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I am trying

to be more consistent
and really lean on
my weapons.
RANKED NO. 10 IN THE WORLD and currently
Americas best mens tennis player, John Isner is com-
ing home for the final Grand Slam of 2012. He has had
a stellar year, having defeated Roger Federer in the
Davis Cup and Novak Djokovic in the Masters 1000
tournament in Indian Wells. He has shown a cali-
ber of play not present in previous years. The
six-foot-nine tennis playera frame which
made him the second tallest Olympian in
the 2012 London Gamesis bringing every-
thing to his home court.
While his game started at the age of nine,
Isner did not receive much attention until his
college years. It wasnt until 2004 as a freshman
at the University of Georgia that he began playing
intercollegiate tennis. During his time as a Univer-
sity of Georgia Bulldog, he emerged as the universi-
tys all-time leader in
both singles and dou-
bles victories, which
led him to receive All-
American honors all
four years. After lead-
ing Georgia to a NCAA
championship in 2007,
Isner left the college
heats for the profes-
sional mens tour.
His start on the pro-
fessional circuits was by no means easy. His world
ranking lay at No. 839. Entrance into main draws of
any tournament, regardless of the level, required
him to get a wildcard entry. But even at the bot-
tom, Isner was quick to rise. His first tourna-
ment victory was in the fall of 2007 at the USA
F14 Futures, where he earned wins over the top
three seeds. Immediately afterwards, Isner
faced first-round losses in both a Challenger
level and ATP level tournament. He bounced
back, however, when he won the Lexington
Challenger in July of 2008, which shot his
ranking up to No. 416.
It was at the Legg Mason Tennis Clas-
sic in Washington, D.C. that he closed
in on the top 100. He made it to the
final, but fell to Andy Roddick. At
the end of the week, he was ranked No. 193 in the world.
During his first year on the pro tour, he made it into the
U.S. Open as a qualifier where he made it all the way
to the third round, losing to Rodger Federer. He fin-
ished in 2007 ranked No. 107 with a place on Davis Cup
team as a practice partner. Even though he moved
into the top 100 at No. 93, Isner lost in the first
round of all of the Grand Slams. The following
year, he switched coaches to work with Craig
Boynton and made his comeback, ending the
year ranked No. 39 and earning ATPs Most
Improved Player Award. It was during 2009
that he won against a top-ten-seeded player for
the first time and also beat Andy Roddick at the
U.S. Open. The Heineken Open in 2010 was Isners first
career win, and he entered the Davis Cup team on the
doubles team. He finished the year with a world rank-
ing of 18. Moreover, it was in 2010 that he made head-
lines playing the worlds longest match against Nicolas
Mahut at Wimbledon. The match spanned three days
and lasted eleven hours and five minutes.
With an amazing year behind him, Mr. Isner spoke
with The Observer about the challenges he has faced
competing at Wimbledon, the 2012 Olympics and the
U.S. Open in such a short space of time. The biggest
challenge is trying to peak for these three big events,
he said. Most important, I need to take care of my body
and make sure I am fresh. I hired a physio[therapist]
earlier this year and that has really helped.
With a strong body and tall frame to back him,
Isner has focused on improving certin aspects of
his game. I am trying to be more consistent and
really lean on my weapons, he explained in refer-
ence to his serve and forehand. I need to play my
strengths, he said. I also have been working on the
return of serve quite a bit.
Given that hard court is Mr. Isners best game, we
asked him what hurdles he sees forthcoming at this
years Open. I do not really look at a specific hurdle
necessarily I know I can do well there, so I just want
to stay focused, stay fresh and do my best, he said.
His confidence of play at the Billie Jean King Cen-
ter derives not only from playing there, but also from
the overall experience. The U.S. Open for me is like my
Super Bowl, he said. I love playing in the U.S. with
our rowdy fans I really thrive in that environment.
august 27, 2012
THE FUTURE
OF TENNIS
IT'S AMERICAS
FASTEST GROWING
SPORT
page C4
RISING STARS
A NEW CROP OF
YOUNGSTERS ARE
OUT TO DOMINATE
THE GAME
page C10
GEAR UP!
SOPHISTICATED
AND INNOVATIVE
PRODUCTS ON THE
MARKET NOW
page C14
speci al adverti si ng secti on for the new York observer
Tennis
MONEY, POWER AND THE CITY
I n s i d e
Who has the goods to win
By Luke Hammerman, Benjamin-mile Le Hay and Melissa Wiley
Can the No. 10 ranked tennis player answer
American hopes for a U.S. Open mens title?
By Luke Hammerman and Benjamin-mile Le Hay
New York
Observer
Tennis
Exclusive
~
The Titans of Tennis Battle for Glory
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FINAl ACT
The male and female
singles players who have
played the most U.S.
Open fnals are American
BIll TIlDEN (1918-25,
27, 29) and Norwegian
MOllA B. MAllORY
(1915-18, 20-24, 26).
IT'S AN ACE!
The top fve men and women
singles players with the most aces
at the 2011 U.S. Open.
MEN
John Isner, U.S., 94
Gilles Mller, Luxembourg, 76
Ivo Karlovi, Croatia, 74 Andy Roddick, U.S., 72
Andy Murray, Great Britain, 59
WOMEN
Serena Williams, U.S., 57
Julia Grges, Germany, 19
Coco Vandeweghe, U.S., 17
Flavia Pennetta, Italy, 17
Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia, 16
THE 2012 GRAND SLAM CIRCUIT
is coming to a close with the U.S.
