Tag Archives: tennis news

An Inspiring Story: Wounded U.S. Solider Serves as Ballperson at U.S. Open

Ryan McIntosh, a member of the US Army, is doing more with one tennis shoe than most of us could dream of.

I have always had mixed feelings about war but no matter what war we are fighting, I have always supported the US Military. The men and women who sacrifice their lives for my freedom are people I look up to; people who do what I would never have the courage to.

Ryan McIntosh lost his leg in December of 2010 in Afghanistan when he stepped on a land mine but has come a long way in his fight for normalcy and is now a US Open ballperson.

McIntosh is part of the U.S. Tennis Association`s initiative to reach out the members of the U.S. military and show them all the benefits the sport has to offer—both mental and physical.

“My big picture is just to honor those guys who have been injured just like I was and say, ‘You guys can still do anything you want, ` ” McIntosh told SunHerald.com. Although his goal is to reach out to those in similar situations as himself, he wants to remain unnoticed to the rest of the world. “I’m just a ballperson when I’m here,” he said. “It’s the same when I’m in the Army. I’m just a specialist. I’m not anything special. I don’t consider myself a wounded warrior. When I have my uniform on, you cannot tell. And that’s kind of my biggest goal here, too.”

Even more amazing is the fact that McIntosh`s son was born just shy over four months after his accident which was his main inspiration to get back up. “When I was growing up, my dad was always my coach, always right by my side. That’s what I want to do with my son,” McIntosh said.

A part of me wants to look at the sadness of the situation but after reading his story and seeing his positivity, I can`t help but smile.

To Read more visit: http://www.sunherald.com/2012/08/29/4154134/soldier-who-lost-leg-works-as.html#storylink=cpy

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Is it Time for Venus Williams to Retire Her Tennis Racquet?

Wednesday August 1, 2012 

While her sister, Serena, is playing strong, Venus Williams is on a losing streak. Is it time for her to retire her tennis racquet?

Although Venus Williams played strong in the first two rounds of singles this week in the London Olympics, she lost her third-round match today against Germany`s Angelique Kerber saying,  “I made a few errors and she hit a few winners, and things can go quickly in tennis.”

Her loss could be due to the fact that she was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease leaving Williams feeling fatigued. Although she was only diagnosed with the condition in 2011, she wasn`t feeling herself for years but was misdiagnosed.

“For years I felt that I didn’t have enough stamina and then, four years ago, I felt like I was not getting enough air but I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma.”

Despite the struggles, Venus is about to be the first American tennis player to compete in four Olympics and said that she is planning to play in the 2016 Rio Games.

By 2016, Venus will be 36 and many tennis players retire before their late thirties and while some continue playing for years after, a health problem like Sjogren’s syndrome won`t help her performance however; Venus is hopeful saying, “It makes me want to get up and fight harder every day.”

Venus also lost in the opening round of Wimbledon only about a month ago and although loosing is always a part of the game, Williams has not had a first round loss since her first time at the legendary tournament. She also suffered  a second round loss at the French Open.

Could this be her body`s way of telling her it`s time to settle down? I admire both of the Williams sisters talent and what makes them even more admirable is that both have suffered health problems and have continued to compete in the game; Serena even took home the title in this year`s Wimbledon. Although the losing streak might signal that retirement is near for Venus, it is  hard for me to feel sorry for either of the tennis star sisters.

We all saw Serena yell at the chair umpire at the US Open Finals in 2011 which she was fined $2,000 for (I think she can afford it) and verbally abused a lineswoman at the 2009 US Open.

Player John McEnroe publically stated that both of the sisters have a bad attitude saying, “Enough is enough… Would it kill them to say hello to people in the locker room?”

“What they have achieved is great, but they have no respect for anyone in the game,” and McEnroe is not the only one who feels that the sisters do not deserve the status they have in women`s tennis.

