Monthly Archives: April 2013

McEnroe: Nadal should be top seed at French Open

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal
Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports

“Tennis is a numbers game and John McEnroe says that the seven Roland Garros titles Rafael Nadal owns add up to one result: Nadal should be the top seed for the 2013 French Open.

In a conference call with the media today to promote his appearance partnering Pete Sampras in an exhibition match against Tommy Haas and Ivan Lendl at the second annual Greenbrier Champions Tennis Classic, September 21-22, McEnroe said the fifth-ranked Nadal deserves top-seeded status in Paris. The 1984 French Open finalist suggests the top players would support a seeding raise for Nadal — to save themselves from a potential quarterfinal clash with him.

“Let me put it to you this way: I guarantee you that none of those four guys, as great as they are, want to see him in the quarters,” McEnroe told TENNIS.com. “Quite honestly, I would seed him number one. I’d seed him number one, actually, because I think he deserves that. I think the other players deserve it.”

It’s unlikely Nadal, who trails David Ferrer by nearly one thousand points for the fourth spot in the ATP rankings, will crack the top four before Roland Garros sets it seeds. McEnroe says seeding Nadal ahead of Ferrer is a no-brainer and says the reigning champion should be seeded ahead of third-ranked Andy Murray as well.

“Certainly, you can’t even possibly question if he should be [seeded] ahead of David Ferrer, as much as I respect him, or for that matter even Murray on clay,” McEnroe told TENNIS.com. “Djokovic is the only one, given his accomplishments on clay, that you could possibly make an argument deserves to be seeded ahead of [Nadal]…I don’t know that they [the Roland Garros seeding committee] are willing to change the seedings at their event.”

McEnroe suggests the best-of-five set French Open format can benefit Nadal.

“It’s a little unclear in best-of-five sets, maybe it will help him, give him some more time,” McEnroe said. “But I’m not quite sure where he is [physically] right now. I’ve only seen him a few times, but he’s looking pretty damn good to me.”

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Article written by Richard Pagliaro

Tournament Preparation – Top tips!

BE PREPARED – As the great basketball coach, John Wooden said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Plan ahead and don’t leave anything to chance.  Make sure that you take everything you need with you.  Excellent preparation is key to success in all tournaments. 

Bag Check

  • Rackets- Enough
  • Shoes– Have an extra pair in your bag!
  • Grips– Over grips get warn
  • Strings– At least 3 or 4 sets
  • Clothes (spare set of match kit, extra socks)
  • Hat/visor– A spare is not a bad ideal
  • Towel– Very Important
  • Drinks– Water, sports drinks
  • Snacks– Make them healthy snacks! Fruit, energy bars
  • Medical kit – Band aids/tape/braces/any medicines/Advil or Tylenol
  • Sunscreen– At least SPF 32 or higher
  • Ipod- Whatever relaxes and/or gets you up!

Travel

If traveling by plane, stay well hydrated on the flight. Drink lots of fluids — water, fruit smoothies or diluted sports drinks. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as sodas. Do not skip meals; in flight choose the high carbohydrate meal such as chicken and pasta or rice.

On arrival at your destination, try to go for a light jog or bike ride for 20 minutes and then stretch to ensure you are best prepared to train and play the following day.

Hydration

It is essential that you stay well hydrated as dehydration can significantly affect your performance. Sweat contains salts also known as electrolytes; these salts are needed for the body to function normally. When a player loses too much salt, it can result in muscle cramps. During practice and play, especially in hot climates, electrolytes need to be replaced – drink sports drinks and lots of water.

Before and during practice/match

Drink water or a carbohydrate-based sports drink that contains electrolytes. You will need to replace at minimum 80% of sweat loss during a match. Generally it is recommended that you drink 4-8 swallows of a sports drink and water on every change over.

After practice/match

It is important to start the recovery process immediately following your match. Start drinking as soon as you come off court. Sports recovery drinks or low fat milk shakes are ideal to help refuel and rehydrate.

Ensure you start each day well hydrated, you can check the color of your urine against a ‘pee chart’ (see below).

Pee Chart

Nutrition 

In order to play and perform at your best level, you must be correctly fuelled for competition.  Carbohydrate is the key fuel for energy so the priority is to optimize your carbohydrate stores prior to your tournament by ensuring you have a healthy balanced diet.

