Now that the ATP and WTA tour season have come to an end, the wacky exhibition season is upon us, where some of the top stars rake in millions for themselves and/or their favorite charities. Andy Roddick and friends helped out Elton John and Billie Jean King, and pals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are currently on a tour of South American exhibitions and glacier-visiting. The Bryan brothers are doing a tour of the Midwest and beyond, and talked about tennis exhibitions, Mardy Fish's pro golf quest and more with Tennis.com. And ESPN's Kamakshi Tandon also wrote about the lucrative exo season and Nadal and David Nalbandian's antics. "Hilarity also ensued in Chile, where Nadal absent-mindedly answered a news conference question in English, which he habitually uses most of the year. 'Speak in Spanish, idiot,' a stern Nalbandian instructed."
|Not a chilly relationship between the current and former No. 1s
The changing face of youth tennis in Florida was profiled when Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union newspaper featured the Team Tennis Challenge event in nearby Amelia Island. The series of open events, hosted by USTA Florida and presented by Wilson Racquet Sports, feature a new "BYOT" (bring your own team) format and do not require previous team tennis league participation. Both USTA members and non-members can participate, with USTA members receiving a $10 discount on registration. "Already organizers are talking about doubling the number of such stops around the state in 2014," writes the Times-Unions Jeff Elliot. "Another innovation that has gained the endorsement of many is that participants will play on just one day. Depending on the size of the tournament, it might stretch over a two-day period, but youngsters will play all their matches on just one day."
Roger Federer's got style, but does he have the most panache in the sporting world? Not according to GQ magazine, which put the Swiss at No. 7 on its "GQ's 20 Most Stylish Athletes of 2013" list. GQ says, if you haven't been paying attention, athletes are ditching the sweats for sweaters and ties, and in Tom Brady's case, really bad fur jackets. GQ writes, "...there's now a full-blown style revolution happening in the world of sports. The resulting crop of sharp-suited athletes are challenging even the savviest Hollywood A-listers and sidewalk peacocks for the title of best-dressed celebrities on the planet." Of Federer, GQ noted, "Federer favors subdued colors and simple menswear mixes, usually anchored by a crisp white shirt, and the timeless kits are what separate him from athlete pack. Even his white Nike-sponsored uniform, with interlocking gold initials, looks more like luxury menswear than any performance piece in play." Also on the list were Andy Murray at No. 18, and Tomas Berdych at No. 20. "After reclaiming Wimbledon in the name of the Kingdom, [Murray] went on to further victory in trim fitting suits and narrow ties. With his ever-present stubble and tousled just-so hair, he may not be the most refined guy on the court, but this is what makes him stand out from the manufactured handsomeness of his competitors." But Federer is not exempt from his own struggling fashion moments.
|A young Roger Federer competing at Florida's Orange Bowl, before he discovered emblazoned beige jackets
Seven Teams Place at League Nationals in 2013;
Florida Women Win 65s Intersectionals
Two Florida teams captured USTA League national championships,while an additional five teams placed 2nd or 3rd in what was one of the top seasons nationally for USTA Florida League teams in 2013.
|The Casselberry Women's 40 & Over 3.5 team in Indian Wells
|The Jacksonville Women's 18 & Over 3.5 team in Tucson
|The USTA Florida Women's 65s Intersectionals team
Capturing USTA League national championships were the Jacksonville Women's 18 & Over 3.5 team out of San Jose Country Club, and the Casselberry Women's 40 & Over 3.5 team playing out of Red Bug Lake Park.
The Casselberry women won in Indian Wells, Calif., edging the USTA Pacific Northwest team from Portland, Ore., by the score of 3-2. The team's roster for the season was comprised of Stephanie Schwartzberg (captain), Ida Burgos, Christina Moore, Cristina Shams, Dianne Gocek, Pam Sheehan, Marlene Gasner, Sharon Browning, Kim Wells, Debby Savino, Vicki Browning, Sherri Testa, Suzanne Dukes, Blanche Jaoude, Stacy Shishima, Cindy Dewitt, Alaine Kaminsky, Shanda Redding, and Mary Gravenmier.
