wilson kicks off nationwide ‘spin effect tour’ to demo steam racquets



Wilson Racquet Sports today announced its nationwide “Spin Effect Tour” that will visit retailers and consumers in more than 200 venues, showcasing the brand’s game changing, Spin Effect Technology. Taking place from February through June, the Spin Effect Tour targets avid tennis players at tennis facilities across the country and will also be featured at some of the country’s leading junior developmental programs: Brookhaven Tennis Club in Dallas, Westheimer Tennis Club in Houston, Sanlando Park Tennis Center in Orlando, and the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton.

Wilson’s proprietary Spin Effect Technology racquets, the Steam 99S and Steam 105S, became available to consumers in January. Both racqyets dramatically increase spin for consumers of all levels, enabling players to add more than 200 RPMs on their shots without needing to change their swing. (Watch: Video review of Wilson Steam Racquets)

Wilson’s marketing and sales team will be leading the event to explain the benefits around the proprietary Spin Effect, the Steam S racquets, and they will also take players through the TrackMan experience which tracks ball rotation, height and arc of shots and was used in the development of Steam S racquets.

Players who participate in a Spin Effect Tour will also have an opportunity to win an autographed racquets from Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka. The tour welcomes players of all ages. For more information about hosting a Spin Effect Tour event, please contact wilsontour [at] wilson.com.

rafael nadal’s first u.s. appearance will be in nyc



All eyes on NYC: The 2013 edition of the annual tennis exhibition at Madison Square Garden — the BNP Paribas Showdown — will feature Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka squaring off against Serena Williams and Juan Martin del Potro playing Rafael Nadal. This event on March 4 will headline a full day of nationwide activities as part of Tennis Night in America as well as the inaugural World Tennis Day.

Nadal will be making his first appearance in the U.S. after a long injury layoff when he takes on del Potro in the upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown. Rafa is scheduled to participate in three events in the month of February including his return to the tour next week at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, Chile followed by the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo, and the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

In 2012 the former World No. 1 won a record seventh French Open title, but a knee injury prevented him from playing after Wimbledon. The start of the Spaniard’s 2013 season was delayed by a stomach virus. The 11-time Grand Slam champion joins Andre Agassi as the only players to have completed a career Golden Slam. In 2009, Argentina’s del Potro broke through to win the US Open title. After wrist surgery in 2010, he returned to his top form in 2012, winning four titles and reaching the quarterfinals in three of the four Grand Slams.

World Tennis Day: World Tennis Day will be held with the support of the International Tennis Federation to promote Tennis10s, which tailors the game to its youngest players with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring. The cornerstones of World Tennis Day are grassroots opportunities for young players to participate in the sport at the local level. The day is highlighted by BNP Paribas Showdown events in Hong Kong as well as the annual event at Madison Square Garden in New York. The World Tennis Day effort complements the ongoing Tennis Night in America initiative to promote 10-and-under tennis by the United States Tennis Association that has been held in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown for five years.

BNP Paribas Showdown: The BNP Paribas Showdown exclusively features players who have either won Grand Slams or ranked No. 1 in the World, if not both. Entering the 2013 season, the 17 all-time participants of the event at Madison Square Garden boast a combined 101 Grand Slam singles titles, 696 titles overall and a total of 1,565 weeks ranked No. 1.

Info: The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets start at $50.00 and are on sale now at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. More information about World Tennis Day events and the BNP Paribas Showdown matches in New York and Hong Kong can be found online at www.WorldTennisDay.com. The Hong Kong event will feature John McEnroe against Ivan Lendl and Caroline Wozniacki against Li Na.

australian gothic: wilson fetes vika azarenka’s australian open win



Victoria Azarenka wins the 2013 Australian Open using a Wilson Juice tennis racquet

Fight to the Finish: The road to the second consecutive Australian Open title for World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka was long and hard. Not only was everyone trying to topple her, they came close to doing so: Jamie Hampton pushed Vika to three sets in third round but eventually lost because of a back injurySloane Stephens couldn’t continue her momentum after Azarenka’s 10-minute medical timeout in the semis; and Li Na rolled both ankles and hit her head — enough for the 2011 finalist to lose any edge she might have had over Vika in the final. And add to that the already anti-Vika crowd who became rabid after that questionable timeout and was out for Schadenfreude and blood.

But these were all mere distractions which Azarenka’s “fighter” mentality swatted away. She ground out a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Li in Saturday’s final.

FYI, Azarenka’s playing a Juice racquet from sponsor Wilson. (Review: Tennis Now’s Robert Martin on the Juice 100 BLX.)

Australian Gothic: Meanwhile, this ad sent out by the Wilson folks after Vika’s win is creeping us out. What happened to her eyes? Full version of the tribute after the cut…

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.

2013 indian wells player field announced



The BNP Paribas Open — the first major North American stop on the ATP and WTA calendars, will be held March 4-17, 2013 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. It will feature a field highlighted by nine former BNP Paribas Open champions and 13 Grand Slam champions.

Men’s commitments: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (winner: 2008, 2011), defending champion and World No. 2 Roger Federer (winner: 2004-2006, 2012), Andy MurrayDavid FerrerRafael Nadal (winner: 2007, 2009)David FerrerTomas BerdychJuan Martin del PotroJo-Wilfried TsongaJanko Tipsarevic, and Richard Gasquet.

Women’s commitments: Victoria Azarenka (winner: 2012), Maria Sharapova (2006), Agnieszka RadwanskaAngelique KerberLi NaSara ErraniPetra KvitovaSam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki (2011), Jelena Jankovic (2010), Ana Ivanovic (2008), Daniela Hantuchova (2002, 2007), Francesca Schiavone, and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Other slots: The qualifying tournament will be held March 4-6, 2013. Wildcards will also be announced in the coming weeks.

Tournament info: Indian Wells Tennis Garden Box Office (800-999-1585) or www.bnpparibasopen.com.