Monthly Archives: December 2013

Chesnokova Completes Impressive Jr. Orange Bowl Run

Young JMTA’er, Anastasiya Chesnokova, lost last week to fellow Ukrainian, 9th seeded Anastasia Poplavska in the 2nd round of the main draw of the 2013 Junior Orange Bowl.  That match culminated a week of tennis for Anastasiya.  Not ranked high enough to be placed directly into the main draw, Anastasiya won three straight matches in the qualifying rounds to make it to the main draw.  In the main draw, Anastasiya shocked Japan’s Riko Suzuki, 6-1, 6-1, before falling to Poplavska.  Felix Alvarado, Anastasiya’s Coach, is “very proud of Anastasiya and excited to see how she does in upcoming tournaments.”

Anastasiya Chesnokova Qualifies for Junior Orange Bowl and Wins First Round!

Anastasiya and Riko at Orange Bowl

Anastasiya and Riko at Orange Bowl

Over the summer of 2013, JMTA’s newest young star, 12 year old Anastasiya Chesnokova, came to JMTA from her home in the Ukraine seeking an academy to train at in New York.  Assistant Academy Director Felix Alvarado showed Anastasiya and her father around the facility, told them JMTA’s philosophy, and showed them the caliber of the players enrolled in the Academy.  Impressed by both the Academy and Felix’s successes with other top girls, Anastasiya and her family decided this is the place and Felix is the coach for her! The Chesnokov’s relocated to NY at the end of the summer and she has been training at JMTA ever since.

Felix and Anastasiya began working together in earnest this fall and, even with the language barrier, immediately found a connection.  Training with Felix and practicing at the Academy, Anastasiya quickly elevated her game. She is currently competing in Junior Orange Bowl and doing well.  Yesterday, she won her third qualifying match, 6-3, 6-1, and advanced to the main draw.

On Tuesday, in the first round of the main draw, Anastasiya faced Riko Suzuki of Japan (pictured with Anastasiya at right).  While Riko did not need to qualify, she was no match for Anastasiya, who won the match 6-1, 6-1.  On Wednesday, Anastasiya will be tested by a fellow Ukrainian, 9th seeded Anastasia Poplavska.

Check back soon for further updates.

Younger JMTA’ers Sonia Tartakovsky and Anastasiya Chesnokova Compete in Orange Bowl Qualifiers

Sonia Tartakovsky hits a forehand at Orange Bowl 2013.

Sonia Tartakovsky hits a forehand at Orange Bowl 2013.

Sonia Tartakovsky (pictured right) and Anastasiya Chesnokova are down in Florida this week to represent JMTA in this year’s Girls 12 and Under Orange Bowl.  Sonia, a veteran JMTA’er, has been training at JMTA since the age of 9 and, like Anastasiya, has the advantage of having Felix Alvarado as her Coach.  Anastasiya, on the other hand, is in her first year here at JMTA and progressing nicely.

Entering the tournament, both Sonia and Anastasiya needed to qualify for the main draw.  While both received a bye into the 2nd qualification round, only Anastasiya was able to move on as Sonia was defeated in a heart-breaker (2-6, 6-2, 7-6[8]).  Anastasiya, on the other hand, won her 2nd round match 6-3, 6-1, her 3rd round match 6-2, 6-2, and is playing her final qualification match Monday.  If she wins, she will be entered into the main draw beginning Tuesday.

Check back in tomorrow for Anastasiya’s results.


JMTA’er Jamie Loeb Dominates the Fall Season!

Jamie just finished up the best fall tennis season in UNC history just one win away from a perfect season, ending the fall 19-1. Jamie’s domination of women’s college tennis is best shown in numbers.  In the 20 matches Jamie played, she managed to drop only three sets (two of which came in her lone loss to Texas’ Breaunna Addison), giving her a 93% winning percentage.  Also, illustrating her dominance, Jamie lost three games or less in 75% of the 41 sets she played.  These opponents are hardly pushovers.  In fact, 19 of her 20 matches were against NCAA ranked opponents and 7 of her 19 wins came against opponents in the top-20, including wins over the #1, #2, #3, and #4 ranked college players in the country!  And, to top it off, Jamie became the first freshman in NCAA history to win the ITA All-American and ITA Indoor Championships in the same season, and the first UNC Woman to win an ITA fall major in singles.

