General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Tennis Glory

I was really moved reading this great article by David Waldstein on the struggles of life for tennis pros trying to make it in the lower tiers of professional tennis.

Thanks to Sharon Fichman (@Sharon_fichman) for retweeting it.

Knowing that such hardships and disparities exist in a sport known for its nobler and more luxurious and genteel traditions is heartbreaking. After reading that I wish every girl and boy with a dream of playing professional tennis could see their dream of making it to the top come true.

General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

“Lookback” – 2013 Port St. Lucie Tesoro Challenger Women’s Open

My photo montage of highlights from the 2013 USTA Pro Circuit tournament at Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Players featured: Alexis King, Gabriella Castaneda, Misa Eguchi, Kristy Frilling, Ulrikke Eikeri, Olivia Thaler, Ajla Tomljanovic, Maria-Fernanda Alvarez-Teran, Catalina Castano, Heidi El Tabakh, Jovana Jaksic, Viktoriya Tomova, Tadeja Majeric, Shuai Zhang

General Buzz, Miscellany, Tournament Match Reports

Kiick Wins Opener in Sumter

A week after making her return to tennis in Bethany Beach, Delaware after being sidelined for nearly two years due to a multitude of injuries, illnesses and operations, American Allie Kiick is safely into the second round of the USTA Pro Circuit Palmetto Pro Open in Sumter, South Carolina. Kiick defeated Ellen Perez 7-6 6-4 in Tuesday’s first round, setting up a second round clash with either Katherine Sebov of Canada, the tournament’s number 2 seed, or American Sophie Chang. Sebov and Chang will play Wednesday, with the second round to be played on Thursday.

Good luck to Kiick, as she continues her journey back to the top!

General Buzz, Miscellany, Uncategorized

Welcome Back, Allie!

Just saw that Ft. Lauderdale, Florida’s Allie Kiick is on the entry list for the second of two consecutive ITF clay court tournaments to be held in Naples, Florida, the week of May 15-21, 2017. Kiick, who has had multiple surgeries on both knees, has been out of action for almost two years.

Great to see her making this long-awaited return. The journey back won’t be easy, but Kiick is a hard worker, and a gamer, who has been through and dealt with far more than most her age, so I have a feeling she’ll be prepared.

Pulling for you, Allie!

General Buzz, Miscellany, Tournament Match Reports

Entry List for Twelfth Annual Revolution Technologies Pro Tennis Classic Released

The preliminary entry list for the 2017 $80,000 Revolution Technologies Pro Tennis Classic, scheduled for April 9-16, at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, has been released, and Kristina Kucova of Slovakia, World Number 82, is tentatively the tournament’s top ranked entrant.

The Har-Tru clay court tournament kicks off the 2017 USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge, which will once again reward the American player who accumulates the most points from the best two of four results over a series of four consecutive weeks of clay court tournaments played in Indian Harbour Beach, Dothan, Alabama, Charlottesville, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina, with a spot in the main draw of the French Open.

The tournament always fields a highly competitive and talented entry, and with a purse increase to $80,000 for this year’s tournament, making the Revolution Technologies Pro Tennis Classic the richest prize of the Pro Circuit’s clay court season, and a schedule change so the event takes place three weeks earlier than usual, the tournament was rewarded with what so far appears to be the deepest field in the tournament’s history. If you’re in the area during tournament week, be sure to some out and support these hard working ladies on the Pro Circuit!

With normal withdrawals still to come, the entry list for Indian Harbour Bearch is still subject to change. As of March 27, 2017, the Main Draw entrant list, including player ranking, pending withdrawals, is as follows:

1 Kristina KUCOVA (SVK) 82
2 Madison BRENGLE (USA) 86
3 Marina ERAKOVIC (NZL) 107
4 Taylor TOWNSEND (USA) 111
5 Nicole GIBBS (USA) 119
6 Ana BOGDAN (ROU) 124
7 Ons JABEUR (TUN) 128
8 Grace MIN (USA) 129
9 Anhelina KALININA (UKR) 150 P
10 Kayla DAY (USA) 153
11 Tara MOORE (GBR) 154
12 Samantha CRAWFORD (USA) 160
13 Jamie LOEB (USA) 163
14 Lesley KERKHOVE (NED) 165
16 Quirine LEMOINE (NED) 171
17 Barbara HAAS (AUT) 174
18 Francoise ABANDA (CAN) 175
19 Olga GOVORTSOVA (BLR) 186
20 Lina GJORCHESKA (MKD) 192
21 Kristie AHN (USA) 203

