April 1st, 2016

Friday Tennis Blog: Egg-tacular Tennis at the White House; More

Friday Blog



From left to right: James Blake, Chanda Rubin, Vincent Gilliam, Katrina Adams, Shelby Rogers, President Barack Obama, Sloane Stevens, and Ryan Shane at the USTA Easter Egg Roll at the White House

Tennis has benefited greatly over the years from having a tennis family in the White House, and last Sunday saw the final White House Easter Egg Roll of the President Barack Obama administration. Tennis was a big part of the event’s “Eggtivity Zone,” where the USTA offered families and kids of all ages and skill levels an opportunity to try tennis in support of the First Lady’s initiative to get kids active. The event was held at President’s Park on the South Lawn of the White House, where President Obama was on the court (watch the video) along with current and former players and USTA national staff helping kids learn and play the game. Current players Sloane Stephens and Shelby Rogers, and former players James Blake and USTA President Katrina Adams were among those on hand. Did You Know? More than 35,000 people received tickets for the event, distributed by lottery so people from all 50 states and the District of Columbia can attend.



Matthew Gonzalgo and Laurel Wanger

Two Florida juniors, Matthew Gonzalgo of Plantation and Laurel Wanger of Belleair, were named to the first-ever national USTA Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes junior tennis players for their leadership, sportsmanship and character, on and off the court. “Playing tennis has opened up so many doors for me,” said Gonzalgo, who is ranked in the Top 40 of the Boys’s 16s in Florida, and began tennis at age 8 when his parents were looking for a family activity. “Through tennis, I continue to develop my discipline, mental focus, resilience and perseverance. Nothing in my life has challenged me as much as tennis, but nothing has been as rewarding.” Wanger is a junior at Largo High School, where she was a state doubles finalist and district singles and doubles champion in 2014. “The girls I play on the court are my opponents, but when we are off the court, there are good laughs and great conversation,” she said. “No matter who I play, it seems that we have determination, discipline and fun in common.” USTA Florida Player Development Coordinator Andy Gladstone says, “Matthew and Laurel have a passion for tennis, compete hard, excel in academics and are just nice people on and off the court.” To see the entire USTA Junior Leadership Team and read their full bios click here.


serena-vikaWorld No. 1 Serena Williams remains on top of the heap despite not winning a title since Cincinnati last August, her longest drought since 2012. She was among a rash of upsets this week at the Miami Open…Does your school have a Tennis on Campus club tennis program? If not, get up to $750 to start one…WTA players who retired before 1991 do not receive a pension like other players. Thanks to social media and player pressure, the WTA is being forced to look at a change…The Louisville International Open is set to debut this summer on the WTA tour, but the tournament director just stepped down and the event’s financial future is in doubt, according to the Louisville Courier-JournalJennifer Capriati was attempting a comeback last year at age 39, and she and Venus Williams shop at the same grocery, according to this storyMats Wilanders‘ coaching stint with Madison Keys lasted all of eight days, as he reportedly wasn’t the “right fit.” But it is being touted as one of the greatest coaching periods of all time as Keys was undefeated in that span, and what other coach can say that?…Russian tennis officials are speculating that Maria Sharapova’s doping hearing could be pushed back to June…ESPN’s Chris McKendry will be front and center on the network’s tennis coverage from now on…Aussie “bad boy” Nick Kyrgios wants to be treated equally as other top players. After receiving a warning during the Miami Open for hitting a ball out of the stadium, he told the chair umpire, “If anyone else, like if Rafa [Nadal] [did] that, nah, nah, you’d keep it cool. This game is biased as anything.”

U.S. Men Look to Clay at Houston, Women at Charleston


The Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston

No U.S. men or women remain in the latter stages in singles at the Miami Open, so American players have turned their attention to next week and the start of the clay court season.

Two events are on the men’s side starting Monday, the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston, Texas, and the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, Morocco. Among the top seeds in Houston, the only ATP event in the U.S. contested on red clay, will be John Isner, defending champion Jack Sock and Steve Johnson, in addition to a boatload of young Americans receiving wild cards.

The women will take to the clay at the Volvo Car Open (formerly the Family Circle Cup) in Charleston, S.C., and at the Katowice Open in Poland.

Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, and Madison Keys will be among the top Americans in Charleston, where Angelique Kerber will defend her 2015 title.

They Said It

bobby riggs billi jean king“Nothing was ever the same after that. And the men will never give us credit.”
Billie Jean King speaking to ESPN on the founding of the WTA tour after the USTA and ATP passed on backing a women’s tennis tour in the early 1970s

“The Fed Cup format is in desperate need of a revamp. It’s crucial we use this global competition as a means of attracting and retaining girls in competitive tennis at every level.”
Judy Murray after stepping down as the British Fed Cup captain

“These players come out and play me like they’ve never played before in their lives. I have to be 300 percent every day.”
Serena Williams after losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova at the Miami Open

Tennis on TV This Weekend

(EST, times subject to change)

1-3pm — ATP Miami Open (live), ESPN2
7-9pm — ATP Miami Open (live), ESPN2

1-3:30pm — WTA Miami Open (live), ESPN2

1-3:30pm — ATP Miami Open (live), ESPN2