Agassi to be inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame in July
Andre Agassi, a former world No. 1 and 8-time Grand Slam singles champion, will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I., on July 9, 2011. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the ATP World Tour Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. Agassi’s wife, Steffi, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Newport in 2004. The 40-year-old Las Vegas native held the No. 1 singles ranking for 101 weeks, and is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, as well as one of the premier athletes of his generation. Agassi achieved a career singles record of 870-274, winning 60 titles, including four at the Australian Open, two at the US Open, and one victory each at the French Open and Wimbledon. Within his 60 tournament wins, he captured 17 Masters 1000 events. In 1990, he won the season-ending ATP World Tour Championships. Agassi earned a Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics, by taking the Singles title in Atlanta. A member of two winning American Davis Cup teams in 1990 and 1992, Agassi achieved a career record of 30-6 in Davis Cup play for the United States. In 1994, he founded the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, which is devoted to helping at-risk youth in Las Vegas and its surrounding areas. Since the inception of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, $150 million dollars has been raised to benefit the mission of the Foundation, including $92 million from the Grand Slam for Children fundraising event. In 1997, he established the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club in Las Vegas, which supports 2,000 children throughout the year and boasts a world class junior tennis team and basketball program. In 2001, Agassi opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free public charter school in Las Vegas’ most at-risk neighborhood. The school utilizes advanced technology, smaller class sizes and extended school hours, among other tactics, to combat lowered academic expectations and to foster a sense of hope among this community’s most challenged children. In 2009 and 2010, the school graduated a 100% acceptance rate for higher education. “Andre is a true champion of the game, and we are delighted to honor him for his contributions and achievements with induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Christopher E. Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.
More than $1 million in USTA Serves grants awarded to 33 organizations
USTA Serves, the National Charitable Foundation of the United States Tennis Association, announced on Tuesday that it has awarded 33 year-end grants totaling $420,650. The number of program grants awarded in 2010 was 59, totaling $855,150. Combined with scholarship awards, USTA Serves distributed more than $1 million in 2010. The bi-annual granting process, a national initiative of USTA Serves, was developed to provide people with disabilities and disadvantaged, at-risk children in underserved communities the opportunity to learn to play tennis and improve their academic skills in a structured format, and also to help combat obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles. To date, USTA Serves has disbursed more than $10 million to a variety of programs that share those aims. At funded program sites, children between the ages of 5-18 learn about healthy nutrition and lifestyles, responsible citizenship, study skills, and computer literacy. The grant recipients are chosen by a Grant Proposal Review Committee comprised of Foundation Board Members and USTA National staff, with important input from USTA Sections. They are awarded to programs that successfully combine tennis and education and help children pursue their goals and highest dreams by leading healthier lives, succeeding in school and becoming healthier citizens. The current year-end grants include one award supporting the children of deployed military personnel who are at particular risk for emotional and behavioral difficulties, and four adaptive awards granted to organizations that teach people with disabilities the importance of physical activity and life skills. Some of the programs awarded grants included, Abundant Waters, Inc., of New York City, A’s & Aces of New Orleans, Azleway, Inc., of Tyler, Texas, CREATE Tennis Inc., of Washington D.C., Harper for Kids of San Francisco, New York Junior Tennis League, International Rescue Committee Inc., of San Diego, and Zina Garrison All Court Tennis Academy of Houston.
Television ratings down during first week of Australian Open for second consecutive year
For the second consecutive year, the television ratings for Australia’s Channel Seven for the first week of the Australian Open in Melbourne were down. Viewership dropped by 14 to 17 percent from 2010, which was 23 to 29 percent lower than the 2009 tournament. The drop, which wasn’t helped by early round exits by Lleyton Hewitt and Samantha Stosur, was contributed to one-day cricket matches, Oprah’s Australian television special that aired last week and increased competition from digital channels. However, Channel Seven did have better ratings than competitor Channel Nine on five out of seven nights of primetime tennis.
Johan Kriek Tennis Academy moves to Virginia from Florida
Two-time Australian Open singles champion Johan Kriek has moved his tennis academy in Sarasota, Fla. to the Sun Tennis Center in Roanoke, Va. The reason for the relocation to Roanoke is because Kriek’s wife, Daga Mrozek Kriek, played collegiate tennis in the area at Virginia Tech, and his brother is a teaching professional at racquet club close by in Mount Airy, N.C. Students at the Johan Kriek Tennis Academy attend five days a week for an hour and a half a day. Only 16 players are enrolled in the academy, including eight in the group for students ages 7-12 and eight for the older group for ages 13-18. To be a student in the academy you must fork out $1,500 per week.