I`d have to say I agree with McEnroe. They both have amazing talent but their arrogant attitude makes both of them hard to root for. I guess in cheering for the USA in this year`s Olympics I am somewhat supporting the sisters but beyond that, I won`t be rooting for either in tournaments to come.


An Odd Item in Djokovic`s Tennis Bag

At the 2012 Wimbledon tournament, Novak Djokovic pulled an unsuspecting item out of his athletic bag…. What was it? A golf club!

Spectators were wondering why one of the world`s top ranked tennis players was carrying a golf club… Was he confused? Maybe he`s thinking about taking up a new hobby.

No he wasn`t confused and he isn`t retiring his tennis racquet… it was merely a publicity stunt to show off Head tennis company`s  new upright golf/tennis crossover sports bag.

“My sponsor provided me with a junior golf club,” Djokovic said after the match. “The racquet bags look like golf clubs. […] Fans corrected me straight away, saying ‘this is not a golf club’. We were trying to come up with something different.”

The publicity stunt was well thought out by the tennis company. They showcased
their new bag by getting the audience`s attention.

When I first saw the bag I thought that it`s not a bad idea by Head. Many people who play tennis also enjoy golf so why not make a bag that you can take from the tennis court to the putting green?

However, that wasn`t Head`s intention. According to the company website, the new White LTD Edition  was intended specifically for tennis.

“The new white HEAD bag echoes the design and functionality found in golf bags. The white racquet carrier comes with a simple fold-out stand system which allows the stylish piece of kit to remain upright for easy access; when not in use, the unique stand system folds neatly out of the way.”

Although Head may have not  designed the bag for a golfer, it would still work for those who enjoy both of the sports and “hats off” to the marketing team at the Head tennis company for coming up with such a good marketing tactic!


Rafael Nadal: Babolat Tennis Bags and Shakira

You will typically see Rafael Nadal looking good on the tennis court dressed in his Nike clothes and shoes with one of his Babolat tennis bags hanging on his shoulder; however, Rafael Nadal not only looks good during his matches with his aggressive style, but off the court as well.

When Rafael Nadal was younger he was actually a very promising soccer player. He was trained by one of his uncles until another uncle, Toni Nadal, a former tennis pro, recognized his skill as a tennis player. Not wanting his academic career to suffer, Rafael`s father made him choose between the two sports; the choice for Nadal was obvious.

In addition to being blessed with tremendous athletic ability, Nadal is blessed with the face and the body of a model. In2011,  “Rafa” replaced Cristiano Ronaldo as the new face of Armani Underwear and Jeans; the first tennis player ever endorsed by the brand who called Nadal “… ideal as he represents a healthy and positive model for youngsters.”

Even as a dancing Claymation figure, Nadal keeps his sexy appeal! As a global ambassador for Kia Motors, Nadal appeared in a comedic Kia commercial as himself but in clay form in a tournament against what appeared to be an alien.

What was most shocking to me was Nadal`s appearance is a music video. Shakira, a popular Colombian singer-songwriter, chose Rafael Nadal to appear as her love interest in the video for her song “Gypsy.” Shakira said that she chose the tennis pro because she felt as though he was someone she had a connection with. “I thought that maybe I needed someone I could in some way identify with. And Rafael Nadal is a person who has been totally committed to his career since he was very young. Since he was 17, I believe.”

As you can see, Rafael Nadal or “the king of clay” as he is sometimes called, is more than just a tennis player. We typically see him in his usual attire with his racquet, headband, Nike clothes and his signature Babolat tennis bag, but the soccer player turned tennis pro has taken his natural athletic ability and striking good looks to become a global sensation.


Tennis News and Court Shoes

Tennis players that make headlines and are loved by millions get to the top because of their natural talent and competitive nature, but many wouldn`t be where they are today without the proper gear; Technologically advanced racquets, training equipment and of course, the right court shoes.

This year, the Masters Series event for men and women at the Madrid Open will be played on a blue clay court instead of the classic red. While Venus Williams feels as though it is a fashion statement, another player calls it a “Smurf clay” and Rafael Nadal says it  “…is a mistake.”