Open at Flushing Meadows about
to begin. However, the competitive-
ness of the 2012 season is nowhere
near ending. It is the last chance
for many to move up in ranking
and close out the season on a
high note. In the world of hard
court tennis, Roger Federer
has been doing superbly
winning three of his five
titles this year on hard
courts. He holds a solid
lead on hard courts over
Serbias Novak Djokovic
with over 23 wins on the
surface this year. Yet, as
the current champion at the
Open, the Serb is going to
be looking for a win and the
chance to reclaim the No. 1
world ranking. Of course, after
both suffered Olympic losses
to gold medalist Andy Murray,
predictions for Open champions
will run the gamut. Yet that was on
the grass of Wimbledon a totally
different surface game. Federer
and Djokovics biggest competi-
tion at the Open may have been
Spains Rafael Nadal, but with
Nadals recent injury, which lead
to him pull out of the Olympics
and last week the Open hes
out of their way. Murray will look
redeem himself after his loss in the
Wimbledon final against Federer.
(Murrays Olympic win goes a
long way towards achieving that
redemption.)
In womens tennis, Serena
Williams is the best bet for hard
courts as she has time and again
proven that hard courts are her
preference with the majority of
her Grand Slam success coming
from the Australian Open. Victoria
Azarenka will certainly present
challenges to Williams quest, as
will defending champion Samantha
Stosur. The same goes for dou-
bles teams Liezal Huber and Lisa
Raymond and Jrgen Melzer and
Philipp Petzschner, who were last
years doubles winners. With many
players coming in hot from the
Olympic Games and U.S. Open series
tournaments, there will be plenty
of opportunity for players to make
impressive last minute changes to
their 2012 records. The top players
in mens, womens and doubles ten-
nis all have the skills to win. What
it comes down to is who is the most
aggressive and self-assured.
Mens Draw
Novak Djokovic, Serbia
Despite being one of the best on hard
courts in the mens game, Djokovic
only has one Open title under his
belt. That said, with a strong offen-
sive game and well-rounded defen-
Continued on page C2
information compiled
bY benjamin-mile le haY sOURCE: UsTA
Kjokovic was last years mens
singles winner at the u.s. Open.
U . S . O P E N players preview
ISNER IN
CONTROL
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u . s . o p e n s p e C i a l C o v e r a g e
six-foot-nine-inch
John Isners serve
is one of his most
valuable weapons.
C 2|August 27, 2012|The New York Observer Tennis
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sive moves and counter-punching moments, his
matches are often lengthy and come down to
endurance and control of rally. Stronger points
of his leveled game are his return of serve and
swift movement around the court. The play-
er with the most rivalries, his matches will at-
tract plenty of attention. With an amazing 2011
recordwinning three of the Grand Slamsa
lot is expected of the Serb. Djokovic also has the
chance to reclaim his No. 1 ranking, which he lost
at Wimbledon.
Roger Federer, Switzerland
Back at the No. 1 ranking, Federer has the most
to gain if he wins this U.S. Open. It would be his
sixth Open title, surpassing both Pete Sampras
and Jimmy Connors. Federer has just recent-
ly broken Sampras record of most weeks at No.
1 in Association of Tennis Professionals World
Tour rankings at 287 weeks. His most obvious
strength is his serve, arguably the best in the
game. Though it would not hurt him to attack his
serve more, especially his second serve. A base-
line player with grace and confidence, he stands
against defending champion Djokovic. He main-
tains a balanced game with the only debatable
weakness being his backhand, although this has
vastly improved over the years.
David Ferrer, Spain
ATPs No. 5 player has one
of the most determined
games. Ferrer does not give
up. While he plays best on
clay, Ferrer excels on hard
surfaces, often making
it to the semi-finals of
hard court Grand Slams.
His pugnacious attitude
and agile movement
keep him in the game. His
consistent baseline play
does not have the power
of his top competitors, and
his net play is not the stron-
gest, which may present prob-
lems against competitors such as
Nadal and Murray. His returns, how-
ever, are strong and his games are al-
ways a treat for tennis fans to watch.
Andy Murray, Great Britain
The defensive counter-puncher of the top five
holds onto an extremely strong defensive game
which helped him to confidently win the 2012
Olympic gold medal, beating first Djokovic, and
then Federer in a three-set final. His perfor-
mance at Wimbledon with an upsetting loss in
the finals may have caused him to fight hard-
er. Murrays fast and tactical playing style are
rewarded on the hard courts. If Murray were
to stop continuously waiting for an unforced
error and make more aggressive passes when
they counted most, we may see him go far at the
Open. His ability to return nearly any serve and
his solid two-handed backhand make us certain
that well see him in the semi-finals.
Rafael Nadal, Spain
The No. 3 ranked Spaniard has had an interest-
ing year and unfortunately withdrew from the
2012 U.S. Open. His performance at Wimbledon
was disappointing, having lost in the 2nd round
to 100th ranked Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic.
(It is considered by many to be one of the biggest
upsets in Wimbledon history). Nadals game is
heavy. His ground strokes and serve and vol-
ley techniques have all improved this year, and
make his game a difficult one to break once he is
in the zone. However, he has been bothered this
year with tendonitis in the knee, which caused
him to also withdraw from the 2012 Olympic
Games. We look forward to Nadals speedy and
healthy recovery and return to the tour. Perhaps
Argentinas Juan Martin Del Potro will make up
for the lost on-court flair.
Other Mens Players
tO WatCh:
Juan Martin Del Potro,
Argentina
John Isner, United States
Andy Roddick, United States
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, France
WOMens DraW
Victoria Azarenka, Belarus
Probably the best baseline hard court player in
the Womens Tennis Association, Azarenka has
won nine of her ten career titles on hard courts.
Her shouts and shrieks accompany the ferocity
of her groundstrokes and her two-handed back-
hand is arguably one of the tours strongest. Hav-
ing recently reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the
world after beating Maria Sharapova at Wim-
bledon, combined with losing against Serena
Williams, has cast her in an unsure light. How-
ever, with her successful track record on hard
courts and a strong offensive game, she may be
able to snag her second Grand Slam title.
Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland
The worlds No. 3 has agility, flexibility and a
varied arsenal of shots. With no Grand Slam
victories under Radwanskas belt and her best
play coming on grass, it is hard to favor her on
the hard courts of Billie Jean King Tennis Cen-
ter. A defensive player, she understands how
to use the court with disguised drop shots and
multiple angles that keep her opponents run-
ning. Her second serve is notably shaky. With no
real weaknesses, and no outstanding strengths,
her ability to draw matches out continually
lands her in quarter-finals.
Maria Sharapova, Russia
The statuesque Russians aggressive and com-
petitive style, combined with an intense amount
of power behind her ground strokes and serve,
Continued from page C1
speci al adverti si ng secti on for the new york observer
art
Roger Federer
Andy Murray
John Isner
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga Andy Roddick
Maria Sharapova
Samantha Stosur
Agnieszka Radwanska
Victoria Azarenka
David Ferrer
U . S . O P E N players preview
Juan Martin Del Potro
Novak Djokovic
bONUS
The 2012 U.S. Open
prize winnings have increased
signifcantly with singles
winners earning $1.9m for
their victories. The rest:
$950,000 for fnalists/
runners-up, $475,000 for
semifnalists and $237,500
for quarterfnalists.
sOURCE: UsTA
The New York Observer Tennis|August 27, 2012 |C 3
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great net play and tpnek provides a reli-
able return game. The Indian-Czech team has
been at home on hard courts, winning all of
their career matches this year on the surface.
With tpneks aggression and Leanders
passion and intensity, these two consistently
play engaging matches for tennis fans.
Nenad Zimonji and Michal
Llodra, Serbia and France
Even though these two have no Grand Slam
wins under their belt since joining as a team
last year, they are still considered a competi-
tive force and may be due for a U.S. Open title.
Zimonji, when he was partners with No. 1
ranked Daniel Nestor, won three Grand Slams:
twice at Wimbledon and once at Roland Garros.
Llodra also holds three Grand Slams: twice at
the Australian Open and once at Wimbledon.
Neither however, has made it to the U.S. Open
finals. Their powerful game is reliant upon
control of the court and it may just take them
there this year.
Womens Doubles
DraW
Sara Errani and
Roberta Vinci, Italy
The Italian pair has been a dominating force
in doubles (and singles) this year, winning the
French Open, making it to the Australian fi-
nals and quarter-final at Wimbledon. They
captured seven titles in the first six months
of the 2012 season. With a current record of
43-5, the ladies were only broken in the Grand
Slams. Their record has been most impressive
on clay, but with a career record of 46-23 on
hard, the Open may be their time to shine.
Liezal Huber
and Lisa Raymond,
United States
Liezal Huber and Lisa Raymond have enjoyed
a great year with a record of 37-11. As a team,
the majority of their career wins have been on
hard court (45-8), which makes sense given
that they are the defending champions at the
U.S. Open for womens doubles. The team, cur-
rently ranked No. 1 by the WTA, has impressive
net play and a generally masterful strategy.
Given that they are both over 36-years-old,
fatigue could factor into their play and, if it
does, a couple of power hitters could overtake
these two strongholds.
Kvta Peschke
and Katarina Srebotnik,
Czech Republic and Slovenia
Peschke and Srebotnik finished in 2011 as the
No. 1 doubles team, punctuating an excellent
year with six titles, including their first Grand
Slam win at Wimbledon. That same year, they
were named WTA Doubles Team of the Year.
While they have not had any Grand Slam wins
this year, and their only win was at Sydney,
they are still strong competition. With 67 ca-
reer wins on hard court, the Open is beyond a
doubt their most comfortable turf.
Yaroslava Shvedova
and Vania King, Kazakhstan
and United States
Shvedova and King may come as a surprise,
considering their short time together. Start-
ing in 2010, they won the womens doubles at
Wimbledon in what was only their third event
together and followed up that win with anoth-
er at the U.S. Open in 2011. With the majority
of their career wins on hard surfaces (35-15)
and a previous win at Flushing Meadows, the
two could cause an upset at the 2012 Open.
are all well suited for the hard court grand slam.
With the majority of her wins on hard courts, it
was surprising to see her leave Wimbledon so
early in the fourth round, when she lost to Sabine
Lisicki. She did regain credit with a phenomenal
road to the finals at the Olympics, before she lost
brutally in straight sets to Serena Williams. With
an old shoulder injury always a factor, Sharapo-
vas biggest challenge and weakness is her confi-
dence and maintaining a focused attack.
Serena Williams, United States
Americans best (read only) shot at having one
of their own win on U.S soil, Williams with her
29 Grand Slam titles make her a likely finalist for
the U.S. Open this year. Her victories at Wimble-
don and the 2012 Olympic Games, where she won
gold in doubles with sister Venus, stand as proof
that her game doesnt get much better than right
now. Possessing one of, if not the most, power-
ful baseline games in womens tennis, Williams
takes control of the court and rallies consis-
tently. Her serve rivals those on the mens tour.
Williams biggest challenge will most likely be
Azarenka, as both will fight for control of points.
The victory may come down to who hits harder
and faster (if they face each other).
Samantha Stosur, Australia
The Aussie is the defending champion at the
U.S. Open and, with a killer serve and consistent
backhand, will be under pressure to maintain
her standing as champion on the hard court. Her
weakness in the past has been playing pressure
points. In recent years she has made massive im-
provements in this area. Her biggest opponents
will be Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova,
who will look to reclaim the title.
other Womens
Players to WatCh:
Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia
Petra Kvitov, Czech Republic
Venus Williams, United States
Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark
mens Doubles
DraW
Bob and Mike Bryan,
United States
Always a favorite for U.S. Open crowds, the
Bryan twins are without a doubt looking to re-
gain their ranking of No. 1 in doubles, which they
recently lost to Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor.
Hot from winning Olympic gold in London, the
dynamic duo is known for aggressive court play,
extreme prowess, tall stature and one-handed
back hands. The lefty-righty pair last won the
Open back in 2010 and is Americas best chance
at a mens doubles win.
