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News Notes … May 19, 2015

Grand Re-opening of the                                International Tennis Hall of Fame

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May 19, 2015 — After years of planning and a $3 million renovation, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is set to cut the ribbons and show off its new facility in Newport, Rhode Island, tomorrow. The museum collection, ‘has been completely reinterpreted, the galleries have been redesigned, and more than 1,900 tennis artifacts are displayed,’ Anne Marie McLaughlin of the Hall of Fame reported. 

One of the most highly anticipated exhibitions will be The Roger Federer Experience, a hologram of the 17-time Grand Slam champion going through his memorable strokes. 

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‘Yesterday, I took the time to walk through the almost-complete museum and was blown away,” Marguerite Marano, Director of Membership & Annual Giving, said. “I truly looks like an entirely new space. The stories, told through the eyes of our celebrated Hall of Famers, quite literally jump right off the walls and convince you to stay for hours.’

Also being introduce is the International Hall of Fame’s redesigned logo. It is more streamlined, to match the changing course and fast feel of this tennis era. 

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 The museum renovation was funded through the Hall of Fame’s capital campaign, which was the first of its type in fourteen years. In addition to the museum’s overhauling, the site will also build a new indoor tennis courts, new offices and retail space, new grandstands for Bill Talbert Center Court, plus other improvements around the property in downtown Newport. These improvements will roll out over the course of 2015-2016.

Li Na’s Story to Become Movie

May 19, 2015 — Peter Chan said earlier this month that he will produce and direct a documentary on the life of recently-retired Chinese tennis star, Li Na. The production will be based on her autobiography, Li Na: My Life, the Wall Street Journal wrote.

“‘I am very humbled by the fact that a director of Peter Chan’s talent is going to direct it,’” Li Na said, according to the same article. “Some of the best movies in China that have come out in the last couple years have been made by Peter.” Li will be a consultant for the film.

Li Na retired from tennis last year, at the age of 32, due to recurring knee problems. She returned to the Australian Open in January, announcing she and her husband, Jiang Shah, were expecting their first child. 

The documentary intends to show “how different she is, not just in the sports world but in many parts of Chinese culture,” Mr. Chan said. No person has been cast for her role. 

Li is famous for being the first person from Asia to win a Major tennis championship. She won the French Open in 2011 and the Australian Open in 2014. 

In addition to the movie, Li will open a tennis academy in China. “‘We want to create almost a Li Na-land,’” Max Eisenbud, Li’s agent from IMG, said. “There won’t be another academy like it in that part of the world.”

JTCC Hosts U. S. Open National Playoffs for U.S.T.A. Mid-Atlantic Sectional Qualifying Tournament

May 19, 2015 — The Junior Championships Tennis Center (JTCC) announced earlier this week that it would host the 2015 U. S. Open National Playoffs for the U.S.T.A. Mid-Atlantic Sectional Qualifying Tournament from May 30 through June 2 at its facility located in College Park, Md. 

"Most tennis players dream about playing in a Grand Slam tournament and this event make dreams a possible reality,” Lindsey Keeler, Director of Adult Tennis at the JTCC, said in a press release. "Players look forward to the chance to make their way to the U.S. Open. We get players of all ages and ability levels who enter with the hope to compete for the ultimate title.

The Qualifying Tournament includes competition in men’s and women’s singles plus men’s and women’s doubles, two new categories. All players 14 years and older can register, and play to win a wild card berth in the U. S. Open Qualification Tournament. Players that have entered in the past include some that were formerly ranked in the top 50 during their careers, current and former college players, plus recreational players. 

"The U.S. Open National Playoffs are all about connecting people to the U.S. Open," Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO and President, said. "This year, by adding men's and women's doubles, the National Playoffs are giving competitors the opportunity to earn their way into the U.S. Open in every possible way. We look forward to another year of great tennis and watching top juniors, collegians, aspiring pros, and weekend warriors compete for the chance to play on tennis' grandest stage." 

Over 1,200 players participated in these playoffs in 2014, which was the largest increase in player entries since the program began five years ago.

For more information, please click on this link: www.USOpen.org/NationalPlayoffs

Tennis Canada Announces New Brand                       and National Campaign

March 2, 2015 — Tennis Canada announced that it has launched an, 'organizational re-brand that includes a new logo, web site — Tennis Canada — national campaign and wider-ranging content,’ in a press release today. 

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Tennis Canada, the national organizing body for the sport, will celebrate its 125th anniversary this year. The rebranding hopes to temper how tennis is viewed, giving it ‘a much more human take’ on the sport.

“Tennis in Canada is in such a positive place right now and the ceiling for growth is immensely high,” said Kelly Murumets, president and CEO, Tennis Canada. “With the sport ever-evolving across the nation, we felt the time was right to significantly update our identity and introduce a stronger Tennis Canada to the world. The future is bright and we want to ensure we are at our best so we can do our part in helping usher tennis to new heights.”

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ontario, is currently ranked No. 6 on the ATP Tour. Eugenie Bouchard of Montreal, Quebec, is currently ranked No. 7 on the WTA Tour. 

Tennis Canada identifies several fundamental values and principles that are associated ‘with how tennis is played in Canada: grace, honor, passion, discipline, multigenerational, respect, perseverance, and family, among others.” These ideals were identified in the association’s recent campaign, “Tennis Is.” 

