By Justin Cohen
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Extends Partnership with USTA
The USTA and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., announced on Tuesday an extension of their agreement that will keep Westin Hotels and the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program as official US Open sponsors through 2014. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Westin Hotels and SPG first came on board as US Open sponsors in 2010. In addition to sponsoring the tournament as official hotel, the Westin brand will remain a non-exclusive presenting sponsor of US Open Live on USOpen.org, the official website of the US Open. In 2011, more than 3.1 million hours of live streaming were viewed over the course of the Open. Westin and the SPG sponsorship activation will feature a number of enhancements to the fan experience, including the return of the popular free pedicab rides on the boardwalk from the No. 7 subway train to the East Gate entrance of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, site of the US Open. SPG members will have an opportunity to bid on a number of unique experiences including ‘behind-the-scenes’ tours, corporate tennis clinics with a celebrity tennis pro and luxury suite packages at: http://www.spg.com/moments. For the first time, the SPG onsite activation in their promotional booth will feature digital displays, allowing fans to immerse themselves in destinations around the globe. “Through our partnership with the USTA, we have the ability to create once in a lifetime experiences, hospitality and surprise and delight opportunities for our SPG Members at the US Open – the highest attended annual sporting event in the world,” said Mark Vondrasek, Senior Vice President, Distribution, Loyalty & Partnership Marketing. “Our enhanced presence at the US Open illustrates how SPG strives to continue to deliver unique moments for our members tapping into their passion for sports.” “Extending our US Open agreement with Westin Hotels and the Starwood Preferred Guest program is indicative of the USTA’s strong track record of building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our partners,” said Lew Sherr, Chief Revenue Officer, USTA. “Through our aligned brands, we look forward to continue working with Starwood on enhancing the experience provided to our fans.” The 2012 US Open will be held Monday, August 27 through Sunday, September 9. Last year’s US Open drew more than 650,000 fans, including a record attendance of more than 186,000 during Labor Day Weekend.
Oriflame’s WTA Tour Partnership Goes Global
According to a press release, Oriflame, one of Europe’s leading beauty brands, recently announced that its successful partnership with the WTA Tour is now to be global. The sponsorship, which previously covered Europe, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Middle East and Africa is now expanded to include the Americas and Asia-Pacific. Oriflame has been the official cosmetics partner of the WTA since 2011 and the new agreement extends the partnership through to the end of 2014. Like Oriflame, the WTA performs on a multi-cultural stage, with players coming from 96 nations. Oriflame will again sponsor the season ending WTA Championships in Istanbul, with prominent on court and tournament branding; including traditional signage as well as a significant presence in the digital space. In order to reinforce Oriflame’s partnership, there will be significant WTA branding used throughout Oriflame’s catalogues and social media channels. Oriflame will also have a strong presence via WTA’s digital assets, including multi-language websites and social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Tennis is the leading global professional sport for women and Oriflame’s approximately 3.6 million consultants have expressed a strong affiliation with the WTA through this partnership. Recent research shows that the level of awareness, perceived fit and pride amongst Oriflame consultants around the partnership is very strong. Oriflame’s sponsorship has also introduced the brand to potential new consumers, with almost 400,000 global fans joining the WTA Oriflame Facebook fan page to date. Michael Cervell, Senior VP Global Brand & Communications and Strategic Business Development, Oriflame, said: “We at Oriflame are excited to continue our successful partnership with the WTA, an organization which, like us, focuses on providing women with an opportunity to be successful, beautiful and confident, along with a platform to pursue their dreams.”
Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Lineup Announced
On Tuesday, the USTA announced the lineup for 17th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess, which includes special performances by pop-vocal sensation The Wanted, chart-topping singer Carly Rae Jepsen, special guest performer Owl City and from Nickelodeon’s How to Rock, Cymphonique Miller and Max Schneider. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, August 25 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. Touring professional expected to participate in on the court tennis activities include defending US Open Champion Novak Djokovic, top-ranked American John Isner, three-time US Open Champion Kim Clijsters and Top 15 player Mardy Fish of Los Angeles. Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day Presented by Hess is hosted by AAKD alumnus Jordin Sparks and TV personality Quddu and will feature interactive games, musical entertainment and tennis activities for children and adults. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess will kick off the 2012 US Open, which runs from August 27 – September 9. Stadium show tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster (866) OPEN-TIX, usopen.org and at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office. American Express is the official card of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. General admission promenade tickets cost $10 and loge tickets are $20. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will be broadcast nationally by CBS on Sunday, August 26, from 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (EST). Kids 12-and-under with stadium show tickets will receive a free Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day hat from the USTA and Hess on a first-come, first-served basis. “We are thrilled to kick off the 2012 US Open with the 17th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess featuring the most popular names in sports and entertainment today,” said Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. “The event holds a long-standing history of providing a day of fun-filled family activities as attendees celebrate the life of Arthur Ashe and his mission to empower children of all ages through tennis.”
