benjamin Snyder)

If you’re not a New Yorker then chances are you aren’t familiar with the brilliance that is New York magazine. Yes, it has a good national presence, so perhaps you’ve at least heard of these folks. But they have a running feature in their mag that is called “Encounter.” For each “Encounter,” the interviewer documents how many minutes they spend time with their subject, which is then the lead-in to the story itself. So, it could be “86 minutes with” (Gavin Newsom). Or “59 minutes with” (Elizabeth Berkley). You get it.

Yesterday I got the chance to hop over to Times Square on one of those gorgeous, sunny, unobtrusive New York days. The sky was bluer than blue and people were just walking about, as if summer was this sort of trance that made everything else in the world OK. People didn’t to seem to know it was Monday. And — perhaps I was in a little bit of my own tennis geek world — I forgot for a minute that I was in Times Square, that godforsaken place that oozes grossness and I avoid at all costs 99 percent of my time in New York.

But, I was there to meet Kristin Chenoweth – you know, the Broadway name of Wicked slash Glee slash dating Aaron Sorkin slash Promises, Promises fame. Sure, John McEnroe would be there too, and Judah Friedlander even made a sort of surprise appearance (at least in my book). But it was Kristin I was after and I was determined to have my “__ minutes with” … Kristin Chenoweth. How many did I get? Well, six to be exact, but we’ll get to that in a second.

The USTA was putting on this event to kick off its sales of tickets for the 2011 tournament. It was a great gathering on an already-mentioned gorgeous day. There were living legend statues (that’s Francesca Schiavone, right?), as well as tennis players on stilts, the USO trophy to pose with and a 10 & Under tennis court for thrill seekers to hit as many targets in 30 seconds as possible. | Buy: US Open tickets

Johnny Mac was there first (more on that in a second, too!) and he hit for a bit before he was joined by Kristin, who was half his size (while wearing Polo Ralph Lauren heels) and the two chatted and posed and hugged and hit and chatted and posed. It was just what the tennis gods (does Don Budge hold the lightning rod these days?) ordered.

But then it was time for Q&A and I finally got my chance with KC. She’s tiny and cute and stood there in front of the “It must be love” tag line for almost an hour, going through interview after interview, weathering the tennis questions with class and sometimes absent-mindedly playing with the USO trophy lid — you know, the one that fell on Maria Sharapova’s head. But it was Sharapova that we would eventually talk about, because I had overheard that Kristin had had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction on her way to Times Square (hence Mac getting there first), and it was the perfect way to open my TSF-esque line of questions in…

Six minutes with … Kristin Chenoweth

TSF: Wardrobe malfunction on your way here. Tell me about it.
Kristin Chenoweth:  
Well Ralph Lauren sent me this shirt and it was down to my knees. So I cut it off.

TSF: In the car?
KC: Actually my assistant cut it. Her name is Julie Trussell. She cut it.

TSF: You trust her with scissors?
KC: Well, not anymore because she cut it too short. [Motioning toward a sliver of exposed belly.]

TSF: No, I think it looks great.
KC:
Is it OK? And Ralph Lauren sent me these shoes [showing me her white heels], but I had to play tennis in them. That was hard.

TSF: But I think Serena would approve.
KC:
Serena would approve!

TSF: Who would you go for fashion advice from? Serena or Maria Sharapova?
KC:
I would go for Maria.

TSF: You would? Have you seen her Cole Haan ballet flats? They’re best sellers.
KC: Which, by the way, makes me want to get them. But, I only wear size four and a half or five. So…

TSF: We’ll send her a memo.
KC: Please!

TSF: If a tennis player or fan came to you for restaurant advice in NYC, where would you send them?
KC: Well there are plenty of well-known restaurants in the theatre community. And then I would want them to come and see shows.

TSF: So John’s Pizza?
KC: Yes! John’s Pizza. I like Joe Allen’s or Cafe Luxembourg on the Upper West Side. Very classy, but not overdone.

TSF: Say you get to go to the US Open for one day and do anything you want — I mean be a player or a line judge or a ball person or be selling beer. What would you want to do?
KC: Oh definitely a ball kid. First of I would never judge. I would be like: ‘Oh my god! You did good! Oh my god I love that shirt!’ [She makes flirty eyes.] I would be the worst judge ever.

TSF: But Johnny Mac would love you.
KC: Right? If I had on my cute heels. And [being a ball kid is] great cardio.

TSF: And you have the size down.
KC: You think I do?

TSF: But at the US Open they’re not ball kids, they’re ball persons.
KC: Well I’m a person of a certain age.

TSF: Who would you rather play mixed doubles with: Johnny Mac or Judah?
KC: John.

TSF: What about Judah’s beard?
KC: I don’t care. John would carry me through it. I just died a thousand deaths [playing with McEnroe]. I was like, ‘You can make a fool of yourself, A. Or you can make a fool of yourself, B.’ But he gave me great tips. I was holding my racquet too far up and he showed me how to hold it correctly. I think that [oversized racquet] is bigger than me.

TSF: Really? If you took your heels off, could you see over the net?
KC: I’d say there’s half of me that could see over the net. I’m 4 foot 11! That whole court [the 10 & Under court] was built for me. Glorified ping pong.

TSF: It’s a 10 & under court.
KC: Shut up.

TSF: OK. We’ll just call it the 4’11 and under court. If you could pick one Broadway star to play doubles with, who would it be?
KC: I’m going to go with Donna Murphy. Here’s why: she’s competitive and she’s usually really good at stuff. I’m going with a woman. We don’t whine and we get shit done.

TSF: What are your plans for the Open? Are you going to go out?
KC: I’m going to go out. I have to bring my mom. She’s a huge tennis fan. Playing with [John McEnroe] is her Barbara Streisand moment. I’m a huge fan of [Patty Smyth].

TSF: How many people can say they got to play tennis with John McEnroe?
KC: That poor man.

TSF: You let him though, right?
KC: Yes, I let him win.

TSF: I’ll see you out at the Open.
KC: I’ll be there!

(Secondary images by TSF)