With her remarkable performance comes obvious questions about Jamie’s next steps.  I sat down with Jamie’s JMTA coach, Felix Alvarado, to discuss Jamie’s future:

Q: Does Jamie plan on turning pro and if so, when?

A: The short answer is yes. The timing is what we don’t know yet. We have to wait and see how the spring season develops.  If she dominates the spring like she did in the fall, then it is more likely that she will turn pro after her freshman year.

Q: What are Jamie’s feelings about turning pro?

A: She is very excited, but like me, is not sure of when to take the next step.  She enjoys playing in college and enjoys the team, the coaches, and UNC in general, but she is not sure when to make the plunge.

Q: What factors go into determining when to turn pro?

A: There are many factors that go into her decision, many of them personal, but winning NCAA’s would be a good time to turn pro as she would receive a wild card into the U.S. Open main draw.

Q: Jamie was almost unbeatable this year, which raises questions about the competition level in NCAA D1 tennis. Do you feel the level of competition is holding her back?

A: I don’t think it is holding her back because she is getting good practice and a lot of match play experience.  However, if she stays too long, then I think she’ll plateau.  She absolutely made the right decision to go to college, and I trust she will make the right decision, whatever it is, when it comes to turning pro.

Jamie returns to JMTA next week to continue training with Felix.  Then, just before the NCAA spring season begins, she’ll play in The Vero Beach International Tennis Open, a $25K pro tournament.  Jamie’s performance in the spring season will have a big influence on her decision whether or not to turn pro after her freshman year.

Lebedev Ousted; Golovin Advances in 2013 Orange Bowl

This week the world’s best juniors have gathered at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida for the 2013 Orange Bowl.  The John McEnroe Tennis Academy sent two of our best juniors, Jessica Golovin and Sasha Lebedev, to represent JMTA in the tournament.  While Sasha did not need to qualify for the main draw, Jessica did, and did so by winning three straight matches in the qualifying rounds.  Main draw matches began this week.

Sasha, competing in the Boys 16s, played a great first round match against M. Maldonado Rodriguez from Ecuador, beating him 6-2, 6-1.  However, in today’s 2nd round match, Sasha faced 8th seeded Soon Woo Kwon of South Korea.  Sasha fought hard, but couldn’t keep up with Kwon and lost the match 6-3, 6-2.

The Girl’s 18s tournament is one round behind, so Jessica played her 1st round match today.  Her opening round opponent, Anastasiya Rychagova, did not need to play 3 matches to qualify for the main draw like Jessica did.  Still, Jessica was willing to go the distance.  After splitting the first two sets,  Jessica won the 3rd set to win the match 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 and advance to a 2nd round match up vs. the #16 seed, Isabelle Wallace of Great Britain.  Jessica’s JMTA coach, Bruce Haddad, was very excited with her win.  “She’s a fighter,” said Bruce, and “she has a heart of gold!”  Jessica moves on to play Wallace Wednesday morning.

McEnroe Wins Statoil Masters Tennis Legends Title!

Representing his academy well, John McEnroe won the Statoil Masters Tennis Legends title for the third time, defeating Mats Wilander in the final 6-2, 6-4.  Below is a portion of an article posted on the ATP Champions Tour website,, documenting John and Mats’ post match thoughts.  For the full length article, click here.

John McEnroe captured the Statoil Masters Tennis Legends title for the third year in a row on Sunday as he defeated Mats Wilander 6-2, 6-4 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

“I’m figuring I have maybe one or two more years against Mats; he’s getting closer,” said McEnroe, who also defeated Wilander in last year’s final. “So next year it’ll probably go to a third set; that may be the time to hang it up. So that means I can come back one more time!”

Wilander said, “It’s great to get three matches in here plus doubles with Mansour [Bahrami] and John [McEnroe] the other day. I think it’s John that said it’s our Wimbledon these days.”

“I was playing well. I was hitting the ball clean,” said McEnroe. “I got a little careless and Mats’ concentration is great so he takes advantage of some opportunities when they come up. I would have liked to have done a little better with the first serve. The percentage was a bit low for indoors. Other than that I feel like I was hitting the ball great and returning great, putting a lot of pressure on his serve. I was feeling good.”