Max Mirnyi and
Daniel Nestor,
Belarus and Canada
This decorated team has been a formidable
agent of change in the doubles rankings this
year. Ranked No. 1, at 39, Nestor is the oldest
player to hold a top ranking in doubles. The duo,
which formed back in 2011, won the Roland Gar-
ros the same year. The lefty-righty pair is known
for Mirnyis fierce serve and aggressive play,
which earned him the nickname the beast, and
Nestors masterful touch and net play. Mirnyi
captured a mixed-doubles gold with teammate
Victoria Azarenka. Nestor, who holds a record of
over 800 doubles wins, is considered by many to
be the best doubles player in the world.
Leander Paes and Radek
tpnek, India and
Czech Republic
Indian player Leander Paes started the year
off on a high note, winning the Australian
doubles and completing his first career Grand
Slam. Paes provides fierce competition with
speci al adverti si ng secti on for the new york observer
Venus Williams Svetlana Kuznetsova
Petra Kvitov
Serena Williams
Bob and Mike Bryan won
doubles gold in London
Radek tpnek and
Leander Paes
Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor
Yaroslava Shvedova
and Vania King
Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci
Kvta Peschke and
Katarina Srebotnik
Nenad Zimonjic and
Michael Llodra
Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond
Caroline Wozniacki
U . S . O P E N players preview
C 4|August 27, 2012|The New York Observer Tennis
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speci aL adverti si NG secti oN for the New york observer
art
ON MAY 21, I SAT IN MY OFFICE
dreaming of the good old days as a col-
lege tennis player as I anxiously awaited
the next update from @PolarBearTen-
nis to see how my alma mater was doing
in the quarterfinals of Division III Na-
tionals. Game by game, the results came
in via Twitter, and a group of fellow
washed-up tennis alums tweeted each
other sitting by our computers until the
dreaded tweet came: This caps a great
season for Bowdoin Tennis. Though I
was just getting the scores from Twit-
ter, I still could feel the blow of defeat.
Days later, @MicaelaBryan, the six-
month-old daughter of American dou-
bles specialist Bob Bryan, tweeted
her best game face wearing a Stan-
ford Tennis shirt. Usually pictured in
the arms of her uncles Roger, Novak
and Rafa, among others, Micaela Bry-
ans tweets have gone viral. They usu-
ally include a thought bubble allowing
Bob Bryans sense of humor to shine
through. The toddler has been pictured
with over 70 tennis personalities, and
her tweets have become a hit among fans
and the professional tennis community.
While social media has increased fans
access to all sports, social media and
tennis in particular have been a perfect
match.
Conventional media has faced sever-
al challenges in presenting the compre-
hensive, all-access tennis coverage that
fans crave:
Tennis is about individuals. Its hard
to get to know individuals when theyre
grunting on the court.
Tennis coverage is often sub-par.
With tournaments spread across time
zones and spanning weeks, social media
opens doors.
Tennis coverage has always come
from the commentators. We hear from
the McEnroes and Brad Gilbert about
whats hot and whats not. While fans
have things to share too, they have his-
torically done it on the sidelines or in
their living rooms.
Game, set and match
for social media
Social media has strengthened ten-
nis by promoting events, brands and
players. It has also created a stronger
community between experts, players
and, most importantly, fans to share
information and connect people across
the sport.
Media platforms such as Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have
created a constant flow of information
both from official outlets like televi-
sion networks and event organizers as
well as from the casual fan watching the
match live. Traditionally, results were
not available until after the match was
completed. Social media has changed
this, allowing for live results to be
broadcasted instantly to millions.
Event organizers, mindful of tennis
long tradition, were initially hesitant
to adopt social media, but fan demand
forced them to change their approach.
Wimbledon organizers shunned
Twitter in 2011, but they significant-
ly ramped up their presence in 2012,
sending out 8,200 tweets over the 14-
day event for an average of 585 tweets
per day. These tweets not only provid-
ed live scoring and weather updates,
but also included up-
loaded pictures and
retweets from pro-
fessionals and fans.
Wimbledons Twit-
ter handle has con-
tinued to keep fans
updated through the
Olympics, also held at
the All England Club.
For those of us who
didnt make it to the
grounds for straw-
berries and cream
the day of the mens
final (you made me
a fan, Murray), Wim-
bledon updated its
cover photo nine times that day.
The U.S. Open is also on their A-
game with social media. You can now
follow posts on Facebook for behind-
the-scenes content, become a follower
on Twitter for live updates and tweets
from players, check out videos on You-
Tube of highlights and previews, or use
Foursquare to check into certain courts
or stadiums, interact with other fans
and unlock rewards. According to the
USTA, the U.S. Open is the most glob-
ally comprehensive event activation on
Foursquare ever.
All Access Pass
Some professionals are just as ac-
tive as the tournament hosts, which
gives these players (and their spon-
sors) access to thousands of fans. Weve
watched athlete Twitter feeds exponen-
tially multiply and
todays sports su-
perstars have shown
several distinct ap-
proaches to their so-
cial media presence.
Compared to tra-
ditional media, Fa-
cebook and Twitter
have allowed pro-
fessionals to up-
date their fans with
spontaneous and
less filtered content.
Compared to other
athletes, who often
have team personnel
carefully monitor-
ing their tweets (franchise owners, you
know who you are), ATP and WTA pro-
fessionals content is generally uncen-
sored. This allows fans an honest and
candid portrayal of the lives of these
stars.
Serena Williams, who has over
10,000 tweets to her name, should be
crowned the Queen of Twitter. While
she often tweets multiple times a
day, many of her tweets relate to her
matches (consider her tweet on July 7
immediately after winning her fifth
Wimbledon title: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa or
after winning Olympic Gold in August:
Gold Medal!!! I cant believe it. I got
the singles gold!!!!!! Im gonna sleep in
it tonight!). Others related to the nor-
mal goings of her daily life such as Im
cold to Goodnight. Though casual
observers may scoff at more mundane
tweets, loyal fans are grateful for 24/7
access to her daily life.