Whether the players agree with the new shade or not, the Madrid Open isn’t going back on their decision and instead of worrying about the color, pros should focus on the type of shoe they are going to wear because clay courts, blue or red, require specific court shoes.

Unfortunately, Andy Murray had to pull out of the Madrid Open due to a back injury saying “I always love coming to Madrid so it is a big disappointment. I look forward to returning next year.”

The good news is that his feet are safe and sound thanks to his court shoes. Murray prefers the Adidas Barricade 7 which offer durability, extra cushioning and support needed for hard court surfaces.

What is interesting about Andy Murray is that he won the event in 2008 when it was played on a hard-court surface but has had no such luck since the Madrid Open decided to change to clay. This could be due to the fact that Murray doesn`t have the right shoes.

Although the Adidas Barricade 7 shoes are some of the finest court shoes on the market, there are others better suited for a clay surface. The Adidas Barricade Team tennis shoes, for instance, are designed to offer maximum traction on all court surfaces.

Babolat also offers a court shoe specifically made for playing on clay surfaces; the V-Pro Clay Tennis Shoes. The V-Pro Clay has a sole designed for ideal grip and slide balance with a Michelin twin chevron clay court pattern.

I`d have to say that what makes the pros as successful as they are is predominately skill but we can`t ignore the equipment that assists them throughout every match. Footwork is one of the most important aspects of the game and the proper court shoe enhances the natural talent, making every player the best player they can be.


Should Grunting in Women`s Tennis Be Illegal?

The battle continues… should grunting in tennis be illegal? As a tennis fan I often wonder if grunting on the courts has gotten so out of control that the once just annoying trend among some female players should be outlawed. Is it just irritating or is it cheating?

Tennis fans in Australia and England have voiced their opinions about Victoria Azarenka`s screaming  but kept pretty quiet at the Sony Ericsson Open on Wednesday night when she played against Marion Bartoli who is virtually silent on the court.

Although grunting on the tennis court is shown to release stress, stabilize breathing and increase focus, stability and strength, stars like Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka may take their grunting too far.

Some tennis enthusiasts argue that grunting on the court should be considered illegal because it intentionally throws the grunters` opponent off because  they can`t hear when the ball hits the tennis racquet.

Grunters like “Vika the Shrieka” claim that the sound they make when they hit the ball is natural and they can`t control it but as player, Caroline Wozniacki, pointed out, grunters don`t scream during practice.

Although Azarenka and Sharapova claim the noise is uncontrollable there’s no doubt that is not natural to make as much noise as a tractor, 100 decibels, which Maria Sharapova has reached in the past.

Tennis was much quieter in the past, so where did this grunting trend come from in women`s tennis? I would say that Monica (Moan-ica) Seles is to blame. She was the first prominent   female grunter to enter the world of women`s tennis.

But it`s not just the women, male pros like Andre Agassi and Michael Chang  are also guilty of out-of-control grunting.

International Tennis Federation Rule 26 (Hindrance),  states that, “If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the opponent, the player shall win the point. However, the point shall be replayed if a player is hindered in playing the point by either an unintentional act of the opponent, or something outside the player`s own control.”

This rule is never really enforced but how can you say that 100 decibels isn’t intentional? The tennis community needs to speak up and have umpires start penalizing players for their deliberate hindrance!


Bernard Tomic Asks for His Father to Be Thrown Out of the Stands

Bernard Tomic finally found a way to silence worked up parents at matches….get them kicked out of the stands!

At the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Tomic asked the umpire during a changeover to have his father, John,  removed from the stands.

“He’s annoying me. I know he’s my father, but he’s annoying me. I want him to leave as soon as possible,” Tomic explained.

The chair umpire gave Tomic`s dad a warning for his behavior but even though Tomic was able to silence his father he still lost to David Ferrer, 6-4, 6-4…. Maybe he did need his father`s coaching after all.

Check out the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVoJ4srmHeo