Tennis Canada is a non-profit national sport association founded in 1890. It owns and operates the WTA Premier Mandatory and ATP Masters 1000 tournament, Rogers Cup, plus 15 other professional tournaments in Canada. It is a member of the International Tennis Federation, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and the International Wheelchair Tennis Association. 


Serena Williams To Return To Indian Wells

By Jane Voigt

February 5, 2015 — Serena Williams won her first title in Indian Wells, Calif., 14 years ago. She hasn’t been back since, a mixture of joy and sorrow steering the 19-major winner away from this desert tournament. 

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Serena Williams displays her 2015 Womens Singles Champion trophy at Carlton Gardens, after winning the Australian Open on February 1, 2015. Photo credit Gillian Elliott tennisclix.com

Now it seems the aversion has come to a halt. 

On Wednesday, she announced plans to play what now is called the BNP Paribas Open, a combined men’s and women’s event that has risen in stature since Oracle owner, Larry Ellison, bought the entire tournament in 2010. 

Williams’s crafted publicity circled the globe with speed and precision. An online video showed a relaxed, matured and willing champion explaining her perspective on past and present decisions.

“Indian Wells holds a special place in my heart,” she said in the video. “It’s where I won my first professional match, but it’s also where I lost a piece of myself.”

Williams was referring to the 2010 incidents, which lead her and her family to erase the event from future playing schedules. Minutes before the semifinal between Serena and her elder sister, Venus, their father and coach Richard Williams pulled Venus out of the match due to an injury. Many booed, having expected a unique type of tennis entertainment between the rising sister stars. Angry comments of match fixing spearheaded the dissonance. 

"The false allegations that our matches were fixed hurt, cut and ripped into us deeply,” she said, Time magazine reported. 

The sense of not being welcomed to a tournament that held such a high point for the family, drove the dagger deeper setting off feelings of loneliness and fear, Williams expressed in her Time article. 

Catrina Adams, the first Afro-American president of the U.S.T.A., sees the move as part of a maturing process for Serena. “Serena’s decision to return is another sign of her maturity in understanding that although many people show signs of ignorance, not all are,” Adams said, The New York Times reported. 

Venus Williams has not announced her intentions to play.

The BNP Paribas Open runs March 9 - 22 at Indian Wells Garden, Calif. The event has become a showcase for tennis, many naming it the ‘Fifth Grand Slam.’ All of its show courts use Hawkeye technology to track balls; and, Court 2 has a mezzanine of tony restaurants that circle the stadium, allowing patrons to enjoy gourmet meals as they watch the world’s best tennis players vie for millions in prize money. 


Angelique Kerber, world No. 9, and Ekaterina Makarova, World No. 10, Will Play Family Circle Cup in April

January 13, 2015, DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. – Angelique Kerber, World No. 9, and Ekaterina Makarova, Word No. 10, have joined current champion Andrea Petkovic in the 2015 Family Circle Cup player field. The Family Circle Cup takes place April 4 – 12 in Charleston, S.C.

“We are excited to bring these powerful and talented players to Charleston to join our 43rd tournament player field,” said Eleanor Adams, Family Circle Cup Tournament Manager.  “Kerber and Makarova are fierce competitors to be reckoned with, and we are happy our fans will have the opportunity to watch them play live in Charleston.” 

The 2014 season marks the third year in a row that Kerber has finished with a year-end ranking within the top 10. The left-handed, German tennis player reached the finals in four WTA tournaments this year, and made at least the third-round in all four Grand Slams.

The 2015 Family Circle Cup will welcome Kerber’s second appearance in Charleston, her first in five years. In 2010, she made the third-round of the tournament before losing to Daniela Hantuchova in three sets.

“I’m very much looking forward to my return to Charleston for the Family Circle Cup this spring,” said Kerber. “Charleston is a beautiful city with great tennis fans.” 

Russia’s Makarova is currently the only WTA player in both the singles and doubles top 10.

She broke into the WTA singles top 10 for the first time in her career in January 2015, stemming from a standout 2014 season that included a singles quarterfinals appearance at Wimbledon, and her first Grand Slam singles semifinal at the US Open. Makarova also took home a Grand Slam doubles win at the US Open, and appeared in the doubles final at both the Australian Open and in Miami.

The 2015 Family Circle Cup will be Makarova’s first time competing in the Charleston tennis tournament.

“It’s a great feeling to be ranked within the top 10 for my first time,” said Makarova. “I’m looking forward to building on my momentum from the 2014 season and playing in Charleston.”

Tickets to the 2015 Family Circle Cup are on sale at www.FamilyCircleCup.com or by calling the box office at (800) 677-2293.  Patrons can purchase single session tickets, or choose from a variety of ticket and travel packages. 

About the Family Circle Cup

The Family Circle Cup is the largest women’s only tennis tournament in the world, and Family Circle is the longest running title sponsor of a sporting event in the United States, as well as in all of professional tennis, worldwide. The Family Circle Cup receives four days of live broadcast domestically on ESPN2, and is viewed internationally in more than 143 countries, featuring more than 200 hours of live and delayed global broadcast time, reaching 9+ million viewers worldwide.

For more information on the Family Circle Cup, call (800) 677-2293, email info@familycirclecup.com, visit www.FamilyCircleCup.com, Facebook (Family Circle Cup), Twitter (@FamilyCircleCup) or Instagram (@FamilyCircleCup). 

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013