Check out what food and drink will be available at the venue, and then bring your own supply of sports drinks, recovery drinks and energy bars — You will need them!

Pre-match meal

Aim to eat a carbohydrate rich meal 2-3 hours before your match – pasta /noodles/ rice/couscous, and chicken/ breakfast cereal and whole grain toast/ lean meat sandwich / pita breads

If you are unsure what time you are playing, ensure you have a snack with you to top up your energy stores 1 hour before you play – for example, energy/cereal or granola bar, low fat muffin or dried fruit.

And remember, Never ‘skip’ breakfast and Keep drinking fluids!

Post match nutrition

Good recovery will ensure that you play your best for your next match. To recover well, you need to rapidly restock your carbohydrate stores, replace fluid and salt losses. An active recovery also includes post match stretching and rest.

Aim to have a carbohydrate and protein-based meal or snack within 30 minutes of playing even if the recovery time is short between matches.

Examples of recovery snacks:
Sports recovery drinks/low fat milk shakes/Yogurt-based fruit smoothies/cereal or sports recovery bar/lean meat sandwich/ breakfast cereal/bananas      

Warm up

Players should always aim to have completed a brief 10 -20 minute warm-up to ensure they are both physically and mentally prepared to play. This will also reduce the risk of injury. Both mental and physical preparation are key components to becoming a successful tennis player; be prepared to start fast and get the edge on your opponents.

Components of the warm up

  1. Heat generation: Players should perform some form of cardiovascular activity so that they generate a light sweat, this can be done on court or in the gym; jogging, stationary bike, jump rope
  2. Dynamic stretching: Involves moving parts of the body, gradually increasing with reach and/or speed of movement to the limits of the players range of motion
  3. Tennis specific: On court, this can be done while getting prepared to play or before and should include movements to mimic tennis strokes.

Cool down or active recovery

You should aim (if time permits) to take part in active recovery involving a light jog and stretch prior to your nutritional recovery strategies.

Injuries

  • If you have any nagging injuries, ensure you know how to best manage them while you are away.
  • If you develop a new injury seek the advice of the onsite trainer. Ice should be applied post match to any areas that are sore.

Good Luck!

Sophie Scott

Sophie Scott
Director of Performance

Easter Bowl Results – April, 14th

Easter Bowl '13 Noah Rubin

Noah Rubin

(Palm Desert, CA)  Day 6- There was “no joy in Mudville” today as JMTA’s Noah Rubin lost in the semifinals of the 2013 Easter Bowl to Luca Corintelli, 7-6 (6), 6-1.  Noah started out strongly, breaking Luca at 1-1 and holding for a 3-1 lead.  Noah had two break points to make it 4-1, but Luca’s big serve bailed him out.  Noah held and had another break opportunity at 4-2, but again Luca served himself out of trouble again.  The match seemed to turn in the next game with Noah serving at 4-3.  Three very uncharacteristic unforced errors gave back the break and we were knotted at 4-4.  Both players held to send it to a tiebreak with Noah saving a set point serving at 4-5.  Noah jumped out 2-0 in the breaker, but quickly went down 6-4.  He saved two more set points to get to 6-6.  At 6-6 Luca bombed an ace and on the next point, Noah sailed a backhand long to give Luca the tiebreak 8-6.

Easter Bowl Results – Saturday, April 13th

Noah Rubin

Easter Bowl ’13
Noah Rubin

(Palm Desert, CA)  Day 5- Another perfect day in sunny California for the B18 quarterfinals with the temperature in the mid-80s,  hardly a breeze and not a cloud in the sky.  After a shaky round of 16 in which he did not play his best tennis, but survived with a 7-5, 7-5 win, JMTA’s Noah Rubin faced the big serving, Alexandru Gozun.  In this match, Noah came out on fire, breaking his opponent at love in the first game and then holding at love in the second game.  Noah quickly went up two breaks, gave one back but held serve at 5-4 to take the first set.  Noah’s energy, court presence, and “compete” level were off the charts.  The second set was a work of art.  Three breaks against a huge server, three holds; done.  Match over.  Saturday in the semifinals, Noah will play another behemoth, 6’3’’ 230 pound, Luca Corintelli.  Noah will have to play better in his next  match than he did in the quarters; and that will not be easy.