Western & Southern Open, Lindner Family Tennis Center Receive Awards
According to the Western & Southern Open official website, the prestigious tournament held in mid-August will be receiving two awards from the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. The Lindner Family Tennis Center, home of the Western and Southern Open, will be receiving the National Sport Safety and Security Facility of Merit Award. The United States Tennis Association nominated the Lindner Family Tennis Center because it has performed above and beyond normal operations, and has demonstrated an innovative approach to enhancing safety and security. In addition, Dick Clark, Director of Facilities for the Western & Southern Open, will be receiving the National Sport Safety and Security Professional of the Year Award. Clark is being honored for demonstrating outstanding leadership in addressing safety and security issues. “The safety of our fans, players and volunteers is very important at a tournament of this size,” said Western & Southern Open Tournament Director and COO, Vince Cicero. “Dick is a leader in his field and his team does an outstanding job every year. On behalf of everyone at the Western & Southern Open I congratulate Dick and the Lindner Family Tennis Center for receiving this award.” The Lindner Family Tennis Center is located in Mason, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, and features 16 courts, with a Center Court seating capacity of 11,400. Originally built in 1979, is currently completing a three year phase expansion that included a new player center, six new courts, and a new food court opening in 2012. This is the first year the USTA has nominated any facility for the award. Past winners of the award include Ohio Stadium, Joe Louis Arena, New Meadowland Stadium and Daytona International Speedway. Among the other recipients of the award in 2012 is EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The awards ceremony will take place on August 1 during the 2012 National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.
TennisLadders.net Finding Much Success in the World of Competitive Amateur Tennis
Tennis players of all ages and levels now have a free online tool, TennisLadders.net, to connect with other players in their area and play more tennis! Tennis enthusiast and technology professional Paul Ferguson launched the service in 2011 because he loves to play the game of tennis. “I wanted a place where I could record my wins, my losses and find competitive matches while expanding my tennis network,” Ferguson said. “With my busy schedule, it’s hard to find players at my own level and TennisLadders.net is a great tool to meet new competition and play more tennis.” Here is how it works: You challenge someone to match, then the winner gets 20 points, or a point for every game won if they lose. If you beat a higher-ranked player, you get his or her number of points plus the 20 you receive for winning – allowing you to leap-frog your foe in the rankings. More than 45 players joined the Santa Monica ladder since Ferguson launched the service last year. Ferguson, who holds an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University in Malibu, recently set up a corporate ladder for Gannett-USA Today publishing at the Marion Indoor Tennis Club near Boston. According to Ferguson, Gannett-USA Today has six different ladders based on age and gender. As the social tennis momentum accelerates, Ferguson continues to improve the experience. The first TennisLadders.net tournament is already under way and plans are in the works to create local leagues with weekly match-ups and prizes for top performers and frequent participants. Eventually, TennisLadders.net will be offered in other languages and countries. To start a ladder in your community, head to TennisLadders.net and register today.
Kei Nishikori Endorses Tag Heuer Watches
World No. 19 Kei Nishikori of Japan, who reached the quarterfinals at this year’s Australian Open before falling to Andy Murray, currently endorses Tag Heuer watches. His new campaign was captured in these two pictures posted on his Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151952950620271&set=a.337025190270.345795.331199495270&type=1&relevant_count=1 and http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151952950420271&set=a.337025190270.345795.331199495270&type=1&relevant_count=1. Nishikori, who trains at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, can be seen wearing his Tag Heuer watch throughout the summer at tournaments such as the London Olympics, Rogers Cup in Toronto, Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, before competing in the final Grand Slam of the year at the US Open in New York.
Venus Williams Awarded Main Draw Wild Card for Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati
Venus Williams, a former World No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, has accepted a main draw wild card at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, which will be played from August 11-19. Williams joins sister Serena in the deep field as well as 37 of 39 players ranked in the Top 40. World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka is the only notable player missing from this year’s field. Last year, Williams was expected to compete in Cincinnati, but withdrew due to illness before the start of the tournament. The remaining main draw wild cards will before announced in the upcoming weeks.
