December 14th, 2018

Friday Tennis Blog: Serena Catsuit Gets OK | Chris Evert High School Record in Jeopardy? | More

General News Friday Blog Blogs


Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Sonora, in Mexico are youth tennis-playing sister cities.

When U.S. officials shut down the ability for Sonora residents to play in Arizona due to the migrant caravan moving through Mexico, Arizona decided to come to Mexico. This weekend, Arizona parents and youth who play under the Border Youth Tennis Exchange (BYTE) program will travel to Mexico for their Rally for Border Youth.

“We basically decided to shift the entire operation to the Mexican side,” said Border Youth Tennis Exchange Executive Director Charlie Cutler, who lists Bob and Mike Bryan as program investors. Sonora’s Rosa Margarita fell in love with BYTE a year ago, when Cutler visited an elementary school to invite children to join the program. Now, Margarita brings her six grandchildren to BYTE. She’ll lead the “mom group” of food vendors at Sunday’s event. “It gives us an opportunity to those that don’t have access,” Margarita said. Cutler adds, “A kid playing tennis in Arizona looks the same as a kid playing tennis in Mexico.” Read More



Alana Wolfberg

Alana Wolfberg has chosen school and team play for much of her junior career rather than chasing ranking points across the country or around the world. Now the Orlando resident is looking at eclipsing a record Chris Evert has held since the 1970s.

Wolfberg this year won a third straight state singles championship, tying Evert, who was a three-time state champion in singles and a two-time champion in doubles for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale from 1970-72. During those years Evert beat world No. 1 Margaret Court at a WTA invitational tournament in 1970, and in 1971 competed at the US Open.

“To go four-for-four as a singles state champion would be a huge accomplishment,” Wolfberg told USTA Florida. She will get the opportunity in the spring of 2019 in her final high school season. “I would be the first person in Florida to accomplish this. More than anything, I want to be able to accomplish this for Timber Creek and represent the school I love.” Read More



American Bethanie Mattek-Sands

The WTA tour handed out awards this week, including Sportsmanship (Petra Kvitova), Player Service (Bethanie Mattek-Sands) recognizing work done to support fellow players and other initiatives, and Coach of the Year (Sascha Bajin, coach of Naomi Osaka)…Wimbledon will be radically expanding its grounds beginning in 2021 after purchasing the land of the adjoining Wimbledon Park Golf Club yesterday…Sloane Stephens and the coach who drove her to the Top 10 and a US Open title, Kamau Murray, are “on a break”…The winner of the USTA Florida League Championship Cup, presented to the county that wins the most sectionals titles in a season, was named this week, and Broward County saw their two-year streak broken…Long-time Venus Williams coach and hitting partner David Witt of Jacksonville has split with the former No. 1 after 11 years together, according to…On Dec. 15-18 the USTA National Campus in Orlando will host the Blizzard Wild Card Challenge, featuring eight male and eight female college players invited to battle for pro circuit wild cards…Naples’ Mary Carillo, a current commentator for the Tennis Channel, will be inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall Of Fame, as will Lakewood Ranch resident and tennis supporter Dick Vitale of ESPN…Jack Nicklaus is encouraging Mardy Fish to become a full-time pro golfer…While the French Open has said no to any future versions of Serena Williams’ catsuit, the WTA tour has said yes for 2019.

They Said It

Irini Falconi

“It’s just such a good vibe, I think it’s been a great thing…They’ve built 100 courts, and it’s great because it’s making it more community-based, and more people are playing tennis, and that’s what the USTA wants, right?”
— U.S. player and Florida native Irini Falconi who relocated from Jupiter to Orlando to live near and train at the USTA National Campus, speaking to the podcast

“When it happened, both of us were emotional about it. After, you sit there and go, ‘Man, after 11 years, it’s over after a two-minute phone call. Wow. After 11 years.’ Part of you sits there and says that, and the other part says that it was a business decision, which I totally understand, and I respect her decision. I don’t even need to know why; it’s just her decision. It is what it is, and we had a great run, and nothing lasts forever.”
— Jacksonville’s David Witt on being dropped as the coach of Venus Williams after 11 years, speaking to the New York Times

“It was Billie [Jean King] who taught me how to behave at work. The first time I was with her at HBO for Wimbledon, 1996, we would finish a show late at night and she’d thank the camera crew, then walk downstairs to the control room and thank them. Then she’d go back to the tape room, introduce herself, ask everybody how it’s going, compliment them on the footage they’d found. ‘Relationships are everything,’ she always says. That’s the best television lesson I’ve ever learned.”
Mary Carillo speaking to ahead of her induction into the Sports Broadcasting Hall Of Fame