Following Noah’s match, Jamie Loeb played her semifinal match in her quest for consecutive ITF L1 Doubles Championships.  Jamie and her doubles partner, Maegan Menasse won a tough first set 6-3 playing very solidly off the ground.  In the second set, Jamie and Megan’s opponents started coming forward a little more and managed to win three consecutive 40-40 points to take the second set 6-4.  After going up 6-2 in the superbreaker, it seemed that Jamie would be in the finals for the second week in a row.  But her opponents caught fire, and reeled off the last 8 points in a row to take the supertiebreak and the match, 10-6.  Very disappointing for Jamie, but a good run nonetheless.

Easter Bowl Results – Friday, April 12th

Easter Bowl - JMTA Crew

JMTA Crew: Sabrina Xiong, Jamie Loeb, JMTA Coach Felix Alvarado, JMTA Director Lawrence Kleger, Elizabeth Tsvetkov, Eva Siskova, Loren Haukova, Jessica Golovin

(Palm Desert, CA)  Day 4- Today was another busy day for the JMTA “crew” at the 2013 Easter Bowl.  It started on a very positive note with Loren Haukova delivering another blowout victory over a quality opponent.  Down 2-3 in the 1st set, Loren put it in 5th gear and coasted to a 6-3, 6-1 victory.  Loren followed Johnny Mac’s Commandment of “Do not beat thy self!”   In her 2nd match, Loren played Abigail Desiatnikov, a girl who did a great job of taking balls early and pressuring Loren into countless errors.  Loren could have done a little better if she followed the game plan of attacking 2nd serves and taking advantage of the first aggressive opportunity.  A little too passive versus an opponent girl who was very good once she controlled the center of the court, Loren ended up on the wrong side of a 6-3, 6-0 score.   All in all, an excellent tournament for Ms. Haukova.

Sabrina Xiong started the day with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Lauren Gooodman, the #13 seed in G16s.  Lauren had a lot of fire power, but also made a lot of unforced errors.  Sabrina played high percentage tennis to the max and came away with a nice big “W”.  In her 2nd match, Sabrina ran out gas against Samantha Hampton and came out on the short end of a 6-0, 6-3 decision.   Sabrina had an excellent tournament in singles.  Unfortunately, in the doubles, Sabrina and Elizabeth Tsvetkov’s doubles win streak was halted by the #6 seeds, 6-2, 6-3 in the round of 16.

Jessica Golovin– Lost a hard-fought 6-4, 6-4 contest to Andrea Kevakian, the #17 seed.  Goldie played her usual aggressive game, but costly errors at key times made the difference in this contest.   Jessica at times did demonstrate the high level of play of which she is capable; and with a little more practice and a bit more consistency, she is going to be a tough out in any tournament.

Noah Rubin took the court against his round of 16 opponent, ‘local boy-done-good” Logan Smith.  With the crowd firmly entrenched in the Californian’s corner, Mr. Smith gave Noah all he could handle.  Up 4-1 and two breaks of serve, it looked like Noah would go through the local favorite “like a hot knife through butter.”  But the home town boy had other ideas.  Two hours later, carrying the JMTA banner, Noah walked away with a 7-5, 7-5 nail-biting victory.  Noah plays another big, bruising 6 foot+ plus player tomorrow in the quarters.   As they say, “The bigger they are……. the harder they serve.”   I mean “the harder they fall!” 

Jamie Loeb continued her march toward another ITF doubles title.  Jamie and her partner, Maegan Manasse are cruising through the G18s draw, winning today by the score of 6-1, 6-1.

As Day 4 ends, JMTA is still alive to take home two Easter Bowl titles:  B18s Singles and G18s Doubles.

Easter Bowl Results – Thursday, April 11th

(Palm Desert, CA)  Day 3 saw clear blue skies, temperatures in the high eighties and not much wind, thankfully.   A lot of matches to report on from five different sites and six age groups so let’s get right to it. 