Serena to appear in Super Bowl ad for Mercedes-Benz
Bloomberg is reporting that Serena Williams will be making a special appearance in a Super Bowl commercial for Mercedes-Benz.
Gasquet hires Grosjean as part-time coach
Richard Gasquet, who is currently ranked No. 33, has hired former French tennis star Sebastien Grosjean as his part-time coach. Grosjean, who currently resides in Boca Raton, Fla., will work with Gasquet for a few weeks a year. Gasquet’s current coach, Eric Deblicker, will continue to coach the young Frenchman full-time.
Safina dumps Etlis as coach
Former world No. 1 Dinara Safina, who lost 6-0, 6-0 to Kim Clijsters in the opening round at the Australian Open, has dropped Gaston Etlis of Argentina has her coach. Safina and Etlis began working together in May of last year. Safina is currently ranked No. 75 in the world.
U.S. Fed Cup team announced for February tie against Belgium
U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced on Tuesday that Vania King will join Melanie Oudin, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Liezel Huber on the U.S. Fed Cup team that will travel to Antwerp to take on Belgium from February 5-6 at the Antwerp Sports Palace. Vania King took the roster spot that was expected to be filled by Venus Williams. Williams told Fernandez that she couldn’t play next month due to a hip injury that she sustained during the Australian Open.
ATP Delray Beach International Tennis Championships entry list announced
Former champions Xavier Malisse, Kei Nishikori and Ricardo Mello, as well as former finalists James Blake and Ivo Karlovic have signed up to participate in the 19th annual ATP World Tour Delray Beach International Championships (ITC) at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla., from February 21-27. Other recent players to commit to the event include former world No. 12 Radek Stepanek and Janko Tipsarevic, a 2010 Davis Cup hero for Serbia. Former US Open Champions Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro, as well as world No. 17 Mardy Fish and world No. 20 John Isner are also slated to participate to help give the ITC its best draw in the history of the event. “We can’t wait to see how this one plays out,” said Mark Baron, Tournament Director, who has added a 2011 Porsche 911 Carrera to the $500,000 pool of tournament 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.” To purchase tickets visit the tournament’s official website at: www.yellowtennisball.com or call (561)330-6000.
Volunteers needed for 2011 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami
Volunteers are needed at the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, one of the most prestigious professional tennis tournaments in the world, for a variety of positions including court ushers, ticket checkers, guest safety, and transportation. The 2011 Sony Ericsson Open, which will take place at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park, will be played from March 21-April 3. Each individual is asked to work a minimum of 45 hours, usually nine five-hour shifts, and can be scheduled around their own work commitments. Volunteers receive one of the best benefit packages in sports which will include a FILA uniform, 10 complimentary tickets for the tournament, sponsor gifts, parking, and meals during their shifts. To get involved, call the volunteer office at (305) 446-2200 or visit the official tournament website at: www.sonyericssonopen.com or email a volunteer representative at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WTA Mercury Insurance Open honored by San Diego District Tennis Association
The WTA Tour Mercury Insurance Open was recently honored by the San Diego District Tennis Association as the Tournament of the Year within the Southern California district. The award was presented by SDDTA President Geoff Griffin during the District’s 2011 Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet, which took place last Friday at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. “We are honored to be named Tournament of the Year by our local district tennis association,” said Raquel Giscafre, Tournament Director of the Mercury Insurance Open Tournament Director, who accepted the award on behalf of the tournament. “The Mercury Insurance Open thanks the SDDTA for not only recognizing our event with this award, but for all of their work in promoting tennis in San Diego.” This year’s Mercury Insurance Open will be played from July 30-August 7 at the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.
Bartoli out for six weeks due to calf tear
World No. 17 Marion Bartoli will be sidelined for six weeks due to a calf tear she sustained during her opening round loss at the Australian Open to Vesna Manasieva. “It felt like an explosion inside my muscle when I pushed off at one point,” said Bartoli. “After that, it was very complicated because I couldn’t use my right leg.” Bartoli ended up having to stay in Melbourne a few extra days because her calf was too swollen to fly.