Wilander said, “John is hitting the ball extremely well. He returns so well. I think that’s something that has maybe got better with age. It’s really hard to find a space in the service box that he doesn’t get to. He seems to read my serve and he’s just a little too good, especially on the big points.”

Lebedev Beats Three Seeded Players to Reach Panama Bowl Finals

JMTA’er Sasha Lebedev went into Panama Bowl unseeded and facing an extremely tough draw.  While his first round match was against another unseeded player, whom he beat 6-2, 6-4, each round after that he would have to beat a seed to advance.  In the 2nd round he took down 8th seeded Lenhard 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.  In the quarterfinals he defeated the #3seed, Valencia 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.  And then in the semifinals he bested the #2 seed, Racanelli Sessa 6-3, 6-4 to reach the finals.

Sasha’s final opponent, top seeded Diego Quiroz, dominated his draw on the way to the finals.  Diego reached the finals without losing a set.  Moreover, in the 8 sets it took him to reach the finals, he lost a total of 14 games (less than 2 games lost per set).  However, Diego wouldn’t be able to dominate Sasha like he did the rest of his opponents.  After losing the 1st set rather easily, Sasha bared down and broke Diego’s unbeaten set streak by winning the 2nd set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (4).  However, Diego was too much for Sasha and ended up winning the 3rd and deciding set 6-2 for a final score of 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-2.  Still, Panama Bowl proved to be an amazing tournament for Sasha and his result should boost his ranking for the new year.

McEnroe Pays Tribute to the Late Nelson Mandela

While playing in the United Kingdom at the Statoil Masters Tennis Tournament, John was asked about his relationship with former South African President, Nelson Mandela.  An article posted on the Champions Tour website ( details John’s admiration for the late world leader.

John McEnroe paid tribute to Nelson Mandela on Friday evening, describing the late South African President as ‘the most magical person I ever met’.

They met in Johannesburg after Mandela had become President.

“It hit home so hard, because it seemed that here was a guy that appeared to have absolutely no bitterness for what he had gone through and here I was complaining about every line-call and how tough it was to be on the tennis circuit,” said McEnroe. “Perspective became very apparent and mine changed rather quickly when I saw the way he looked at things. That one meeting I remember thinking this guy was like an Angel on earth, the most magical person I ever met.”

At that meeting, Mandela told McEnroe that he had listened to the McEnroe vs. Borg 1980 Wimbledon final on a radio in his prison cell in Robins Island.

“It was very humbling obviously that he had gone out of his way to talk about that to me in a brief encounter,” said McEnroe. “It was magical and amazing that a tennis match that had meant a lot to me, and made an impact in tennis, had also made an impact on him. It’s something I’ll never forget and it’s top of the list (in terms of recollections I’ve heard about that match).”

Mac Beats Ferreira in Statoil Masters Tennis Tournament

Our own John McEnroe is in London, England this week competing in the Statoil Masters Tennis Tournament at the world famous Royal Albert Hall.  John has won this season-ending Masters Tour event 4 times (’97 – ’99, ’03)! In his 1st match of his tournament, despite giving away over 10 years to his youthful, 42 year old opponent, Mac defeated former #6 in the world, Wayne Ferreira, 7-6(9), 6-2.  Mac was up 5-1 in the opening set tiebreak before allowing Wayne to fight his way back, but John recovered to prevail,  11-9.  That momentum lead him an easier time in the 2nd set, which he won 6-2.  Below is a portion of an article from the ATP Champions Tour website.  Click here for the full length article.

“It wasn’t without its drama – would it be a John McEnroe match otherwise? – but the American opened his Statoil Masters Tennis campaign with a 7-6(9), 6-2 victory over former World No. 6 Wayne Ferreira on Thursday evening.

McEnroe kissed the net after a lucky net cord gave him a 4-2 lead, but Ferreira came back to force a tie-break, hitting arguably the shot of the match in the process when he returned a McEnroe smash with a smash winner of his own from the baseline. “Oh, that felt good!” exclaimed the South African.

McEnroe squandered a 5-1 lead in a pulsating tie-break, but eventually prevailed 11-9. Buoyed by the lead, the American, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, put his foot down in the second set and claimed victory with two breaks in 87 minutes.”

