Tag Archive | "McEnroe"

Andy Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro Headline 2011 Delray Beach ITC

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Andy Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro Headline 2011 Delray Beach ITC



The field of competitors scheduled to appear at the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in February has shaped up to be the strongest in the tournament’s history.

The draw is headlined by former US Open Champions Juan Martin del Potro (2009) and Andy Roddick (2003). Joining Del Potro and Roddick are past Delray Beach ITC champions Marty Fish, James Blake, Kei Nishikori, Xavier Malisse, and Ricardo Mello.

The tournament will also host a stop of the ATP Champions Tour event with John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash, Todd Martin and Mark Philippoussis scheduled to play.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

DELRAY BEACH, FL (January 20, 2011) – Former Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC) champions Xavier Malisse, Kei Nishikori and Ricardo Mello, along with 2010 runnerup Ivo Karlovic and 2007/2008 runnerup James Blake have signed up to play in the ITC’s 19th annual ATP World Tour event from February 21-27 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center.

Also committing to the draw: 2009 world No. 12 Radek Stepanek and Janko Tipsaravic, who played a hero’s role in leading Serbia to the 2010 Davis Cup title.

The group joins a pair of US Open Champions - Andy Roddick (2003) and Juan Martin del Potro (2009) – as well as current Top 20 players Mardy Fish and John Isner - in giving the ITC arguably its best draw in history.

“We can’t wait to see how this one plays out,” said tournament director Mark Baron, who has added a 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera to the $500,000 pool of prize money.  “Our group of stars stands out,  but the depth of talent in this draw and guys who have had great results is very impressive.”

Malisse, the winningest player in ITC history, reached the Chenai final earlier this month. The 31-year-old is a three-time champion (2 singles titles, 1 doubles title) and has reached three other singles finals at the ITC.

Nishikori’s incredible run in 2008 as an 18-year-old made him Delray Beach’s youngest champion, and Mello will long be known for winning the 2004 title following one of South Florida’s four hurricanes that season.

Karlovic enjoyed an exciting run to the ITC final last year that included a tournament-record 89 aces, while Blake, with an 11-5 record in this tournament, received a wildcard to play this year.

Stepanek has played in 11 career ATP World Tour finals – winning four – and was the Delray Beach doubles champion in 2004. Tipsaravic owns an impressive record vs. Top 10 players, and his win in the decisive 5t rubber in last year’s Davis Cup semifinal propelled Croatia to the final.

The tournament’s ATP Champions Tour event, featuring John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash, Todd Martinand Mark Philippoussis, will kick off the Delray Beach ITC on Friday, February 18 at the Tennis Center. Fans buying tickets on Monday and Tuesday, February 21 and 22, will see both ATP World Tour and ATP Champions matches.

Baron also announced a ‘blockbuster’ Tuesday evening session that will include Roddick’s opening match in addition to the ATP Champions Tour final. The world No. 8 is expected to be the top seed in the ITC’s ATP World Tour event.

Individual session tickets range in price from $15 for grandstand seats to $85 for box seats, while a wide variety of tournament packages are available from $200 to $490. A limited number of ON-COURT “Best Seats in the House” remain, and there are unique “Fan Experiences” also available for purchase.

Here is Delray Beach’s 2011 draw: Kevin Anderson (RSA), Igor Andreev (RUS), Benjamin Becker (GER), Julien Benneteau (FRA), Richard Berankis (LTU), James Blake (USA), Dustin Brown (GER), Brian Dabul (ARG), Juan Martin del Potro (ARG), Ivan Dodig (CRO), Mardy Fish (USA), Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS), John Isner (USA), Xavier Malisse (BEL), Adrian Mannarino (FRA), Ricardo Mello (BFA), Kei Nishikori (JPN), Bjorn Phau (GER), Michal Przysienzny (POL), Andy Roddick (USA), Rainer Schuettler (GER), Florent Serra (FRA), Radek Stepanek (CZE), Janko Tipsarevic (SRB); Balance of 32-player field will be filled by 4 qualifiers, 2 special exempts (at ATP discretion) & 1 wildcard.

Visit the Delray Beach ITC website www.YellowTennisBall.com to purchase tickets. For more information, please call 561-330-6000.

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Henman – Ivanisevic: The Wimbledon Rematch

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Henman – Ivanisevic: The Wimbledon Rematch


Tim Henman and Goran Ivanisevic faced each other at the Royal Albert Hall in London last night for the first time since their epic semi-final at Wimbledon in 2001. Ivanisevic broke the hearts of the British public by beating Henman in a thrilling five set match spread across three days due to the unpredictable British weather.