As of March 27, 2017, the Qualifying Draw entrant list, including player ranking, pending withdrawals, is as follows:

1 Laura ROBSON (GBR) 213
2 Sofia KENIN (USA) 215
3 Jia-Jing LU (CHN) 220
4 Jesika MALECKOVA (CZE) 223
5 Andreea MITU (ROU) 227
6 Jennifer ELIE (USA) 233
7 An-Sophie MESTACH (BEL) 236
8 Danielle Rose COLLINS (USA) 237
9 Michelle LARCHER DE BRITO (POR) 238
10 Deniz KHAZANIUK (ISR) 248
11 Caroline DOLEHIDE (USA) 250
12 Barbora KREJCIKOVA (CZE) 257
13 Fanni STOLLAR (HUN) 265
14 Olga SAEZ LARRA (ESP) 272
15 Chloe PAQUET (FRA) 278
16 Elizabeth HALBAUER (USA) 279
17 Jovana JAKSIC (SRB) 280
18 Alexandra CADANTU (ROU) 283
19 Magdalena FRECH (POL) 284
20 Lauren ALBANESE (USA) 288
21 Laura SCHAEDER (GER) 292
22 Renata ZARAZUA (MEX) 299
23 Olga IANCHUK (UKR) 302
24 Anna ZAJA (GER) 303
25 Valeriya STRAKHOVA (UKR) 304
26 Nicoleta-Catalina DASCALU (ROU) 307

Entry List

The Indian Harbour Beach Revolution Technologies Pro Tennis Classic tournament will be played on Har-Tru, or green clay, at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. This year’s tournament is scheduled for the week of April 9-16, 2017, with qualifying starting on Sunday April 9.

General Buzz, Miscellany, Tournament Match Reports, Uncategorized

Spring Breaking in Miami

There was a tennis tournament that started this week in Miami. Kind of a big one.

The 2017 edition of the Itau Miami Open kicked off on Monday, a day after Indian Wells wrapped up.

There may not be too many more Miami Opens. The facilities are clearly no longer sufficient to hold an event of this size and stature. Not without the major upgrades to infrastructure that are sorely needed–not just to the stadiums and seating, but the practice courts, and auxiliary and support areas like parking, dining and restroom facilities. Of course, considering the tournament is held in a public park, they don’t do a bad job of staging a world class event at Crandon Park, but I guess it’s time to admit facts–Indian Wells has obviously spent its way to the top of the pecking order behind only the US Open among American tennis tournaments.

As a central Floridian, I’m not entirely bummed about the prospect of the Miami event potentially migrating north to the sparking new National Campus in Orlando, Florida, but that’s a long way off yet. For one thing, there’s no large stadium at the National Campus–that will need to built. But there is room, and I suspect there is a plan.

So….I made my eleventh–shit, eleventh, really?–trip to Miami this year, and it was truly spur of the moment. You see, somewhere between last year and this year, I pretty much gave up on tennis. My favorite player–she all but retired this past year to a life of glitz, glamour, and celebrity in the tennis afterlife, and my resulting cataclysmic state has left me totally indifferent to what is happening in tennis. And that meant I totally resolved to just not give a %*&$#$# shit about the freaking Miami Open anymore.

But then I had a “feeling.” Since the moment I first saw my tennis crush, years ago, I’ve wanted to meet her. I’ve never taken that opportunity whenever I’ve had the chance. I always felt like I would never see her again since she stopped playing. But there was this big pre-tournament publicity “happening” in Miami with all of the big tennis stars, and I knew as a local tennis personality she was going to be a huge part of it, and I thought, if I didn’t go to the tournament this year I might regret it for the rest of my life. I mean, what if she was there, not just at the publicity event, but really there, in attendance, at the Miami Open, by chance? Those who believe in Destiny and Serendipity call stuff like that “Fatum”, I believe. So I made one of those Eleventh Hour odysseys you only see in the movies, thinking I might get a chance to meet the girl of my dreams. One of those stupid, crazy things you do once in a lifetime for that person who’ll never realize what they mean to you, and ultimately, will never care. Of course that didn’t matter–she meant the world to me.