Easter Bowl

JMTA Players: Loren Haukova, JMTA Coach Bruce Haddad, Elizabeth Tsvetkov

First up was Loren Haukova (G14) in the round of 16 versus the girl who beat the #2 seed yesterday.  Loren went up 3-2 in the first sticking to the game plan her coach Bruce Haddad mapped out after briefly scouting Loren’s opponent in her upset win.   Mixing up her shots, changing speeds and varying spin, Loren had three game points to go up 4-2.   However she could not convert on any of the three and found herself at 3-3.  At this point, Loren strayed from the game plan just a little, but her opponent who is a year older really picked up her game.  Loren did not win another game, falling 6-3, 6-0.  She will play again tomorrow in the compass draw. 

Next up was Jessica Golovin (G16) in her first consolation match of the day.  After dropping the first set and down 3-5 love-40, Jessica went into survival mode, saving the three match points.  Then, at 4-5, she saved two more match points and went on to win that set 7-5.  In a nail-biting superbreak, Jessica toughed it out 10-8.   A real gutty performance.  She won her second consolation match of the day in a little more routine fashion 6-3, 6-4 and will play next tomorrow at 11:30 AM. 

Noah Rubin (B18) took the court, after a 1st round bye, against Robbie Bellamy, a big burly Californian headed to USC to play for Peter Smith.   Noah had numerous break points in the 1st set, but converted only one.  Fortunately, one was enough as he closed out the first set 6-4.  Noah picked it up in the second set breaking Bellamy three times.  Noah was quick to point out that he did not get broken at all in the match.  He gets a little sensitive when his serving prowess is not pointed out!  Let’s hope that continues in the round of 16 tomorrow versus Logan Smith.

Elizabeth Tsvetkov (G16) After battling back and saving two match points yesterday, Elizabeth found herself in the same predicament today, i.e., a set down and not much hope of shifting the momentum.  Again, she came back and won the second set, but wasn’t able to duplicate her magic act of yesterday and lost 4-6, 6-2 (10-4).  However, the dynamic duo of Elizabeth and Sabrina Xiong combined for another thrilling doubles victory tonight 6-3, 5-7 (10-8).  This team has won two consecutive national doubles titles and they are on a 12 match win streak!  They play the round of 16 tomorrow afternoon.

Sabrina Xiong (G16) Took the court today with one consolation match under her belt.  When the day was over, she added two more victories.  Her first match was rather routine and won 6-1, 6-2 with Sabrina delivering consistent and penetrating groundstrokes that seemed shocking coming from a girl of Sabrina’s size.  The second match would be just as routine were it not for the near-fisticuffs that happened after the match.  Apparently, Sabrina’s opponent, after realizing that she could not beat her tried to intimidate Sabrina and the perfectly behaved representatives from the prestigious John McEnroe Tennis Academy.  But Sabrina’s “Posse” (Elizabeth, Jessica and Eva) was not going to have any of that.

Eva Siskova (G16) Eva had a tough three setter coming out on the short end of a 2-6, 7-6 (1) 10-8 battle.  Eva was up a set and 5-4 with a couple of match points.  She had another at 6-5.  She fought valiantly but lost a heartbreaking superbreaker 10-8.

Oliver  Sec (B16)  Oliver lost a tough consolation match to a quality player.  Again, Oliver struggled a bit with his serve but competed well in a 6-2, 6-4 loss.

Victoria Sec (G14) Playing in her first national level one championship, dropped a hard-fought 6-3, 6-4 decision to the #17 seed.  Victoria competed very well in all her matches and will come away with a victory and whole lot of valuable experiences. 

Jamie Loeb (G18) continued her quest for a second straight ITF doubles title with a convincing 6-1, 6-1 victory.  Quarters tomorrow.

Easter Bowl Results – Wednesday, April 10th

Easter Bowl

JMTA Students: Jamie Loeb, Jessica Golovin, Loren Haukova, Sabrina Xiong, Elizabeth Tsvetkov, Eva Siskova

(Palm Desert, CA) Day 1- Competitors in this year’s Easter Bowl will not soon forget their first round matches at the 2013 Easter Bowl.  Gale force winds up to 50 miles per hour made playing a tennis match almost impossible.  The wind was at its strongest before noon when dust, palm tree bark, chairs and every once in a while an elderly USTA umpire could be seen flying about!  The tournament officials finally suspended play, but unfortunately for JMTA all of our players had early matches completed before logic prevailed.   While it is true that the wind affects all players, 50 mile per hour winds make playing tennis more like the X Games, particularly for New Yorkers with only a couple of days to acclimate to being outdoors.   Here are the results through Tuesday:

Noah Rubin (B18) the ITF started Tuesday, but Noah received a bye;  he will play his first match Wednesday at 12:30.