I clearly remember listening to the commentary secretly during lessons at my school in North London on my vintage Sony Walkman, nerves on edge.  Arguably, this was Henman’s most promising opportunity to be the first British man since Fred Perry to lift the Wimbledon crown.   With a certain American, Pete Sampras, knocked out in the fourth round by none other than recent ATP Tour Finals champion, Roger Federer, the path seemed clear or so we thought.

However, the stars were shining favourably on the charismatic Croat, who famously ate at the same table at the same restaurant every night during the Wimbledon fortnight.   En route to his well deserved Wimbledon title, the pinnacle of any professional tennis player’s career, Ivanisevic won back the heart of the British crowd in his fairytale win against Aussie, Pat Rafter.  Ranked world number 125 due to a recurring shoulder injury, Ivanisevic reached the final as a wild card entry and previously had three tough Wimbledon final losses to Andre Agassi in 1992 and Pete Sampras in 1994 and 1998.

He famously said to reporters: “If some angel comes tonight in my dreams and says: ‘OK Goran, you’re going to win Wimbledon tomorrow, but you’re not able to touch the racket ever again,’ I will say: ‘OK, I’d rather take that and then never play tennis again in my life.’”

Yet, the changeable Croat with dual personalities is back.  And what a comeback it has been for the 39-year-old.   A regular on the seniors tour, Ivanisevic has won two titles in Barcelona and Knokke this season and recorded his fastest ever serve this year. He was one of the many players who encouraged Henman out of retirement to join legends such as Stefen Edberg, John McEnroe and Britain’s own, Greg Rusedski on the ATP Champions Tour in a more jovial yet competitive atmosphere.

“I saw him at the World Tour Finals in London last year and I told him he should come back and play with us,” Ivanisevic said of Henman. “He’s a great tennis player and we miss players like him.”

The players certainly didn’t disappoint the animated crowd last night. In fact, with the pressure off, they produced an outstanding level of tennis, with Ivanisevic serving as well as I’d ever witnessed, winning the first set 6-4. Indeed, Henman said in the post match press conference that no one had ever served as well against him in his entire career in that first set.  Heady praise for the Croat who revealed he is serving faster than ever before with the “new technology” of rackets these days.

With “good” Goran serving on all cylinders, this could have been a baptism of fire on the fast indoor court for Henman, only in his second match out of retirement. But, the Brit held his nerve well and showed many glimpses of his former glory, with great net play and feel around the court, winning the second set 7-5 and bringing the match to an exciting deciding Championship tiebreak.

Despite the hecklings of the old Tim faithful, Goran served his way to the match with an 11-9 victory in the Champions’ Tie-Break, looking impressively sharp on his backhand returns too.

Both looked exhilarated and liberated by the atmosphere of the ATP Champions Tour, particularly in the historic setting of London’s Royal Albert Hall. In the post match press conference Henman revealed his “body felt good” and was pleased with the “good quality of tennis out there.”  Similarly, Goran was beaming as he said “today I felt great” and emphasized how much he is enjoying his tennis without the mental pressure of the tour.  To my question of whether he still enjoyed playing up to his loveable villain reputation, he laughed and said:  “People have always called me so many things. I don’t mind.”

Well, last night Goran, you were quite simply brilliant.

Follow Melina Harris’ coverage for MiamiTennisNews on twitter under the username @thetenniswriter

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Andy Roddick Scheduled to Play in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships

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Andy Roddick Scheduled to Play in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships


Andy Roddick is scheduled to play in the 2011 International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Florida.  Roddick will join fellow Americans Mardy Fish, John Isner, and the Bryan brothers at the ATP World Tour event to be held February 18 – 27, 2011.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

DELRAY BEACH, FL (www.YellowTennisBall.com) - Andy Roddick is coming back to “The Beach.” The former Boca Raton resident and 2003 US Open champion will return to the tournament where he made his pro debut when he plays in the 2011 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC) ATP World Tour event next February.

Roddick’s signing was announced Thursday as the Delray Beach ITC was accepting the 2010 Providencia Award from the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau for its lead role in contributions to the area as a tourist destination.

The 19th annual Delray Beach ITC will be held Feb. 18-27 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center, and will include both the ATP World Tour event alongside the 2nd annual ATP Champions Tour event featuring John McEnroe.

“It’s so great to have Andy come home where he started,” said tournament director Mark Baron, who gave an 18-year-old Roddick his first wild card into an ATP-level event in 2000. “Everyone has been asking for the last six years ‘when is he going to come back?’ We’re expecting the phones to be ringing off the hook.”