Americans Mardy Fish and John
Isner are also active. Both players not
only take the time to respond to indi-
vidual fans questions and comments,
they also provide colorful insights into
their lives off the court. Fish, for exam-
ple, uploaded a picture with NBA super-
star Dirk Nowitzki and wrote, Look
who showed up at my practice today in
Dallas. Easily the biggest serve from a
non-pro Ive ever seen. When fellow
pro James Blake filled his car up with
thousands of styrofoam pieces, Isner
took to Twitter and asked fans for sug-
gestions on how to get Blake back.
Some athletes prefer to keep their so-
cial media up-to-date, but dont want
to do it themselves, frequently handing
feeds over to agents to manage. Even
to the casual observer, its clear which
players want to actively engage with
users and fans through social media.
The athletes who have had the most
success on the court generally have the
largest followings off the court. Play-
ers can use the same approach as the
businesses we help with social media
that is, to strike a balance between per-
sonal posts and sponsored material on
their feeds. Roger Federer and Maria
Sharapova, two of the sports chief am-
bassadors, have mastered social media.
Today, Federer has over 11 million
fans on Facebook, while Sharapova has
7.5 million, the most of any female ath-
lete in any sport. Both athletes have
recent postings highlighting commer-
cials theyve filmed, but their feeds
provide plenty of the personal touch-
es which tend to receive more engage-
ment from fans.
Roger Federer often posts video mes-
sages prior to major tournaments and
used Facebook to give the world its first
glimpse of his twin girls. The first pic-
ture of his wife Mirka and twins Char-
lene and Myla received significantly
more likes than any of his posts en-
dorsing Nike, Gillette, Rolex, Wilson or
Mercedes Benz products.
Maria Sharapova also has a well-bal-
anced presence. She not only highlights
recent promotions with Tag Heuer,
Evian and Nike, but has also posted
pictures of her riding on a bus prior to
Wimbledon and walking around Cen-
tral Park in New York.
Sharapova is adept at making her
commercials seem less corporate on
Facebook, offering sneak peaks and
exclusive content instead of explicit
promotions. She often posts pictures
of her photo shoots, appealing to fans
on a human level. Most of Sharapovas
posts cast her in a rather normal light,
rather than as the global tennis sensa-
tion she is.
Players are not the only ones using
social media to interact with fans. Ana-
lysts like Patrick McEnroe, Brad Gilbert
and Jimmy Connors have used Twit-
ter to provide their insight to fans off-
air. Twitter has also been used during
broadcasts by shows, allowing fans to
ask questions of players.
Lastly, social media has also been
integrated into traditional forms of
media. During coverage of Wimble-
don, the Tennis Channel, NBC and
ESPN all featured players tweets
during their broadcast and devoted a
great deal of content to tennis-related
tweets on their websites. Coupled with
traditional broadcasting, social media
has truly given fans an all-access pass
to the lives of tour players.
As the U.S. Open begins, we can count
on the fact that the high energy buzz
about the game will not only be evident
at Flushing Meadows, but on computers
across the globe.
Andrew Fried, is a co-founder of
Spark Growth Partners (www.spark-
growthpartners.com),
a New York City-based digital and so-
cial media strategy firm.
U . S . O P E N where tennis is going
A GAME OF LIKES, NOT OF LOVE
Gold Medal!!!
I cant believe it. I got
the singles gold!!!!!!
Im gonna sleep in it
tonight!

Serena Williams tweet
after winning the Oympic
gold medal in London
CATCH THE 7 TRAIN from
Times Square to Queens, jump
off at Mets- Willets Point and
you are greeted with a dilem-
ma: To turn left for Mets Base-
ball or right for the United
States National Tennis Center.
The Observer paused at the sign
and contemplated; what would
the majority of New Yorkers
pick, left or right? We conced-
ed that in the modern day, the
likelihood was that New Yorks
second most famous baseball
stadium would probably at-
tract more attention than the
countrys largest tennis center.
Why?
Lauren Hartman, who runs
Advantage Tennis Clubs in East
Bronx, a company in partner-
ship with New York Tennis Club,
told us that at this club the older
clientele are definitely her best
customers.
Its like a country club here,
removed and calm, but with
great access to the city, which is
why I think it attracts the older
members, she said. Tennis
has turned into a luxury sport
and certainly takes a back seat
to the likes of football and base-
ball these days. I had a poster of
Andre Agassi on my wall grow-
ing up, but Id bet that hard-
ly any kids have tennis idols,
which is shame because, in New
York City, its so accessible.
Ms. Hartman winced as we
reminded her that an American
man hadnt won a Grand Slam
for the past 35 tournaments.
These days, education is the
main focus. Parents want their
kids to grow up to be lawyers or
doctors whereas a decade or so
ago a sports career would have
been encouraged much more,
Ms. Hartman reasoned. We
also find ourselves in a video
game culture. By that logic,
more people in New York will be
playing the inevitable U.S. Open
EA Sports Playstation game
come August 24 than watching
the actual live events unfold at
Flushing Meadows.
It does get busier here when
the Open is on. Everyone comes
down and tries to be Nadal; its a
special time for New York. But
will John Isner, Andy Roddick,
Mardy Fish or any other Amer-
ican man be lifting the trophy
this year? We were answered
with a laugh before we finished
asking the question.
No. Maybe one of these kids
will do one day, said Ms. Hart-
man. The quick start program
being developed by the USTA
and everything going on at Ran-
dalls Island is promising, but
no, not any time soon.
In 2010, John McEnroe estab-
lished the SPORTIME Tennis
Center and Academy on Ran-
dalls Island with three inten-
tions: To develop world-class
players, excite New Yorkers, es-
pecially kids, about the game of
tennis and provide opportuni-
ties to motivated and deserving
NYC area kids.