Jamie Loeb (G18) Jamie received a bye in the first round, then faced the #1 player in USTA G18s Brooke Austin; it seemed odd not to seed Brooke, but they go by ITF rankings and Brooke has not played enough events to be receive a high ranking.  This created a second round match between arguably the two best players.  Jamie was up a set and 5-4 serving with a match point that she did not convert. The second set went to a tiebreak where Jamie had two more match points.  Brooke came up with some big shots and won the tiebreak, 9-7.  Jamie lost 6-3 in the third but this was one heck of a battle between two really great competitors; it’s a shame that it wasn’t the finals.

Jessica Golovin (G16) On Monday, Jessica lost 6-4, 6-2 in singles in the hurricane, and fell in the doubles 6-2; 2-6; 11-9.  On Tuesday, with no gale force winds to deal with, she bounced back with a dominating 6-0, 6-0 win.

Loren Haukova (G14) On Sunday, Loren won 6-4, 6-2 in Singles and lost 6-4, 6-2 with partner Victoria Sec.  On Monday, she played a solid match, disposing her opponent 6-2, 6-0.  On Tuesday, playing a near perfect match, Loren dispatched a very good #17 Seed.  Her court presence and emotional control have been excellent throughout the event thanks to the constant reminders of how important they are by Coach Bruce Haddad.

Oliver Sec (B16) On Monday, Oliver lost in singles 6-4, 6-1.  He struggled with the wind a bit, but did not play his best tennis; he let the wind totally negate his big serve and big forehand.  He then lost in doubles to the #6 Seeds.  On Tuesday, Oliver bounced back with a gritty 7-5, 6-3 against a very solid player, as his serve was dramatically better.

Victoria Sec (G14) On Monday, she won in singles 6-3, 6-2, and lost in doubles 6-4, 6-2 with Loren Haukova.  On Tuesday, Victoria came up against a tough #13 seed and fell 6-0, 6-2. She played well but it was not enough to take down a seed here.  G14 is a Compass draw, so Victoria played another singles match, but lost 6-3, 6-1.

Eva Siskova (G16) On Monday, she lost in singles 6-3, 6-1 in the extreme conditions and won in doubles with an 11-9 victory in the superbreaker. On Tuesday, Eva bounced back from her disappointing loss with a vengeance; she beat a very good girl 6-1, 6-0 and it wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Under the normal weather conditions of the day, Eva played her game and her game destroyed this girl. Had this been MMA, the girl would have tapped out early in the first set; she moved and hit beautifully, winning every long point (and pretty much all other kinds of points as well).  In doubles, Eva lost a tough doubles match 7-5, 7-6 (6).

Elizabeth Tsvetkov (G16) On Monday, she lost in singles 6-2, 6-2 to a very good player. Elizabeth’s game of taking balls early and pressuring opponents did not fare well in the gale force winds; she will work to improve her ability to make adjustments outdoors.  On Tuesday, Elizabeth went down 5-1 in a heartbeat, but then all of a sudden she woke up and started playing her game.  Unfortunately she had dug too deep a hole in the set and lost 6-3. Elizabeth dominated the second set 6-2, pushing her opponent around unmercifully.  The up and down continued in the superbreaker: up 5-1, then down 7-9, then four straight points to win 11-9 against a very good G16.  Brooklyn and Sabrina Xiong won their doubles 6-4, 7-5

Sabrina Xiong (G16) On Monday, Sabrina lost singles in Hurricane Easter Bowl to the #6 seed 6-0, 7-5. After a tough first set she made the adjustment to the wind really well, serving for the second set at 5-4 but could not finish. On Tuesday, Sabrina bounced back with a solid 6-4, 6-1 victory. Sabrina was able to control play with her equally lethal forehand and backhand.  The match was closer than the score would indicate, but Sabrina was much tougher on the big points. Sabrina and Elizabeth won their doubles 6-4, 7-5.

