Florida Tennis Ties to Wimbledon Champions
Florida-based or Florida-linked players cleaned-up over the weekend at Wimbledon, where Palm Beach Gardens' Serena Williams claimed her fifth singles title at the All England Club, and the women's doubles title with sister Venus.
In the singles final the No. 6-seeded Serena defeated No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
"I can't even describe it," Serena said afterwards. "I almost didn't make it. A few years ago, I was in the hospital, and now I'm here again. It's so worth it, and I'm so happy...My serve really helped me throughout this tournament, I think. I just had the rhythm, kind of felt it."
In the doubles final the unseeded Serena and Venus defeated No. 6-seeded Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-5, 6-4.
"It's definitely more fun," Serena said of playing doubles with Venus versus playing singles. "At the same time, the last thing I want to do is let Venus down. In singles, it's OK if I let myself down. You put so much pressure on yourself."
It was the sisters' fifth Wimbledon doubles title and 13th doubles title at a Grand Slam.
The 2012 Wimbledon mixed doubles title was won by former Florida Gator Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan, who with his brother Bob train part-time in Wesley Chapel, Fla., at the Saddlebrook Tennis Academy. In the final the No. 2 seeds beat the No. 4-seeded team of India's Leander Paes and Russia's Elena Vesnina 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
"It was a blast playing with Lisa all week," Bryan said. "Obviously the match was up and down. We could have closed it out there in straights. Unfortunately, I got broken. We had match points. She's pretty resilient. We fought through the adversity. She kept raising her game and kind of carried me through the finish...We're looking forward to hopefully playing the Olympics. That's why we jumped in here. She e-mailed me first, and I'd like to play with the No. 1 player in the world anytime."
Florida can also stake a claim to men's runner-up Andy Murray, who trains part-time in Miami, and is coached by Vero Beach resident Ivan Lendl. Before losing in the men's final to Roger Federer, Murray said he draws inspiration from Miami Heat NBA star LeBron James, who also took a great amount of criticism before finally breaking through for his first NBA title this year. Like Lendl, Murray is now 0-4 in his first four career Grand Slam finals, but this year was the first British man to reach the Wimbledon singles final in more than 70 years.
Florida Tennis Blog: USTA FL at 16's Intersectionals
|Past USTA Florida 16s Intersectionals participants
|Florida Atlantic University Men's Tennis Coach Brandon Stokes blogs from Shreveport, La., where he is coaching the USTA Florida Section's 16's Intersectionals team, featuring some of the top 16-year-old players in Florida facing players from the other 16 USTA sections:
Team Florida Day 1 Intersectional Tournament
Day 1 Recap
Team Flo-rid-a, marked with a distinctive and mysterious "Fear the Quack" cheer, made a positive statement on the first day of the 16's Intersectionals. The usually-sweltering Shreveport, hosting its 19th consecutive Intersectionals, was uncharacteristically cooler today. This combined with a 5 of 6 singles dominance and the sweep of 3 doubles matches has the Quack in a healthy state of mind, body, and spirit.
The first singles matches went on court at 930am central time. Stephen "the Matterhorn" Madonia earned the first point for the 2012 team with a 6-2, 6-3 victory by 11:04am at the 3 singles position. The Northern section answered at 2 singles on the girls side. Ally "the M-alley" Miller fought but came up short against a gamer 5-7, 3-6. Team Flo-rid-a would not relinquish another point all day. Christy "the Brigadier General" Brigante at 3 singles made it 2-1 in our favor by 11:50am with a 6-2, 6-2 win. The boys side took over for a spell as Christian "Langer" Langmow won 6-2, 6-1 at the 1 position by 12:05pm. Tate "Tator Tot" Allwardt put us in front 4-1 with a 6-2, 6-2 win.
It was 12:28 pm and the team was hungry and restless. All eyes focused on position 1 singles and Mia "magnificent and humble" Horvit won the first set, dropped the second set, and came out sharp in the third. It would last an hour as Mia held serve every time with smart serve selections and popping patterns. She broke serve 2 times to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a 3-hour classy and high-level tennis match. The "magnificent and humble" number 1 player for Flo-rid-a clinched our first team match of the tournament followed up with an on court team hug and quacks heard around the facility.
We had a yummy lunch break at a local diner called Newks. Then a brief respite in air conditioning to rest and clean up for doubles. The matches started at 4pm and promptly stopped at 4:10pm for 40 minutes with a little southern lightning to remind us who is ultimately in charge.
Team Flo-rid-a resumed play and dominated the first sets on every court...and continued it in the second sets as well. Our mixed doubles team of the Matterhorn and M-alley won 6-3, 6-0 to make the team score 6-1. Four minutes later at 5:40pm our girls doubles team of Brigadier General and Star "light Star bright" Makarome made it 7-1 with a 6-1,6-0 victory. The final match of the day showcased the boys doubles team of Langer and Paul An'drey "many names but only one cool attitude" Pierre-Louis. The boys clinched the team victory 6-2, 6-3 for our team. Final score 8-1.
The team knows our effort, attitude, and spirit were solid today. We will continue to bring those qualities and more relentless energy tomorrow versus the Southwest section. Singles play begins at 1130am and doubles start at 5pm.
We are eating homemade lasagna and spaghetti with salad and bread tonight as a team with our host families. A fun and productive first day for our young, classy, sweet, and tough team.
USTA National Debuts US Open Sportsmanship Award
The USTA has announced the creation of the "US Open Sportsmanship Award," which will be presented to one male and one female professional tennis player who best demonstrates excellence in sportsmanship throughout the Emirates Airline US Open Series and the US Open. The award will be presented to each winner during the 2012 US Open.
"We believe that great sports make a sport great," said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen. "Professional athletes in our sport are viewed as role models by fans across the globe. The US Open is a great opportunity to recognize the positive impact these athletes can make in promoting excellence in sportsmanship through the game of tennis."
Under Vegosen's leadership, the USTA started a Sportsmanship Committee in 2011.
The US Open Sportsmanship Award winners will be selected by a committee comprised of Chairman Todd Martin, sportscaster and USTA Serves President Mary Carillo, tennis writer Matt Cronin, U.S. Fed Cup Captain and U.S. Olympic Tennis Coach Mary Joe Fernandez, USTA Sportsmanship Committee Vice Chair and USTA Texas Past President Lars Rosene, USTA Board Member Chanda Rubin, and Vegosen.
"The USTA believes strongly in the importance of good sportsmanship in making tennis more enjoyable for all," Martin said. "Players, parents, and coaches alike all share responsibility in ensuring that good sportsmanship always is an integral part of competition -- regardless of the level of play. When players adhere to the rules of fair play and parents and coaches encourage good sportsmanship by their own actions and examples, the sport benefits -- and becomes more enjoyable and beneficial to all involved."
Eligibility requirements for potential winners include participating in at least two US Open Series tournaments, as well as the 2012 US Open. In addition to a trophy, each US Open Sportsmanship Award winner will receive a $5,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice. For more information go to www.usopenseries.com