On the night The Observer
visited, Sportime was hosting
a World Tennis Team (a league
co-founded by Billie Jean King)
match between the Sportimes
and the Boston Lobsters. The
main showpiece was a mens
singles match featuring Mr.
McEnroe himself and Andre
Agassi.
Tennis was a growing sport
when I came in, Mr. McEnroe
told us at a press conference be-
fore the match. Im proud to be
a part of the era that I was, as is
Andre, Im sure. But its a differ-
ent sport now
Its a much more demand-
ing sport, Mr. Agassi echoed.
Players now are capable of
pulling off shots John and I
could only dream of, and what
with the technology advancing
every day, its very different for
the kids today than it was for
us.
Can one of these young Amer-
icans break through? Who bet-
ter to ask than the man who had
helped to coach the likes of Ryan
Harrison and whose center was
dedicated to doing just that?
Its very difficult to say, re-
plied Mr. McEnroe. These guys
have to find their own identi-
ties, their own personalities.
We considered if Mr. McEn-
roe himself had been given the
same advice at some point and
if the person responsible had
known what they were about to
unleash onto the world of ten-
nis. You have to nurture these
kids suited to their style, emo-
tionally as well as their tech-
nique, he said. Its all about
the heart. I cant say that these
guys will be top five players.
Top twenty/forty for sure, but I
dont know about top five,
If Randalls Island is now
the place that young gifted
New Yorkers come to blossom
and be nurtured, then what is
the U.S. Open? The promised
land?
Its way better than the
other slams. Way better! pro-
claimed Mr. McEnroe, whose
face suggested a bit of bias or
sarcasm. Wimbledon was a
special place when I was grow-
ing up. Theres just something
special about it.
From a proud New Yorker
those words dont bring prom-
ise to the ears of Americans
praying for an American win-
ner this year.
Mr. Agassi concurred, New
York is one of the great sporting
places and has some of the best
sporting fans. Players lucky
enough to have a Slam in their
own country will always lean
towards that one. But there is
something about Wimbledon,
and now, with the Olympics
being there, it adds something
even more special.
One week later The Observ-
er took a right turn in Flush-
ing and walked over to the
23,000-capacity Arthur Ashe
Stadium for a tour of the com-
plex. It quickly became appar-
ent that our assumption about
the current popularity of ten-
nis might have been wrong.
Seven hundred thousand
people come to the Open every
year; it is the highest attended
annual sporting event in the
world, said Communications
Director Chris Widmaier, mak-
ing us eat our words almost
immediately. The site itself is
open 11 months a year and in
that time, we have over 10,000
amateurs come to play.
Mr. Widmaier went on to ex-
plain that a special Ten and
Under program is used to build
a national infrastructure to
help build future champions.
According to Mr. Widmaier, in
the past five years they have
refurbished over 8,000 courts
across the country. Just like
Little League, our program
is scaled down for the kids so
you can get 16 kids playing on a
two-court space.
So why, with everything we
have seen and heard, hasnt an
American man stood on this
court lifting the trophy in re-
cent years?
Just as important as the
Open is the role of the Center
all year round, Dan Zausner,
USTA Managing Director at
the Billie Jean King Center in-
formed us. Tennis is the fast-
est growing recreational sport
for people to play in America.
It is also arguably the cheap-
est and easiest to access. Just
as it is important for our men
and women to be competing
and winning at the highest lev-
els, it is equally important that
we inspire the general public to
play. Mr. Zausner noted that
the most unique aspect of this
center is that it is public. An
estimat[ed] fifty percent of our
amateurs are from Queens and
eighty percent from New York,
he said. People from all age
groups come all year round to
play and sure, at half time of the
Superbowl a handful of people
might go outside and throw a
football around, but after com-
ing to the Open people will visit
for the next 12 months, inspired
by what they experienced.
A survey by the Sporting
Goods Manufacturer Associ-
ation supports that tennis is
indeed the fastest growing rec-
reational sport in America and
it seems that The U.S. Open is
indeed a major national event
and tennis seems to be one the
favorite national sports, more
accessible and more played
than any other. A statue with-
in the grounds shows an elder-
ly man flanked by two children
all holding rackets. It is called
Inspiration, and that is cer-
tainly what Flushing Meadows
has in abundance. Inspiration
is the base for success. Perhaps
as some of the United States
best tennis players arrive at
Billie Jean King Center this
week, they will be inspired by
the atmosphere to win .
The social media
revolution steps
up to promote and
publicize the game
By Andrew Fried
Clockwise
from top: A
glimpse at the
social media
pages of Maria
Sharapova,
John Isner and
Roger Federer.
John McEnroe high-fves several young players at SPORTIME.
How Tennis Fares Stateside
Where the American game is going
By Jack Mcilroy and Melissa Wiley
Tennis The New York Observer|August 27, 2012 |C 5
LOVE IS
Past participants shown.
Match schedule subject to change. 2012 USTA. Photos Getty Images. *Ticket availability subject to change.
AUGUST 27 SEPTEMBER 9
OPENING DAY
AUGUST 27
MENS QUARTERFINALS
SEPTEMBER 5 & 6
WOMENS FINAL
SEPTEMBER 8
facebook.com/usopentennis @usopen #usopen
USOPEN.ORG / 1-866-OPEN-TIX
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
DONT MISS OUT ON ANY OF THESE GREAT SESSIONS!
*
C 6|August 27, 2012|The New York Observer Tennis
TENNIS SHOPS
GRAND CENTRAL RACQUET
www.grandcentralracquet.com
341 Madison Avenue
212.292.8851
Grand Central Terminal
(Between Tracks 38 and 39)
212.856.9647
Grand Central Racquet
doesnt discriminate among
racket sports; it has supplies for
everything tennis including
platform tennis, table tennis and
frescobol.
We spoke with Woody
Schneider, owner of Grand
Central Racquet about brands
and products on the market.
Right now, he said, Babolat is
the tennis retail phenom. Its
characteristic? Extraordinary.
