Air Serbia Names Plane After Novak Djokovic
It’s a bird – it’s a plane – it’s Novak Djokovic’s name on his home country’s plane.
The name of Serbia’s tennis superman is imprinted near the front of Air Serbia’s Airbus A319, which makes its debut flight on Saturday to Abu Dhabi according to Belgrade, Serbia’s AP. In addition to Djokovic, names of 13 other influential Serbians are appearing on respective Air Serbia aircrafts.
Serbian media have quoted six-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic as happily supporting Air Serbia and the company having his name grace one of its planes.
This plane features a double-headed eagle logo in Serbia’s national, red, white and blue colors.
Banned Cilic Smashes Opening Paris Masters Competition
Croatia’s Marin Cilic, once ranked top 10 on the ATP tour in 2010, returned to competitive tennis on Monday after he was banned for four months on alleged doping violations.
Cilic, 25, and ranked 47 globally, beat the Netherlands’ Igor Sijsling in three sets at the Paris Masters event and felt particularly great about his win. The Croatian said he felt like a kid playing tennis for the first time and amazing to be back on court.
At the Munich Open in May, Cilic tested positive for the stimulant nikethamide and was consequently banned from professional tennis for nine months. Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) reduced his ban to four months last Friday, allowing Cilic to partake in the tournament.
Agassi, Blake and Courier Discuss News PowerShares Series
US Davis Cup pastime members Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and James Blake discussed with New Chapter Media’s Managing Partner Randy Walker 2014’s PowerShares tennis circuit in a media conference call on Thursday.
PowerShares enables past champions to continue playing and entertaining devoted fans. The tennis circuit stars legendary tennis players who are more than 30 years old. Agassi, Courier and Blake collectively expressed excitement regarding their participation. Roland Garros and Australian Open champion Jim Courier is participating in the circuit’s debut stop in February in a city that brings back fond Davis Cup memories.
“It’s going to be great to be going back to a city like Kansas City that I haven’t played in since ’91, since Andre saved my bacon when I lost the fourth singles match,” said Courier, who played Davis Cup in 1991 when the United States beat Germany. “It’s going to be a good circuit.”
Another circuit stop is Portland, OR, where Andre Agassi is especially excited to play in due to cancer research sponsors for that particular event.
“That factors into it to some degree,” said Agassi, whose mother and sister are cancer survivors. “Personally I’ve grown really attached to Portland; the tour has been designed to facilitate this opportunity for us and for tennis fans in a way that allows it to be successful, enjoyable and achievable.”
The 2003 US Open Champion and new 30-year-old Andy Roddick, who missed out on this conference call, is also participating in PowerShares for the first time in 2014. Courier and Agassi are looking forward to having newcomers Roddick and Blake join their circuit even though competition is fiercer than before.
LTA Extending Babolat Contract
Governing UK tennis body Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) announced this week that it is extending its partnership with tennis equipment brand Babolat for another four years.
“Babolat [is] leading the way in innovation in the tennis marketplace and we’re delighted that they have again chosen to partner with the LTA to further support their continued growth and expansion across the UK,” said LTA Commercial Director Lawrence Robertson. “We look forward to working closely with them as we both strive to get more people playing our great sport more often.”
A LTA partner since 2009, Babolat is LTA’s official equipment supplier and will continually provide the organization with technical, product and stringing support while serving as the official stringer at three LTA-run events: the Aegon Championships, Aegon Classic and Aegon International. Under their new contract, Babolat is providing product and miscellaneous support at the LTA’s Roehampton National Tennis Center.
Babolat’s existing sponsorship portfolio includes deals with the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) and top world tennis players including Rafael Nadal, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Na Li and Agnieszka Radwańska.
Serena Williams Conquers WTA Tour, Prize Money
After crushing China’s Li Na 6-0 in the third set of Istanbul’s WTA Championship finals last weekend, Serena Williams won more WTA tournaments and prize money in one season than any other female tennis player ever. But rather than focusing on this fiscal accomplishment post-match, Williams talked about surviving her three-set battle to even her surprise.
“I don’t know how I got through that one,” Williams said after beating Li to win her second consecutive and fourth overall WTA Championships. “I really didn’t expect to get through this match. It’s really awesome. It’s such a special moment.”
World No. 1 Williams, who claimed the 2013 Roland Garros, 2013 US Open and Emirates US Open series, won $12.3 Million in prize money and 13 tournaments this season, five more than her previous best of eight titles in 2002. The Michigan native has won $58.3 Million in prize money throughout her career, more than any female athlete has.
Liz Kobak won the 2013 USTA National Women’s Open Singles Grass Court Championship. She is a 2010 Columbia University graduate and Northwestern University journalism master’s recipient. She is a former WTA ranked pro and #1 ranked United States junior tennis player who rates her 6-4, 6-1 win on Italian clay over Sara Errani as her best victory.