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USTA FL Friday Blog: Sampras Speaks Out; Aussie Open

January 9, 2014 10:17 PM
Sampras_01.jpgPete Sampras shared some life lessons and perspectives on sports in a lengthy interview with KHTK Radio in Sacramento, Calif., ahead of one of the Powershare Series "senior" tour stops. Here's Pete on:

Sports being no 'Keeping up with the Kardashians': "In life, in a lot of ways, you see a lot of people get breaks when they don't deserve them. I just feel that with sports, nothing is given to you, you have to go out there and earn it. There are a lot of good life lessons that you can learn from sports and it's something I am trying to instill in my kids."

Making an indentation in the couch: "I love sports. I love watching anything from the NFL to golf to college football. I think sports is the real deal. There are great stories. There are emotional stories. It's very real. I love tennis because it is the ultimate one on one sport. It's one will against another will. You put it all out there. If you don't play well, you are going to lose. That's the way I kind of like it."

Other countries catching up to the U.S. in tennis: "Through television and the internet, it seems like there are just more people playing tennis. You look at the top players in the world, you got Rafa (Nadal) being from Mallorca and (Novak) Djokovic being from Serbia and Roger (Federer) from Switzerland. Twenty years ago, maybe tennis wasn't popular in those countries, now they are and the best athletes from these countries are playing tennis and not just playing soccer...Maybe college tennis in this country isn't quite what the satellite tour might be in Europe. There are a lot of different reasons. At the end of the day, I think the world has gotten a little bit more into tennis..."

Still playing competitively on the Powershare Series: "John (McEnroe) and Jim (Courier) and James (Blake), they are obviously great players and good friends. It's a fun night but at the same time, it's competitive...I still enjoy playing. I really do. I love hitting the ball and just getting a good workout in and going out and competing against some of these old friends of mine. It's fun and I get to catch up with some friends, some old stories. And for whatever reason, these people still want to see us play, so I'm excited."
billie-jean-kingBillie Jean King says ice hockey and ice skating are at the top of her list while in Sochi, Russia, taking in Olympic events. And also taking no guff as one of three gay delegates representing the U.S. Olympic squad and marching in the opening ceremonies along with figure skater Brian Boitano and hockey player Caitlin Cahow. "It sends a strong message that America is very diverse," she told the AP. "We are here, and surrogates as athletes and gay athletes. We reflect part of American. Maybe we'll be a voice for people who don't feel they can be a voice yet." Russian authorities have said there could be consequences for gay athletes showing rainbow pins or carrying rainbow flags. "I don't want any athlete getting in trouble, although I think they should do anything they want," King said. "Before I knew about Rule 50, I thought it would be sweet to wave some flags or something. But they can get in big trouble and have their medal taken away and also be sent home." Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states, "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."

Roger Federer on a foundation trip to South Africa

How to quickly raise $1 million for your charity? If you're Roger Federer, play an exhibition in Melbourne prior to the Australian Open, throw in a hit with legend Rod Laver, and invite Aussie stars Lleyton Hewitt, Patrick Rafter and Tony Roche to hang out. Federer, who recently hired on Stefan Edberg as a coach, admitted to being nervous rallying with the 75-year-old Laver, an admitted idol. "The racquet feels a little heavy right now, I must say," he said. The Roger Federer Foundation was set up in 2003 and has helped more than 50,000 children annually living in poverty to access high-quality early learning and education. "It's something very close to my heart, I'm very emotionally attached," Federer said. "To reach 10 years is a great deal...I really feel we're still at the beginning. We can achieve great things. We hope to reach one million kids by 2018 and an event like this is going to help in a big way." To make a donation, visit rff.tennis.com.au/Payment.aspx.


Tennis_Festival_USTA_FL_graphicLive pro tennis and USTA members appreciation will be on tap when the Delray Beach Open presented by The Venetian Las Vegas hosts USTA Member Appreciation Day on Feb. 17, 2014 from 1-2:30 p.m. in Delray Beach.