I didn’t even have a hotel room booked until less than twelve hours before I hit the road at 3AM on Monday. In my haste I forgot things like my contact lens case and solution, and razor and sunscreen, stuff that had I thought about it, I probably would have realized were more like essentials than luxuries, but all I cared about was that I had a Sharpie and my favorite photo of her that I’d personally taken some five years ago. Priorities. I thought if she’d autograph it, it would be a personal treasure and happy memory of her I could cling to long after she forgot about me.

I don’t think she likes to be bothered by people like me though.

But my hopelessly pathetic crash-and-burn is another story.

Disconsolate, I tried to distract myself with the tennis, and kept busy watching matches and practices. On Monday, the first day of qualifying, I took in matches between Francoise Abanda and Nao Hibino, Magda Linette and Asia Muhammad, Sara Sorribes Tormo and Samantha Crawford, Elitsa Kostova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Madison Brengle and Sachia Vickery, Irina Falconi and Viktoriya Tomova, Maria Sakkari and Anastasia Potopova, Irina Khromacheva and Veronica Cepede Royg, Jana Fett and Julia Boserup, and practices with Garbine Muguruza and Dominica Cibulkova and Andrea Petkovic and Naomi Ozaka. Sakkari had a nice big crowd supporting her. I’m still not sure how good she is, but I came away pretty impressed by her grunt–definitely falls in the “war cry” category, right up there with the Erranis and Schiavones.

Monday photos.

Tuesday was even more hectic. The day started with practices featuring Venus Williams, Naomi Ozaka, Julia Goerges and Francesca Schiavone. Following that were matches between Francoise Abanda and Marina Erakovic, Madison Brengle and Sara Sorribes Tormo, Mandy Minella and Kristyna Pliskova, a practice with Taylor Townsend, matches between Lara Arruabarrena and Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Veronica Cepede Royg and Irina Falconi, Naomi Ozaka and Kristina Kucova, Viktorija Golubic and Tsvetana Pironkova, Sara Errani and Belinda Bencic, Kateryna Bondarenko and Paula Badosa Gibert, Peng Shuai and Danka Kovinic, and Beatriz Haddad Maia and Lesia Tsurenko. Didn’t see a lot of the match between Haddad Maia and Tsurenko, which ended in a retirement, as did the late afternoon match on court 1 between Peng and Kovinic, but I was surprised by the fact that Haddad Maia need a wildcard to be in the tournament. She seems to have a pretty big game, and a fair bit of potential. Maybe it was because Tsurenko was compromised by a thigh/quad injury, which resulted in retirement after a set, but the lefty’s game still looked pretty big to me.

I didn’t see as much on Wednesday–took in some of the matches between Jelena Jankovic and Yaroslava Shvedova, Lucie Safarova and Yanina Wickmayer, Louisa Chirico and Risa Ozaki, Alize Cornet and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Heather Watson and Patricia Maria Tig and Monica Puig and Sorana Cirstea. Saw a few of Louisa’s fellow WTA pros/friends in the crowd supporting her at her match.

Yes, there was tennis this week. I did see some of it. And I soaked in the nice weather, and the Miami vibes. And the Miami Open was business as usual. For now.

General Buzz, Miscellany, Tournament Match Reports

The Art of Don Quixote-ing

This was dumb.

There are stupid ideas, and then, there are the ones you will remember when you are eighty-five. When you can’t remember whether you tied your shoes, or what color your car is, or who passed you the salt, you’ll remember the crazy dumbass things you did in the name of love.

For That Girl. The special one. The one you will never ever be able to forget.

I came here to Miami on that mythical wing and prayer on a hopeless eleventh hour quest to meet the girl of my dreams. I was stupid enough to think that I might actually find her here. It is one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world, after all and she is, well, you know…

Oh, she was in town alright. Looking amazing. Like an angel. Basking in celebrity and collecting the phone numbers of eager admirers lining up to date her, I imagine. I guess I should have known. Expected that. She must attract that kind of attention from suitors whenever she walks into a room. Important people. Glamourous people. The people she must surely be interested in spending her time with. She’s special in that way, destined for greatness. She’s that kind of Girl.

It hurts to realize I’m just not that kind of guy.

Coming here was dumb. Heartbreaking.

I never thought that getting over a dream could be so tough.