Rozenstein Eliminated; Lebedev Moves on the QF in Panama

JMTA’ers Julian Rozenstein and Sasha Lebedev, both competing in Panama Bowl, finished up their 2nd round matches yesterday.  Julian, after winning his 1st round match 6-4, 6-1, faced off against 4th seeded Jose Fernando Carvajal Torres in the 2nd round.  Though he put up a good fight, Julian couldn’t stick with Torres and lost,  6-2, 7-5.  Julian’s coach, Felix Alvarado, is not exactly excited with Julian’s result.  “Julian tried hard and gave it his all, but this tournament showed us that we need to work on consistency”, said Felix, “to really improve his ranking, Julian needs to be making the final rounds of these tournaments.  I have to get him playing at that level and thinking in that mindset.”

Sasha, on the other hand, won both his 1st round match (6-2, 6-4) and his 2nd round match (6-1, 2-6, 6-2). Sasha beat the #8 seed, Rafael Lenhard, to reach the Quarterfinals where he will take on 3rd seeded Alejandro Valencia.  Sasha’s coach, Lawrence Kleger, sees this quarterfinal match-up as a good indicator of Sasha’s progress and current form. “This is an important match for Sasha”, says Lawrence, “To beat the #3 seed and reach the semis would be a great result.” Sasha’s quarterfinal match will take place on Thursday.

JMTA Students Win 2 National Opens! Others Post Excellent Results in Recent Events

Boys 12s at Flushing Meadow, NY

Ethan Leon – Bethpage – Won the Singles and Doubles Titles without dropping a set!

Spencer Brachman – Bethpage – Quarters in Singles and won 1 Round Consolation; Doubles Finalist

Kabir Rajpal-Bethpage – Won 1 Round in Consolation Singles

Boys 12s at Augusta, GA

Evan Lee-Randall’s Island – Lost 1st Round Singles

Girls 12s at Queens Village, NY

MK Hannity-Bethpage – Quarters Singles

Perene Wang-Randall’s Island – Won 2 Rounds in Consolation Singles

Boys 14s at Austin, TX

Neel Raj-Bethpage – Won 1 Round in Consolation Singles

BG14s at Rocky Hill, CT

Lauren Haukova – Randall’s Island – Semifinals Singles; Doubles Finalist

Michelle Sorokko – Bethpage – Quarters Singles; Doubles Semifinalist

Sasha Bekirova – Randall’s Island – Round of 16 Singles; Doubles Semifinalist

Cannon Kingsley – Bethpage – Round of 16 and won 2 Rounds in Consolation Singles

Danny Pellerito – Bethpage – Round of 16 and won 1 Round in Consolation; Doubles Quarterfinalist

Sean Wei – Lake Isle – Won 3 Rounds in Consolation Singles

Luke Smith – Lake Isle – Round of 16 Singles

Alan Delman – Bethpage – Won 1 Round of Consolation Singles

Ashley Lessen – Bethpage – 1 Round of Consolation Singles

Boys 16s at Midland, MI

Patrick Hannity – Bethpage – Round of 32 in Singles; Doubles Quarterfinalist

BG 16s at Wayland, MA

Sabrina Xiong – Randall’s Island – Won Singles Title without losing more than 5 games in any match!

Lubo Cuba-Bethpage – Quarterfinals Singles

Athell Bennett – Bethpage – Won 2 Rounds in Consolation Singles; Doubles Quarterfinalist

Sabrina Barisano – Lake Isle – Won 1 Round in Consolation Singles; Doubles Semifinalist

Oliver Sec – Randall’s Island – Lost 1st Round Singles

Rozenstein and Lebedev Play Opening Round Matches in Panama Bowl

After his stellar performance in the Bahamas, boosting his ranking by 645 spots, JMTA’er Julian Rozenstein took his momentum to Panama to play in the Panama Bowl.  He and fellow JMTA’er Sasha Lebedev, also competing in Panama Bowl, played their respective first round matches today.  Julian beat his 1st round opponent, Franz Luna Lavidalie, 6-4, 6-1, while Sasha’s match finished too late to publish the results.  Continue to check the blog throughout the week for Panama Bowl updates.