To celebrate Roddick’s signing, the ITC is running a discounted ticket promotion from October 1 -17. All single session reserved seats are 20% off (reg price $35-$85) while single session box seats are 10% off (reg price $65-$85). Reserved series ticket packages are also discounted 10%. Fans can order online through www.YellowTennisBall.com or by calling 561-330-6000.

Roddick’s 2000 pro debut began a string of four appearances in Delray Beach. The Boca Prep grad reached the 2002 ITC final, and by season’s end became the youngest American to finish in the Top 10 since Michael Chang in 1992.

“I am excited to return to Delray Beach,” said the 28-year old Roddick. “I received my first wild card as a professional tennis player in Delray so the tournament certainly has a special significance in my career.”

The Grand Slam champion became the youngest American to finish No.1 in the world when he achieved that ranking in 2003 as a 21-year-old. He has finished in the ATP’s Top 10 for eight straight years and enjoyed a five-year run in the Top 5 during that time. Roddick is a three-time Wimbledon runner-up, a 2006 US Open finalist, and has won 29 ATP titles in 10 years as a pro. His 41 US Davis Cup singles wins ranks second all-time behind McEnroe.

Roddick joins 2009 ITC singles champion Mardy Fish and Wimbledon record-setting John Isner in committing to play in the ITC’s ATP World Tour event, setting up a draw with three of the top four-ranked American singles players. Also returning to Delray Beach are the ITC’s defending doubles champions and world No.1 Byran Brothers while the ATP Champions Tour event has already received commitments from McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Pat Cash,Mark Philippoussis, Greg Rusedski and, most recently, Boca Raton’s Aaron Krickstein. McEnroe, Wilander, Cash and Krickstein played in the inaugural event in 2010.

The tournament’s reserved series ticket packages that are discounted 10% during this special promotion include the following: The $490 (reg price) Diamond package including all 18 sessions of ATP Champions and

ATP World Tour action; the $290 (reg price) Champions package (sessions 1-9) combining all ATP Champions Tour matches and four ATP World Tour sessions; the $390 (reg price) World package (sessions 6-18) giving fans all ATP World Tour matches plus  two days of ATP Champions Tour matches (including the final); and the popular $200 (reg price) Weekender package including tickets for the ATP World Tour quarterfinals, semifinals and finals (sessions 14-18) .

The ON-COURT “Best Seats In The House” are priced between $150 and $250, depending on the session.

All ticket opportunities, prices and amenities are explained in detail at www.YellowTennisBall.com. For more information, please call the tournament office at 561-330-6000.

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Bryans Two Times Lucky In Delray Final

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Bryans Two Times Lucky In Delray Final


img_0137By defending their title at the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Mike and Bob Bryan collected their 58th career doubles trophy.  The Bryans defeated Phillip Marx and Igor Zelenay 6-3,7-6.  In so doing, Mike and Bob surpass Peter Fleming and John McEnroe to become the second winningest doubles team.

Both Marx and Zelenay were making their debut in an ATP tour final and the Bryans took advantage of their opponents’ inexperience early on.  After an expeditious opening game by Mike, Bob stuck a forehand volley winner for three break chances.  When Marx dumped a volley into the net after a low return by Mike, the Bryans had the break.  With another quick game, the brothers widened their lead to 3-0.  On Zelenay’s serve, another volley mistake gave the Bryans a look at three opportunities for a double break lead.  However, by forcing a couple of errors from his opponents, Zelenay guarded serve.  Thereafter, each team comfortably held until the ninth game when Mike served for the set.  After arriving at two set points, the Bryans netted a forehand and with Marx producing a forehand down the line winner, they faced a deciding point.  Luckily, a superb serve by Mike resulted in a Zelenay return error leading to the Bryans bedding the first set.

Once Zelenay and Marx settled down after being broken in the initial set, they gave their adversaries quite a battle.  These two pushed the Bryans to 40-30 numerous times. Finally with Bob serving at 3-4, as a result of a double fault and a backhand error, Zelenay and Marx obtained 30-40.  However, with stellar serves, Bob helped to equalize the set at 4 all.  With neither party able to manufacture break points, the set went to a tiebreaker.  With Marx punching a mid-court forehand long, the Bryans had a mini-break lead for 1-0.  Then, with a low return, team Bryan caused Marx to volley up and built a 4-1 advantage.  Later, Marx double faulted to give the Bryans four set points.  On the Bryans’ second match point, Bob put away a backhand volley to seal the championship.