The Jacksonville women overwhelmed the USTA Mid-Atlantic (Rockville, Md.) team 4-1 in their final.
"Incredible, this is incredible," said Jacksonville captain Claudia Eikner after their win in Tucson, Ariz. "Amazing women are on this team. Hard work does really pay off."
In addition to Eikner, the regular-season roster featured Amy Cochran, Janice Walsh, Nancy Hanna, Andrea Frick, Deonne Josserand, Catherine Tiedeberg, Jennifer Greer, Rosemary Jackson, Carolina Rechy, Katharine Healey, Cindy Berzsenyi, Denise Press, Mary Thompson, Cynthia Hack, Raquel Clark, and Kelly Cusick.
Other teams placing at USTA League National Championships were:
2nd -- Ocala, Ft. King Tennis Center, Mixed 18 & Over 2.5
2nd -- Fleming Island, Pace Island Tennis Center, 40 & Over Women's 3.0
3rd -- Indian Harbour Beach, Kiwi Tennis Club, 18 & Over Women's 4.0
3rd -- Jacksonville, Florida Yacht Club, 18 & Over Women's 5.0
3rd -- Tallahassee, Forestmeadows Park and Athletic Center, Mixed 18 & Over 8.0
The USTA Florida Women's 65s squad of Trish Faulkner, Carol Clay, Toni Novack and Betty Wachob also finished first at the 2013 USTA National Women's Intersectional Team Event, which featured the 35-80 age divisions, held in November at The Swim & Racquet Center in Boca Raton. Other USTA Florida Section teams placed two in 2nd, two in 3rd, and one in 4th.
For the complete stories and photos or for more info go to www.ustaflorida.com -> News -> and search under Leagues.
They Said It
"A few years ago, I wrote Serena [Williams] an open letter, asking her to rethink her priorities and to realize that she was short-changing herself by letting outside interests surpass her tennis. I wrote: 'I offer this only as advice, not criticism, from someone with experience...Just remember that you have in front of you an opportunity of the rarest kind -- to become the greatest ever at something.' It caused some controversy, but I always stood by it. I'm the first to give constructive criticism when I think it's deserved, But I'm also the first to give praise when it's deserved. In 2013, Serena, my Sportswoman [of the Year], deserves more praise than any other athlete in sports."
-- Chris Evert writing for SI.com
"The system itself is so complex, and it's not working for players because ATP is 50 percent players, 50 percent tournaments, right? So every time you want to vote for something, you have to get the super majority of votes. That means four against two, which is impossible, because you're going against tournaments, and tournaments have their own rights, and it comes down to the president. Players have no energy or time to spend on these things. Then they involve their agents. It gets complicated, prolonged, whatever, politics. We don't have time for politics."
-- Novak Djokovic on the current men's tour set-up, compared to pre-1990 when the ATP was a player's union only
"This is one of the ways we got inspired is to come to events like this when we were younger and we met pros like Andre Agassi. We will try to talk to every kid, sign every autograph, take pictures and do our best to make it fun for them."
-- Mike Bryan on playing an exhibition this off-season with his brother Bob in Wilmington, N.C.
Tennis on TV This Weekend
2pm -- Davis Cup Highlights: Best of 2013, Tennis Channel
9am -- WTA Championships Final (repeat), Tennis Channel
2pm -- Australian Open Men's Singles Final (repeat), Tennis Channel
6:30pm -- Wimbledon Men's Singles Final (repeat), Tennis Channel
9am -- 16-Love: Tennis Phenoms, Tennis Channel
The USTA Florida Friday blog is written by USTA Florida Communications Coordinator Rick Vach, former publications editor for the ATP World Tour, editor/publisher of International Tennis and Play Tennis Florida magazine, and award-winning contributor to Tennis Week magazine. Got feedback, want a USTA or tennis-related question answered in the blog, or want to express your opinion? E-mail HERE