From Doug Robson at USA T0day, a story of the Willliams sisters and the next generation of American Women’s tennis players. Some excerpts:
Young Americans build bond with stars Venus, Serena
Last year here 20-year-old Christina McHale said she had never exchanged words with 15-time Grand Slam titlist Serena.
Sloane Stephens, 19, called Serena “our tennis god” but had barely conversed with her.
Twelve months later, the story has changed.
Hampton and McHale have practiced with the sisters, shared laughs over dinner and now exchange pleasantries at tournaments.
Stephens? She and Serena are buddies.
“I love her, she’s amazing, she’s a god, but now she’s like my friend,” said 29th-seeded Stephens, who joined Hampton in the third round Thursday with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of former junior rival Kristina Mladenovic of France.
Among American men, the experience gap has been more easily bridged.
Veterans such as the now-retired Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish have gone out of their way to mentor prospects such as Sam Querrey, Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock, making it one of the most congenial groups in memory.
There is a lot more to this story which can be found at:
From Lagardere Tennis – Lagardère Unlimited is a sports agency representing athletes worldwide. The tennis division is comprised of over fifty ATP, WTA, and junior players combined. All images are from Lagardere’s twitter Feed and represent some of the many Lagardere clients. Lagardere also represents Kevin Anderson, Sam Querrey, Christina McHale, Gael Monfils, Victoria Azarenka, Andy Roddick, Milos Raonic, Caroline Wozniacki, Urszula Radwanska and the Bryan Brothers among others. Lagardere is a 30% owner of Saddlebrook Resort. They also own several tournaments including the BNP Paribas WTA Championship shown below.
John Isner, North Carolina native, two-time Winston Salem Open Champion, and America’s #1 tennis player will be at the 3rd Annual Ebix Charity Challenge!
After a successful first year in Manhattan Beach, CA followed by a visit to John Isner’s hometown of Greensboro, NC, the 3rd edition of the Isner Charity Challenge is heading to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home of the event beneficiary, the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The UNC Lineberger Cancer Center is one of the leading treatment facilities in the nation and is where John’s mother, Karen, was successfully treated during her two battles with colon cancer.
Isner will be joined by rising WTA star Christin McHale, celebrity emcee Wayne Bryan, father and former coach of the World No. 1 Doubles Team, Mike and Bob Bryan, and more.
“I’m excited to bring this event back to my home state for the second year in a row and to have the opportunity to support an organization that has given so much to my family. UNC Lineberger continues to make remarkable strides in the fight against cancer, and I’m looking forward to celebrating and supporting their work during the event.” – John Isner
More on Lagadere: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagard%C3%A8re_Group
There are 16 Americans in the Wimbledon Juniors and two of them have played here in the Capital District area. What are the odds of that? We have written before about Noah Rubin & Kyle McPhillips. Of course we have to add Christina McHale, currently the 32nd ranked Women in the world who made it to the third round of the Women’s draw.
Serena Loves Upsides of McHale & Stephens – LONDON, England – Serena Williams often talks about “me” and admittedly is very focused on keeping herself happy, but nonetheless she has recently taken on mentoring two of America’s top young women: Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale.
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“Here’s a look at the young players on both sides of the sport that seem to have the best chance at winning a Slam title.” While the article includes Bernard Tomic – who is on everyone’s list of players who will someday win at least one slam, it is hard to guarantee anything in tennis, or in sports for that matter. That sentiment is echoed in one of the comments to this article. “Guaranteed is too strong a word for these guys. None of them are as talented as Djoko or Murray. Remember Murray was already a clear No.4 at Raonic‘s current age of 21, and has already beaten the likes of Federer at the masters level by that age. Raonic’s talent, to me, looks as good as Delpo‘s, but is below the Big 4.” Click above to view the slide show and see if you agree with the author.
This article is actually two different articles rolled into one with two different beginnings.
1) Congratulations to our Eastern Sectional players who are doing so well at the biggest tournaments in the county and in the world. At the recent Winter Nationals Jamie Loeb won the Girls 18 singles and Girls 18 doubles. Nicholas Crystal won the Boys 16 doubles. With 17 USTA Sections, that is way better than average. Let’s not forget about Christina McHale 43 in the World – WTA. Also Noah Rubin (see below).
2) It’s impressive, looking back at how many good tennis players have played tournaments in this area. From the Sectional Championships to the National Opens, and even to some of our Level 1 tournaments. We don’t always appreciate how talented some of these kids are.
So how good are these Eastern kids and how many of them have played here.
Crystal, Loeb, Rubin and McHale have all played here, as well as many others including local prodigy Matt Kandath. Matt got to be as high as 6th in the country in the juniors and 53rd in the world juniors). Another top boy to come through this area was Bryan Koniecko. Bryan Koniecko was #14 in the country in Divison 1 College Singles and 10th in Doubles. Jackie Wu, who finished up her college career at Vanderbilt last year got to be 38th in the country in Division 1. And then there’s Cory Parr, Ryann Cutilo and Noah Rubin – all products of Sportime – Bethpage. Noah is the #2 ranked sophmore in the country and was finalist at Les Petite As – one of the biggest tournaments in the world for 14 and unders. Past winners of Les Petite As include Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters and Martina Hingis. Ryann is a Senior at Wake Forest and was ranked – as a junior player – in the top 20 nationally in every age group. Cory also went to Wake Forest where he won the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) National Indoors Championships. He was ranked 3rd in the country in the Boys 16 and Unders. Cory played the Pro circuit and made it to a career high #272 in the world. We also had Bea Bielik playing here. Bea also went to Wake Forest where she won the NCAA Championships in singles without dropping a set. She followed that up with a pro career that saw her rise to #130 in the world including a win over Tamarine Tanasugarn – who was #30 in the world at the time – at the U.S.Open. Then there is our own Meghan Yeats of Hudson. Meghan was #21 in the country as a senior and she won states.
Although I have mentioned quite a few players who have played our tournaments that have either 1) made it to the pro’s, 2) been top 25 in the country as a junior or 3) been top 50 NCAA I am sure there were others. I wasn’t around in the John McEnroe, Vitas Gerulaitus, Richard Meyer era so I don’t know if they played the Albany tournaments back then. John McEnroe was #1 in the world, Vitas Gerulaitus was #4 in the world and Richard Meyer was #83 in the world in what was truly the golden age of Eastern Tennis. Who knows, maybe tody’s crop will be even better.
Christina McHale often played and often won tournaments in our area while growing up. Christina is no longer playing USTA Eastern tournaments, she is playing on the WTA tour. At the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Christina made her name known by beating World #1 Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 7-5. McHale entered the tournament as a wildcard (a player who’s ranking does not qualify them for the main draw and who is chosen to fill a slot, as opposed to a player that gets in by participating in the qualifier draw and winning enough rounds. Every tournament has wildcards and they generally go to a former player coming back from an injury, a young player who’s ranking may not yet be high enough yet due to lack of opportunities to compete at that level, especially a young talented player who has not been on the tour long enough to earn the points). I also had the pleasure of coaching Christina at 14 and Under Zone Team Championships although I can hardly call what I did coaching. With 6 or 7 courts going at the same time, and having to wait for changeovers to talk to my players, I usually got to Christina’s court in time to say, nice match (she as that good then as an 11 year old playing in a 14 and under national event as my #1 player). I am not surprised at her success. What I saw of her game was really impressive (all courts were together so I could see her play in between the points of the match I was coaching at the time) We wish Christina continued success.