USTA NATIONAL CAMPUS OFFERS LOCALS A GLIMPSE
The USTA National Campus in Orlando won’t open until January 2017, but Chief Executive Kurt Kamperman and his staff gave a sneak peek to 150 teaching pros and tennis industry personnel last week when the Campus hosted the Central Florida Quarterly Tennis Industry Meeting.
While the Campus is still a live construction site, attendees received a run-down of the current status and what the Campus will have to offer. On the grounds they got a view from the observation deck that affords a 360-degree look at all the 100+ courts under construction.
“Innovation comes through collaboration, and we want this facility to become the ultimate collaborative hub,” Kamperman said. “We want this to be a model facility, but just as important we want Central Florida to be a model for how we can work together to grow the game.”
- Did You Know:
There will be no water bottles or drinking fountains on site for players. The environmentally-“green” site will encourage players to fill their thermoses from Water Filling Stations located around the campus (no more empty plastic water bottles everywhere). Look for cool thermos gifts to some league and other event participants at the Campus.
- While it’s the largest tennis facility in the world with 100+ courts, it won’t have an overwhelming feel, with the campus divided up into smaller “neighborhoods.” Announced this week was the team of teaching pros for some of the neighborhoods.
- While the facility will open in January for tournament, league championships and other play, a grand opening ceremony will be held in March, including a participatory Skills Challenge event that you can attend on March 19-20 including John Isner, Gael Monfils, Caroline Wozniacki and Genie Bouchard.
- Two mini-stadium bowl courts feature seating for 500 (and can be expanded to 1,000 with temporary seating). A giant elevated viewing deck on site affords a view of the entire Campus.
- Playsight will be the official livestreaming and court analytics partner of the Campus. Twenty-six courts will be Playsight smart courts, and an additional 58 courts can also be livestreamed, so if you’re playing a league championships or tournament, your family and friends can watch via the internet from anywhere in the world.
- The main building Welcome Center will greet players and visitors with a pro shop, locker rooms and more, including the Net Post Grill with seating both indoors and outdoors.
For more info click here.
LOVE IS ALL NOVAK NEEDS
The Beatles had Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and now world No. 1 Novak Djokovic has his own spiritual guru in former player (and new coach?) Pepe Imaz.
The Spaniard Imaz, whose tennis coaching philosophy is Amor Y Paz (Love and Peace), meditated and hugged with Djokovic, his brother and others in Djokovic’s circle in preparation for this week’s Paris Masters. Now Imaz is in Paris with Djokovic, while the Serb’s two coaches, Boris Becker and Marian Vajda, aren’t, which is raising eyebrows.
His camp says not to worry and that everyone on his team will be back together for the ATP World Tour Finals in a little over a week. Imaz posted a lengthy video online showing the group meditating and discussing spiritual matters and goals, and a talk on the nourishing of the soul. “Essentially we are all looking for love, happiness and harmony,” Djokovic said. “We need to be able to look inwards and to establish this connection with a divine light.” The video has since been taken down from Imaz’s website. Meanwhile Djokovic is attempting to establish a connection with the No. 1 ranking, fighting off Andy Murray in an attempt to hang on to No. 1.
Venus Williams will make an appearance at the Fit2Run store in Tampa on Dec. 3 for a fashion show featuring her EleVen clothing line…Get ready for some unique tennis and other items up for bid next week for the auction raising money for the USTA Florida Section Foundation, leading to the USTA Florida Annual Meeting...Andy Murray guest-edited the Huffington Post to address male suicide and mental issues…Playsight SmartCourts, to be featured at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, now has a roster of investors that include Billie Jean King, Pete Sampras, Tommy Haas and Novak Djokovic. Playsight was also in action at the Southern California Intercollegiate Championships…Two years after becoming the first team to win 100 doubles titles, last week Florida-based Bob and Mike Bryan became the first team to win 1,000 doubles matches…Troubled Aussie Nick Kyrgios will undergo a “care plan” and have his suspension reduced from eight weeks to three, according to the ATP…In one year, world No. 1 Angelique Kerber doubled her career prize money, doubled her Facebook followers, and has revived tennis in Germany after the sport dropped off the map following the retirements of Steffi Graf and Boris Becker…The injured 35-year-old Roger Federer leapt from 4 to No. 1 on Forbes’ magazines “Fab 40,” listing the world’s most valuable sports brands. The Swiss has a brand value of $37 million a year, ahead of the $34 million of NBA star LeBron James.
Isner, Sock to Collide Friday in Paris
Neither Jack Sock nor Tampa’s John Isner will be making an appearance in the Elite Eight at the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals, but each is signing off the year in a big way this week at the tour’s final regular-season stop, the Paris Masters event in France.
The unseeded Sock on Thursday continued his upset run, taking out No. 12 seed Richard Gasquet 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. Earlier in the week he ousted No. 6 seed Dominic Thiem. On Friday in the quarterfinals he will meet his fellow unseeded American Isner, who on Thursday beat German qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3.
Isner leads Sock 4-3 in their career head-to-head. Their last meeting was at Houston this year when Sock won on clay in straight sets, his second straight win over Isner.
They Said It
“It will be the hub of American tennis. We are building this for the next generation of champions.”
— Tim Cass, general manager of the USTA National Campus in Orlando
“Nick has taken up the care plan on offer to him from the ATP. The details and contents of the plan are strictly confidential.”
— The ATP statement on Australia’s Nick Kyrgios seeing a sports psychologist under an ATP-approved program
“Women’s tennis has never been more exciting: Yes, it’s more exciting and unpredictable than the ATP.”
— Julian Linden writing for ESPN
Tennis on TV This Weekend
(EST, times subject to change)
5am — ATP Paris (live), Tennis Channel
6am — ATP Paris (live), Tennis Channel
8:30am — ATP Paris Final, Tennis Channel