Babolats most popular racket
models are the Aero Prodrive
and the Puredrive. In the shoe
department, Nike and Adidas
Barricade 7s are the standout
favorites. The Barricade 7s are
so popular that Novak Djokovic,
though sponsored by Uniqlo,
chooses to wear them.
Creative shock absorbers
and tennis grips in every color
of the rainbow aside, we are
particularly excited about one
product sold at Grand Central
Racquets Pro Shop. Resembling
a strand of pearls, this product
is flled with water and can be
frozen for wear in the too-often
unbearably hot stands. Mark our
words, tennis spectatorship will
never be the same.
NYC RACQUET SPORTS
www.grandcentralracquet.com
157 West 35th Street
212.695.5353
Grand Central Racquet is
afliated with NYC Racquet
Sports, the largest racket store
in New York City, located in
Herald Square, next to Macys.
NYC Racquet Sports was rated
Racquet Sport Industrys Pro
Specialty Retailer of the Year.
MASONS TENNIS MART
www.masonstennis.com
56 East 53rd Street
212.755.5805
For the last 25 years, Tennis
Industry Magazine has rated
Masons the #1 Specialist shop
in the U.S. Masons site makes a
point of noting that the store is
owned and run by the people
that live and love tennis. Nestled
in the heart of midtown, the store
sells racket products, apparel and
shoes as well as jewelry and kids
wear. In the apparel department,
Masons sells Gigi Activewear,
Lija, FILA, Polo, Sergio Tacchini,
Fred Perry, Nike and Adidas.
RP NY TENNIS
228 East 51st Street
212.980.1555
RP NY TENNIS AT CITYVIEW
RACQUET Club
43-34 32nd Place
718.389.6252
RPNYs claim: Anything that
can be done to a racket can de
done here. Services include
everything from pick-up and
delivery, stringing, gripping,
customization and consultation,
to a ship-and-string service for
the continental U.S.
OUR BROOKLYN
FAVORITES
Tennis Boom (DBA Bay Sports)
www.tennisboom.com
1732 Sheepshead Bay Road,
Brooklyn
718.646.5668
Tennis Unlimited
9000 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn
718.266.3610
GENERAL SPORTS
STORES
CITY SPORTS
www.citysports.com
390 5th Avenue
212.695.0171
64 West 48th Street
212.730.2009
PARAGON SPORTS
www.paragonsports.com
867 Broadway at 18th Street
212.255.8889
CLUBS

MANHATTAN PLAzA RACQUET
CLUB
www.advantagetennisclubs.
com
450 West 43rd Street
212.294.0554
Indoor; Year-Round
Hard courts
Open to members and
nonmembers
Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club
is a luxury tennis experience
defned. It has an air-conditioned
bubble and fve championship
tennis hard courts, private and
group lessons, game arranging,
tennis programs, a singles
league, parties and tournaments.
On the premises, setting it
apart from other clubs, are a
glass-enclosed swimming pool,
sundeck and sauna. Members
receive full membership to the
Manhattan Plaza Health Club.
MPRC also has a pro shop and
stringing services in addition to
indoor parking.
MIDTOWN TENNIS CLUB
www.midtowntennis.com
341 8th Avenue
212.989.8572
Indoor; Year-round
Har-Tru
Non-membership
Midtown Tennis Clubs has
eight indoor courts, four of
which look out at the Empire
State Building. Midtown Tennis
recently introduced a bubble,
and ofers a variety of tennis
programs as well as private
and group lessons. Its pro shop
ofers stringing services. The
club is also available for private
or corporate tennis parties and
tournaments.
SUTTON EAST TENNIS CLUB
www.suttoneasttennis.com
488 East 60th Street
Just under Queensboro Bridge
Indoor; September-June
Red clay
Non-membership
Sutton East has been
called the miracle under the
bridge. Open mid-September
for its 24th Season, Sutton
East is larger than its Tennis
in Manhattan counterparts,
Vanderbilt Tennis and Yorkville
Tennis. Children, parents and
grandparents are equally at
home here. Suttons most
popular programs include
an Adult Evening league for
advanced players, Round
Robins, Drill-and-Plays and
Cardio Tennis. Its Pee Wee
tennis program for ages three-
six and Junior Development
Program are also extremely
popular and ofered at
Vanderbilt and Yorkville.
SPORTIME RANDALLS ISLAND
CENTER
www.sportimeny.com
Manhattan
1 Randalls Island
212.427.6150
Indoor/Outdoor; Year-round
DecoTurf; Har-Tru
Membership
Sportime Randalls Island is
a sophisticated and, at 160,000
square feet, large facility. It is
best known for its famous John
McEnroe Academy where rising
talent Noah Rubin plays. There
are about 800 to 900 students
in the academy and about
2,300 total members. Adult
Tennis Kinetics is SRICs most
popular program, next to game
arranging. The two-level viewing
area is spacious and pleasant,
as is the sports caf. SRIC was
rated best indoor facility 2010
by the American Sports Builders
Association and features in
addition to its 20 courts, a 3,000
square foot health club and a full
basketball court.
USTA National Tennis Center
www.usta.com
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
718.760.6200
Indoor/Outdoor; Year-Round
DecoTurf; Clay
Opens to members and
nonmembers
USTA is perhaps the epicenter
of American tennis as host of
the U.S. Open. Its 30 outdoor
and 12 indoor courts, including
four climate-controlled clay
courts, are available to the
public. USTA ofers specialized
lessons and programs for all
ages and abilities, including
Cardio Tennis, and even has
special courts, titled the Quick
start deck zone, for players ten
and under. USTA is home to the
NTC Pro Shop, opened by Grand
Central Racquet.
