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Tennis Briefs: Venus Williams Iffy for Fed Cup; Diabetes Scholarships; USA Deaf Open

April 4, 2010 07:00 PM
 

 Venus (right) and sister Serena Williams

by Rick Vach, ustaflorida.com

Venus Iffy for Fed Cup, Will Decide Quickly

U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez is hoping to get some Williams sister help to pair with Melanie Oudin for the April 24-25, 2010 Fed Cup tie versus Russia, to be played in Birmingham, Ala. Serena Williams is likely out due to the knee problem that has kept her off tour the past few weeks.

Now elder sister Venus Williams remains a question mark after appearing injured in a quick straight-set loss to Kim Clijsters in the Sony Ericsson Open final in Miami on Saturday.

"I will take a rest and get ready for the claycourt season," said Venus on Saturday after her loss. "I don't think [Mary Joe] wants to talk to me about Fed Cup right now. Wouldn't be the best answer right now. I think she has been smart enough not ask me about Fed Cup. She'll wait a few days until I'm feeling a little better and a little less in the moment...I always want to play Fed Cup, my goal was to see how I felt physically after this tournament. I think it would be nice to have the matches, too.  So obviously I will have to make a decision pretty quickly."

Fellow ATP Players Weigh In on Odesnik Doping Matter

ATP player and Miami-area resident Wayne Odesnik was caught by Australian customs officials with eight vials of human growth hormone (HGH) in his luggage, and his fellow players continue to distance themselves from the incident and reiterate that tennis is a "clean" sport when it comes to doping.

Odesnik is playing at the ATP event in Houston this week but is not speaking to the media.

"That's just plain cheating and they should throw him out of tennis," said fellow American Andy Roddick. "There's just no room for it. I was shocked. I was surprised. You know, we don't need stories like that. I know that's the minority. If that's the case, I have zero sympathy...for us to lose a guy in the Top 100, it makes me a little angry, you know...I don't want that stigma attached to our country and to our players, so it really pisses me off...The ATP and the powers that be in tennis have done every single thing possible, you know, with the exception of assigning a person to follow each person around 24 hours a day and sleep with the person, to mitigate these problems."

Roddick says he can't see a doping problem in tennis with the extensive testing done by the ATP via the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

"I don't see how there can be," Roddick said. "I mean, unless everybody's packing vials of stuff in their bags and smuggling it into countries, which I don't -- God, I have a hard time believing that, you know."

Odesnik pleaded guilty and was fined $8,320, and faces a two-year suspension as WADA and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) are currently conducting investigations. The 24-year-old is currently ranked No. 98 in the world.

Odesnik had reportedly casually told at least one fellow Florida-based ATP player that he was using substances. Florida's James Blake, speaking to reporters in Miami, was not totally surprised at the news of Odesnik's escapades.

"I wouldn't say shocked is the word, because sports is a business and people are trying to find ways to get ahead and that's unfortunate," Blake said. "I wish it didn't happen in sports, but I think we're all realistic in the fact that it does happen and we do the best possible job of policing...I hope it doesn't sully our sport as much. You want to feel like you're playing on a fair playing field. I've always felt we have in the ATP."

Young Tennis Players with Diabetes -- $15,000 in Scholarships Available

World TeamTennis is currently accepting applications from youth tennis players with diabetes for the Novo Nordisk Donnelly Awards. The Novo Nordisk Donnelly Awards annually distribute $15,000 in scholarships, including two one-time $5,000 scholarships given to two young people ages 12-21 who have diabetes and play tennis competitively in tournaments or on their school team. Two regional finalist awards of $2,500 are also included in the scholarship program.

Applications must be received by April 15, 2010, along with two letters of recommendation and a short essay regarding the significance of diabetes in the applicant's life. The awards are to be used for education, tennis development and/or medical care. The recipients of the $5,000 scholarships will receive their awards at a World TeamTennis Pro League match in July 2010 from WTT co-founder Billie Jean King. 

The scholarship program was established by King, through WTT Charities, in 1998 to encourage children with diabetes to lead an active life and compete in tennis. For more details on the Novo Nordisk Donnelly Awards and to download an application form, visit www.WTT.com/DonnellyAwards

Tennis Manga Graphic Novel to Benefit Andre Agassi Foundation for Education

Created by Catherine Chen, a 16-year-old USTA junior competitor from Southern California, the manga series "Aced, Volume One" follows the "journey of a Japanese fifth grade student and her fun-filled tennis career." The proceeds from the comic will benefit The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. 

"She is a total novice, but with her coach, a pro who had to retire due to injuries, and her supportive best friend, things are going to get interesting!" says the author Chen.

Go to www.yutopian.com/aced to get a preview where you can see the front and back covers, sample pages, and order from the secured shopping cart by Yutopian Enterprises.

Inaugural Deaf Tennis Open Tournament Announced

USA Deaf Sports Federation in conjunction with DeafNation will host the first-ever USA Deaf Tennis Open, to be held on July 15-19, 2010, at Las Vegas Hilton Tennis Center and Lorenzi Park Tennis Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Open will be held prior to the DeafNation World Expo on July 19-23, 2010.

Sanctioned by the International Committee of the Sport for the Deaf, and recognized by the United States Tennis Association (USTA)-Nevada District, the USA Deaf Tennis Open will have four following events that will be counted toward tennis ranking points.: Open Men's Singles, Open Women's Singles, Open Men's Doubles, Open Women's Doubles.

The Open will also have three non-ranking point events: Open Mixed Doubles, Men's Over-35 Singles and Women's Over-35 Singles. Doubles events for Over-35 will be determined, based on the number of entries received. Current Tennis Ranking Points can be found at www.deaflympics.com/pdf/RankingPoints-Tennis.pdf

Eligible participants must a hearing loss of 55 decibels (dBs) or greater in the better ear over an average of 500/1000/2000 Hertz. If you are interested in competing in the Open, please contact your country's deaf sports federation. If you have question about the Open, contact the organizing committee at usa@ciss.org. In addition to the four-day competition, the Open will begin with an opening ceremony on Thursday, July 15, and end with an award ceremony during the DeafNation World Expo Evening Event at Treasure Island Pool area on Monday, July 19.

Information about the DeafNation World Expo is available at http://deafnation.com/deafnationworldexpo. To obtain more information please contact Chris Kaftan, the Communications & Media Specialist at kaftan@usdeafsports.org.

 

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