Mr. Deeds

JMTA Students with McEnroe

Jamie Loeb, Noah Rubin, John McEnroe, Oliver Sec
Photo: Adam Wolfthal

QUEENS, N.Y.— “It’s a chilly, metal-bright April afternoon, but the atmosphere inside the tennis facility is cozy. The high-tech lights create an ideal combination of bright and soft—a little like Centre Court at Wimbledon when its roof is closed.

Some of the kids racing around courts that stretch away into the distance in the cavernous hangar, merrily banging forehands and backhands, may one day get to play there. But most of them won’t, and that’s just fine with the man standing beside me. John McEnroe is thin as a credit card, even though his shoulders are wide enough to win the approval of Phil Jackson. He has military-short steel-dust hair, and now he addresses a kid playing on the court before us: 

“If that had gone in, look where you were,” he admonishes. “Were you ready to spring back to the center of the court if that had gone in? It looked like you were just watching.”

The child nods and mutters some sort of apology, and the drill continues here at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy, which is housed at the Randall’s Island branch of Sportime NY multi-sport academy franchise.

I went out to visit with John just to see how things were going at his academy, to find out what his intentions were and how satisfied he is with the results so far. It is, after all, hard times for American tennis. And many people either hoped or assumed that in starting his academy, McEnroe would set himself to the task of finding and shaping the next . . John McEnroe.

That assumption, while arrived at logically, isn’t entirely accurate. Baby Boomers who tend to think of McEnroe first and foremost as the driven, combative, often angry champion might be surprised to learn he is the last person to claim possession of some magic bullet to cure America’s tennis ills. In fact, he’s become something of a lone voice in the wilderness, calling for parents and tennis coaches to retain some kind of perspective—to resist the temptation to run their kids into the ground in pursuit of athletic glory.

When you look at how much older some of the most prolific ATP champion now are—they include Roger Federer, David Ferrer, and Tommy Haas—you might be tempted to give a little more thought to McEnroe’s point of view.

“Roger Federer came out of some nice Swiss country club, he was pretty well off I think,” McEnroe had told me, while we sat upstairs in his office. “(Rafael) Nadal isn’t from some normal tennis thing, but an island resort. (Novak) Djokovic—okay, he had to leave Serbia because of the war. That must have toughened him up. But I didn’t particularly come from tough circumstances myself. That’s pretty good variety right there, and it just goes to show that you can get a great player out of almost any environment.

“I don’t know what Nick Bollettieri had, because at the time I pretty much thought it was bull****. But he certainly did something that worked. So you gotta give him credit. For us, it was Harry Hopman (the guiding light of the Port Washington Tennis Academy, at which McEnroe trained). He really inspired us. I’d like to inspire some kid that way—inspire him to have that hunger, because in the end this (success in tennis) is all about effort and will.”

To “inspire.” It’s different from “develop.” Or even, “train.”

It’s a novel idea, but appreciating the difference makes it easier to understand what McEnroe is trying to achieve, as well as his resistance to becoming a tennis factory.

“I want to be a platform for sending kids off to a good college, and for giving them a good overall tennis experience. I still recommend that they play other sports, even some of these kids that are already just playing tennis here. I don’t think that’s the right thing, even though they’re good athletes. I just think it’s better for them overall—as a person—at least for a while, even if eventually they have to start playing just tennis.”

McEnroe paused, then added, “Of course, I would like to be part of getting a great player, I can’t deny that. And I still believe I would be better off inspiring a kid than some other people that are out there.”

Click Here to read full article.

Article written by Peter Bodo – Tennis.com.

Jamie Loeb won the 18s Doubles & was runner-up in18s Singles

ISC Doubles Winners

Jamie Loeb & Maegan Manasse

“Mayo Hibi didn’t care for the parallels she was seeing at the International Spring Championships.  Three years ago, Hibi had reached the 16s doubles final, lost that, and then lost the 16s singles final the next day to Alyssa Smith.

On Saturday, Hibi again lost in the doubles final, but the similarities ended there, when she played a nearly perfect match in the girls 18s final, beating No. 5 seed Jamie Loeb 6-2, 6-1 on a cool and overcast morning at the Home Depot Center.