Members will need to present their USTA member card to gain access to free food, meeting ATP players and more. All USTA members who pre-register will receive a free gift at the reception. You must be a USTA member with a valid membership card to attend the reception, and guests who are not USTA members cannot attend. Not a member and want to attend? Click here to join today and support tennis in your community.

Feb. 17 will also see the Kidz ROGY Tennis Festival hosted on the grounds at The Delray Beach Open by the Venetian Las Vegas.

Play will include Red Ball (ages 6-8), Orange Ball (ages 8-10), Green Dot Ball (ages 10-14), and Yellow Ball (ages 11-16). Round-robin matches will be on-going throughout the day, with each player participating in a minimum three matches (singles and doubles). Players must be able to serve, rally and keep score. The Kidz ROGY Tennis Festival is a recreational-level event with no ranking points offered.

For registration guidelines or more info go to http://www.eventbrite.com/e/kidz-rogytennis-festi?val-at-the-delray-beach-open-by-the-venetian-las-vegas-tickets-9986294275?aff=eivtefrnd, or contact Janet Sprague at eastcoasttennis@gmail.com.


Isner05Florida's John Isner is the last American man or woman standing this week at the pre-Australian Open tour stops. On Thursday the Tampa big man edged No. 5 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 7-6(5) to advance into a semifinal meeting with unseeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut at the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand.

"Every time I've played him it's been very close," said the No. 3-seeded Isner, who dropped 18 aces on the German Kohlschreiber in three tiebreaks. "I tend to play a lot of close matches regardless, but especially against him. It was super close and very competitive. There's some things I definitely could have done better. But all in all I'm happy. I served unbelievably well today and that's the only reason I won."

Bautista Agut on Thursday ended the run of American wildcard Jack Sock 6-1, 6-3. Isner is 1-0 career against Bautista Agut, defeating the Spaniard last year in Beijing in three sets.

The other semifinal will feature No. 1 seed David Ferrer against Taipei's unseeded Yen-Hsun Lu. Lu in his Thursday quarterfinal defeated American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4.
Florida's Madison Keys was denied a spot in the APIA International Sydney final on Thursday when the Boca Raton resident was defeated 6-4, 6-2 by No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber. Kerber in the final will meet qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova, who upset No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova in the semis.

Unseeded Alison Riske was the last American standing at the Hobart International in Australia before losing 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals against No. 7 seed Klara Zakopalova.


Twitter_round"I use Instagram, for example, and the people are very affectionate, grateful and I like to share things with them, but Twitter is a real problem. There are things that should be changed. A person should not be able to create an account and get to insult anyone he or she seems fit. That should be punished, there should be a law to regulate it. Someone can not create a profile on Twitter, Facebook or any social network and throw out insults left and right and nothing happens."
-- Spanish ATP player Feliciano Lopez

"The women's tour was a little different than what I was used to, especially off the court. I'd be open to coaching on either tour right now, but my preference would be the men's."
-- Former ATP player Jan-Michael Gambill after his first major coaching assignment with WTA player Coco Vandeweghe, speaking to Tennis.com

venus sitting"She transcends tennis and whatever she chooses she will be successful. I see her leadership in and out of tennis as being a big part of her life and her leadership role will only get stronger. She is in a stronger position than so many athletes, because as she transitions to the next phase of her life she already has things in place."
-- Billie Jean King on Venus Williams


7am -- WTA Sydney final, Tennis Channel
11am -- ATP Auckland semifinals (delay), Tennis Channel
3pm -- ATP Sydney semifinals (delay), Tennis Channel
11pm -- WTA Hobart semifinals (delay), Tennis Channel

7pm -- ATP Auckland final (delay), Tennis Channel
9pm -- ATP Sydney final (delay), Tennis Channel
11pm -- WTA Hobart final (delay), Tennis Channel

7pm -- Australian Open, ESPN2

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.








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