The Bryans were overjoyed to prevail.   They affirmed that they “love coming back to [Delray] and  [that] there’s always room for more trophies”.  With Davis Cup coming up in Serbia this week, Bob and Mike felt that Delray was a great way to prepare.  This victory “gives us momentum”.  They also tipped their hat to Marx and Zelenay because they put up a good fight; “they played really well. . .  we were fortunate today”.

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Rafter Captures Champions Title Over McEnroe

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Rafter Captures Champions Title Over McEnroe


img_9844The finals of the ATP Champions Tour were contested Tuesday night at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center between Australian Patrick Rafter and American tennis legend John McEnroe. The meeting between the two former majors winners was expected to be a display of serve and volley, both delivered. Rafter prevailed over McEnroe 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-1) in two highly competitive sets.

Although the ATP Champions Tour has been in existence since 1997, the four day event in Delray marked the Champions Tour’s inaugural stop on U.S. soil. McEnroe qualified for the finals by going undefeated in Group A (3-0) highlighted by wins over Mats Wilander and Andres Gomez. Despite losing to Ronald Agenor, in Group B, Rafter advanced by beating Aaron Krickstein and Pat Cash.

Rafter was favored in the final in light of his age. However, McEnroe held his own in the match. The difference was Rafter’s ability to raise his game level in the tiebreakers. McEnroe would later concede during the trophy ceremony that Rafter was “too good.” Also, McEnroe jokingly said that Rafter is “younger, faster, and better-looking than me.” The win places Rafter at the top of the rankings of The Champions Tour. The Champions tour moves next to Zurich on March 9.

Turning to the ATP Tour’s main draw, top seed Tommy Haas was upset on Monday night by Teimuraz Gabashvilli in straight sets. Despite dropping a set to Nicolas Lapentti, Evgeny Korolev, last year’s finalist, advanced. Mardy Fish, the 2009 champion, moved on when Christophe Rochus retired at 3 all in the third set. Second seed Ivo Karlovic ousted Philipp Petzschner while Kie Nishikori, 2008 champion, fell to third seed Benjamin Becker .

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Delray Beach Welcomes ITC

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Delray Beach Welcomes ITC


img_8728Once more, the Florida swing of the ATP initiates with the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.  Along with the 250 World tour event which takes place from February 22 thru 28; for the first time, the Champions Tour comes to Delray with play running concurrently from February 20 thru 23.

Heading the line up from the legends tour are multiple major winner John McEnroe, two time U.S Open champion Patrick Rafter, fellow Aussie and 1987 Wimbledon victor Pat Cash, holder of seven majors Mats Wilander, 1990 French Open winner Andres Gomez and Johan Kriek two time Australian Open titlist.

From the World tour, 2009 champion Mardy Fish returns seeking to become the first individual since Jason Stoltenberg in 1996-97 to defend.  Fish will face stiff competition from top seed Tommy Haas winner in 2006, second seed and serving giant Ivo Karlovic, two time finalist James Blake and two time champion Xavier Malisse. Wildcard youngster Kei Nishikori who stunned Blake in the 2008 final has again been given a wildcard entry.

On the doubles side, the top attraction are Mike and Bob Bryan who are on the hunt for their second straight title.

Come out to see today’s stars as well as those of yesteryears.  For more info on the tournament and to purchase tickets go to www.yellowtennisball.com or call (561) 330-6000.

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With ESPN & NBC Dollars Come First, Tennis Fans Last

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With ESPN & NBC Dollars Come First, Tennis Fans Last


img_2763One has to look no further than the coverage of the French Open men’s semifinal to understand the reason why the major networks are losing viewership. In their desire to capture revenues, these organizations have failed to keep in mind their audience.

At the odd hours that the French Open is transmitted, only an avid fan would care enough to watch. Therefore, as one such fan, I feel slighted when instead of viewing live action, I am presented with pre-recorded programs. Gone are the days when television had a monopoly on this sort of information. Nowadays, with up-to-the-minute data a click away on the internet, this medium is running the risk of becoming obsolete in the world of sport.

From the outset on May 25th , I followed the competition on the Tennis Channel. Early on in the tournament, ESPN (ABC’s sister station) picked up where that network left off, making it a seamless transition. Then on June 2, as the Tennis Channel terminated its programming, I expected ESPN to show the next match, Croatian Ivan Ljubicic versus Frenchman Gael Monfils. Instead, there was a replay of the calamity of Maria Sharapova vis-à-vis Dinara Safina, culminated with the annihilation of American Robby Ginepri by Chilean Fernando Gonzalez. Any fan with computer access was probably aware of the results of these completed matches.

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