James Blake Accepts Winston-Salem Open Main Draw Wild Card
James Blake, a former World No. 4 and Harvard standout, has been granted a main draw wild card for the Winston-Salem Open, which will be played at Wake Forest University from August 18-25. Throughout his memorable career, Blake has won 10 singles and six doubles titles. He is currently ranked No. 110 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. Blake has yet to win an ATP-level main draw match in 2012, falling in the first round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Players expected to join Blake in the main draw include Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, John Isner, Andy Roddick, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Feliciano Lopez, Jurgen Melzer, Marcos Baghdatis, Jarkko Nieminen, Robin Haase and Donald Young.
Jack Sock Hires Swede Joakim Nystrom as New Coach
Former Top 10 player Joakim Nystrom of Sweden has been hired to coach American teenager Jack Sock, according to TENNIS.com. The Swede, who previously coached Thomas Enqvist and Jurgen Melzer, will begin coaching the Nebraska native next week at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles. The 2011 US Open Mixed Doubles Champion is currently ranked No. 326.
Former ATP Player Jeff Salzenstein will show you how to serve like World No. 1 Roger Federer
Roger Federer used his blistering and effective serve to win his seventh Wimbledon title this month. Jeff Salzenstein, the former top 100 ATP Tour singles and doubles player and noted tennis instructor, is committed to teaching YOU how to hit a Federer-like serve. The former two-time All-American from Stanford University has launched a free four-part video series on how to add speed, spin and consistency to your serve, available for instant access by clicking here http://m1e.net/c?96018505-8/9I26/eAAetI%407684483-XIdAG.t3LH.TI. “Roger Federer has an almost perfect serve combining all the correct elements to have a great delivery,” said Salzenstein. “The serve secrets featured in my free video series helped me break the top 100 on the ATP Tour for the first time at the age of 30 and helped me hit a 136 mile per hour serve at the BNP Paribas Open at age 32. It has also helped me transform and improve the serves of hundreds of players over the last few years.” Salzenstein’s first video lesson teaches players how to focus on the start of the serve including the proper Federer stance, to get the serve moving in the right direction. In the second video lesson, Salzenstein reveals one of his most powerful drills called the “dirty diaper” which will help you discover the proper swing to generate more topspin and kick on your serves. The third serve lesson completely breaks down “the trophy position” that all good servers need to have to have a dominating serve, while the fourth lesson features more valuable information on Salzenstein’s serve secrets along with a special bonus announcement. A USTA-certified High Performance tennis coach and a certified nutritional therapy practitioner, Salzenstein is regarded as one of the best coaches in the world. Jeff has always been an intense student of the game and coaches players of all levels in his hometown of Denver, Colorado. He played in the main draw of all four Grand Slam tournaments, extending world No. 2 Michael Chang to 6-4 in the fourth-set in a wildly entertaining second-round night match at the US Open in 1997. His professional career extended from 1996 until 2007, earning a top 100 ranking that included practicing with and playing matches against the likes of Federer, Chang, Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick, Patrick Rafter, James Blake, Mardy Fish, David Nalbandian, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga among many others. Salzenstein was known for his unwavering determination, perseverance and intelligence in maximizing his abilities and talents as a player and now brings his passion for tennis into the world of coaching. After enjoying a successful USTA national junior tennis career where he finished 1992 ranked No. 2 in the boys’ 18 singles rankings, he played No. 1 singles for Stanford University and helped his team to a pair of NCAA team titles in 1995 and 1996. He also enjoyed tremendous success on the USTA Pro Circuit, winning numerous singles and doubles titles on the at the Challenger level. He sat out most of the 1998 and 1999 seasons with knee, back and ankle injuries, but became the first American to break into the top 100 of the ATP Tour rankings after the age of 30 in 2004.His best ATP Tour result came in reaching the semifinals of Delray Beach, Fla., in 2004, beating Greg Rusedski en route. Since leaving the pro circuit, Salzenstein founded JRS Sports, LLC, an organization focused on helping tennis players all over the world improve their tennis through online tennis instruction in the areas of technique, footwork, nutrition, injury prevention, motivation, and athletic development. His www.JeffSalzensteinTennis.com website has become a vibrant online tennis instructional portal that is setting a new standard in online tennis instruction. Salzenstein has 6,000 free subscribers to his online video tutorial website. He has over 120 instructional tennis lessons on YouTube with almost 1.5 million views in the last 18 months alone. Salzenstein also has a successful membership site called “The Total Tennis Training Inner Circle” that has over 400 members from more than 25 countries. Salzenstein launched his first online tennis course, “The Tennis Forehand Solution,” in 2011 which has gained an impressive following around the world with more than 1,000 subscribers.