The scoreline is a poor indicator of the length and quality of the match, which extended for over an hour and forty-five minutes.  Games were long, and the majority of the rallies saw the ball cross the net a dozen times, with some points two or three times that length.

The unseeded Hibi, who turned 17 durning the tournament, is known for her varied game and one-handed backhand, and although she didn’t abandon the slice against Loeb, she elected to stay back and trade ground strokes with the 18-year-old from New York.

“After yesterday’s match I was mentally prepared to rally for thirty shots in one point,” said Hibi, who defeated top seed and noted counterpuncher Christina Makarova 6-4, 6-1. “My ground strokes were working really well today. She did make a few more unforced errors than me today, and overall, I think I played well.”

Loeb is know for her precision and mental toughness, but with Hibi giving her virtually nothing in the unforced error department, Loeb had nowhere to turn.

“She missed like four balls all day,” said Loeb. “She played very well, very steady. We had a lot of long points and a lot of long games and she just didn’t give me any free points at all. If I felt I hit a good shot, she would come up with a better shot. It was tough. She played a very good match.”

Loeb expressed surprise that Hibi didn’t come to the net more, as that had been Hibi’s preferred style in their previous matches.

“It didn’t throw me off, but I expected her to come in more, because the past two times I played her she did serve and volley more,” Loeb said. “But from the baseline, she was very solid today, hitting her forehand well, hitting good passing shots. Her slice, I think she maybe missed one.”

Hibi lives in Irvine, California and takes private lessons from Debbie Graham, the former NCAA champion from Stanford and Top 30 WTA Professional, and Chris Lewis, the former Wimbledon finalist. Hibi believes having coaches with a professional background can only help her in achieving her goals.

“She knows what it takes to get to that level,” Hibi said of Graham.  What kind of players you play, what kind of mentality you need, what kind of game you need to beat them.”

Hibi also takes inspiration from the former champions of the International Spring Championships who have gone on to successful professional careers, like Vania King, Melanie Oudin and Sloane Stephens.

“It’s cool to watch someone on TV that you’ve actually played,” said Hibi, who is a Japanese citizen, but moved to Southern California when she was two and a half years old. “It encourages you, that you can also do the same thing if you work hard and go chase your dreams. That’s what they’ve been doing, they went through the same path.”

Hibi had not played a junior tournament this year, concentrating instead on the Pro Circuit, but said the opportunity to play so many matches while not incurring the expense of travelling made sense. After winning all six matches this week in straight sets, Hibi will be a favorite at the Easter Bowl, which begins Monday for the girls.

“It’s going to be tough, it’s always tough,” said Hibi of the quick turnaround. “Last year I played Claremont, won that, got to the quarterfinals here and semis of Easter Bowl. It’s really tiring, but you know on the tour, I usually play two or three weeks in a row, because you’re traveling. You just have to get used to it.”

Loeb thinks playing again on Monday might be good for her.

“Sometimes I tend to think about my losses too much, too long, spend too much time on it,” said Loeb. “So having a match tomorrow just makes me forget about it and have another tournament. This was a really good tournament, definitely compared to last year. I just have to forget about it. It’s not like I played horrible, I played decent, pretty well, but Mayo just played better. I have to give her the credit.”

Click Here to read full article.

Article written by Colette Lewis – Tenniskalamazoo.blogspot.com

Noah Rubin & Jamie Loeb are on a roll!

“Top seed Noah Rubin survived some impressive play by unseeded JC Aragone, taking a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory that featured some of the best rallies of the tournament. Rubin, back to competition after a long injury layoff, used his speed to hang with Aragone’s big ground strokes, raising his game as the match reached its conclusion.  Rubin will play unseeded Henrik Wiersholm, a 6-0, 6-3 winner over unseeded Ciro Riccardi.  Rubin defeated Wiersholm in straight sets in the second round of last fall’s Pan American Closed…Loeb4-4-13

Loeb, who had lost only one game in her previous two matches, led No. 11 seed Maria Shishkina of Kazakhstan 6-3, 5-1 on Thursday, but was broken in two consecutive attempts to serve out the win. Shishkina wasn’t sharp throughout most of the match, making unforced errors early in rallies, but once the end was near, she began hitting out, eliminating mistakes and pressing Loeb.

Loeb was broken serving at 5-1 and at 5-3, but she kept calm and put with the pressure back on Shishkina. Down 15-40 after netting a forehand, Shishkina thought Loeb’s shot was beyond the baseline, but it was Shishkina’s reply that was called out, giving Loeb the win, despite Shishkina’s protests.

“I was kind of on the defense and not stepping up and controlling the points,” Loeb said of her failure to end the match earlier. “The last game I focused in on one point at a time and she was making the errors, so I pulled through.”

Loeb admits that in addition to her goal of winning here in Carson and at next week’s Easter Bowl, she hopes to gain enough points to play the junior slams this summer.

“I do want to get my ranking high enough so I can make main draw of junior French and junior Wimbledon and junior US Open,” said Loeb, who has committed to play for the University of North Carolina this fall. “I’m not going to be playing any other ITFs before those.”

Loeb lost in the first round of both tournaments last year, and she believes she is a much better player now than she was then.

“I feel like I’m a different player from last year,” said Loeb, who trains at the John McEnroe Academy in New York. “Overall, I’ve improved, and I feel I’m much better than I was, even a couple months ago. Right now I feel pretty good, especially playing the women’s (Pro Circuit) tournaments. It’s definitely helped me, and since I’ve been playing against them and getting experience there, coming here, I feel good about how I’m playing.”

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Artice provided by COLETTE LEWIS – Tenniskalmazootennis.blogspot.com

Idaho hosts its first major tennis match

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic Playing in Boise, Idaho
Photo: Rhona Wise/European Pressphoto Agency

“The Davis Cup continues to have commitment issues, which is why Juan Martín Del Potro won’t be playing for Argentina in the quarterfinals this week, even though Argentina has yet to win the trophy.

But the Cup, still the premier team event in tennis, does have full commitment this year from the player atop the rankings.

Novak Djokovic is re-entrenched at No.1 and remains Serbia’s most prominent athlete and ambassador. And one of the great quirks and strengths of Davis Cup is that it can put the game’s biggest stars in unlikely places.

Through the years, Davis Cup road trips have taken Roger Federer to Casablanca, Rafael Nadal to the Czech city of Brno, John McEnroe to Dublin and Andre Agassi to Harare, Zimbabwe, with McEnroe watching and fretting from the captain’s chair.

Now the U.S. team’s desire for novelty and any whiff of an edge has brought Djokovic to Boise, Idaho: a pleasant city of about 210,000 that most foreigners and even a few Americans would struggle to place on a map.

But Boise is no tennis wasteland. It has more than 80 public outdoor courts and particularly active recreational adult leagues. It was also once home to the Idaho Sneakers, a World Team Tennis franchise whose lineup once included the American doubles stars Bob and Mike Bryan.

“We had a lot of fun,” Bob Bryan said at a news conference Tuesday. “We were just fresh out of college, happy to be on the tour, living and dying with every match, even though it didn’t mean that much in the grand scheme of things.”

But Boise has never staged a Davis Cup match or any other professional tennis match of genuine import. There are two reasons that is about to change.”

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Noah Rubin looks to win a Boys’ 18s title

Noah RubinCARSON, Calif. — Some of the world’s top junior tennis players – including five boys  ranked in the International Tennis Federation’s Top 50 – will converge here next week as the ninth annual USTA International Spring Championships takes place beginning Monday at the Home Depot Center. 
 
Noah Rubin, 17, is expected to be the top-seeded boys’ 18s player and hails from Rockville Centre, N.Y. Currently No. 20 in the world ITF rankings, Rubin was a semifinalist in the 18s last year after winning the 16s in 2011. Also last year, Rubin reached the semifinals at a USTA Pro Circuit Futures event as well as the Easter Bowl and the USTA Hardcourt Nationals at Kalamazoo, Mich., and he advanced to the quarterfinals at the French Open Juniors. 
 
Last year’s 18s singles finalist Stefan Kozlov, 15, from Pembroke Pines, Fla., is right behind Rubin at No. 21 in the world rankings. He will be seeded No. 2. 
 
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Article written by Steve Pratt, special to USTA.com