NEW YORK TENNIS CLUB
www.newyorktennisclub.com
3081 Harding Avenue, Bronx
718.239.7919
Summer; Winter
Har-Tru
Membership
New York Tennis Club
has existed since 1898 and
is a little unknown gem. Six
gorgeously maintained courts
and a charming old house in a
quiet setting with shady trees
give New York Tennis Club its
character. The caretakers and
chef live on-site. NYTCs beautiful
grounds are perfect for lunch,
spectatorship, reading and the
occasional scrabble game. Some
of the clubs perks include a TV-
and-card room, a snack bar for
breakfast and lunch and towel
services provided by the live-
in staf. Members enjoy social
mixed-doubles round robins, the
clubs junior programs, an easy
sign-up system and unlimited
tennis every day.
ROOSEVELT ISLAND
RACQUET CLUB
www.rirctennis.com
281 Roosevelt Island
212.935.0250
Indoor; Year-round
Lee green
Open to members and
nonmembers
Roosevelt Island Racquet
Club features 12 Lee green
clay courts, shadowless, non-
glare lighting, heated and
air-conditioned bubbles and
a ftness center for warm-up.
Though a commute, RIRC
maintains that it is just a hop,
skip, and a tram away!
STADIUM TENNIS CENTER AT
MILL POND
www.stadiumtennisnyc.com
725 Gateway Center Boulevard
At East 152nd Street and the
Harlem River
718.665.4694
Indoor/Outdoor; Year-round
Hard courts
Non-membership
The Stadium Tennis Center
at Mill Pond is south of Yankee
Stadium. With 16 tennis courts
and excellent lighting, it is a
state-of-the-art facility, great
in summer or winter. Stadiums
professional staf ofers a
variety of lessons and programs
in partnership with Gotham
Tennis Academy for juniors and
adults. STC ofers unlimited
play memberships as well as
seasonal court rentals, game
arranging, tournaments, adult
leagues and private lessons.
Parking is free and on-site
at Yankee Stadium, and a
clubhouse, featuring lockers, a
caf, pro shop and lounges, is
under development.
VANDERBILT TENNIS CLUB
www.vanderbilttennisclub.com
82 East 42nd Street; Above
Grand Central
212.599.6500
Indoor; Year-round
DecoTurf
Non-membership
Vanderbilt Tennis Club is a
non-membership club located
above Grand Central with a
DecoTurf championship hard
court. When rain graces Flushing
Meadows, U.S. Open players
often fock to Vanderbilt. The
iconic windows provide stunning
views of bustling midtown. The
club also boasts a ftness center,
a small/private gym and personal
training services. Vanderbilt
Tennis is smaller than Sutton
East, and while also for families, it
has more of a luxury feel.
WEST SIDE TENNIS CENTER
www.foresthillstennis.com
1 Tennis Place, Forest Hills
718.268.2230
Indoor/Outdoor; Year-round
Grass; Har-Tru; Red clay;
DecoTurf
Membership
West Side Tennis Center,
former site of the U.S. Open,
has 38 diferent courts on every
kind of surface. It is a jewel
in Queens and the ultimate
experience in tennis, said WSTC
Tennis Director and owner of the
Star Search Talent identifcation
program Bob Ingersole. It ofers
indoor and outdoor tennis
on 12 acres, junior programs
and quickstart programs for
beginners, as well as a game
arranging service. It is a summer
haven for tennis enthusiasts
and, every Saturday night in the
winter, the club organizes mixed-
doubles round robins with music,
followed by a bufet dinner.
WSTC also boasts an Olympic-
style pool and a Tudor-style
clubhouse.
YORKVILLE TENNIS CENTER
www.yorkvilletennisclub.com
89th and York Avenue; 1725
York Avenue #3G
212.987.0301
Indoor; Year-round
Hard courts
Non-membership
Located inside a doorman
residential building, Yorkville
Tennis Center is a hidden gem on
the Upper East Side. With two
championship courts and great
lighting, it is smaller than Sutton
East and, like Vanderbilt, has
more of a luxury atmosphere. The
club has fully-equipped lockers,
and its pro shop ofers stringing
services.
OUR FAVORITE PUBLIC
PARK COURTS
The NYC Parks season runs
from the frst week in April until
the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
PROSPECT PARK
www.prospectpark.org/tennis
50 Parkside Avenue, Brooklyn
718.436.2500
Year-round
Indoor/Outdoor; Year-round
Clay; Har-Tru
A respite in Brooklyn. Permits
are not necessary for night
tennis, though reservations are
recommended. The tennis center
ofers group lessons, programs
for youths and adults as well
as a Special Aces program for
children with special needs.
CENTRAL PARK
www.centralparktenniscenter.
com
93rd Street near West Drive
212.316.0800
Outdoor; early April late
November
Clay; Asphalt
Central to Central Park are its
26 clay and four asphalt courts.
Clay courts shut down in the
winter, but the asphalt courts
stay open. The center ofers
classes for adults and children
and its services include rest
rooms, a snack bar and pro shop
with stringing services. Lockers
are available for rent.
RIVERSIDE PARK
Two courts are available at
96th Street and at 119th Street
along the Hudson. Memberships
provide access to clinics, private
and group lessons, tournaments
and ladders.
Riverside Clay Tennis
Association
www.rcta.info
Riverside Drive and West 96th
212.978.0277
Outdoor
Clay
119th Street Tennis Association
www.119ta.net
Riverside Drive and West 119th
212.870.3070
Outdoor
Hard
HOME OF THE U.S. OPEN, New York City is
a tennis Mecca. The world comes to us, said
Woody Schneider, owner of Grand Central Rac-
quet. Its like whats happening in London right
now, except we get it every year. And the many
clubs and tennis shops are the cornerstones of
this tennis capital. Sportime Randalls Island
Center Director Zef Lekaj mused: Sportime
Randalls Island Center is to New York Tennis as
the Williams sisters are to the game of tennis.
Jerry Elman, Club Manager of Sutton East Ten-
nis Club, said, Tennis in Manhattan [overseeing
Sutton East, Vanderbilt and Yorkville] is to New
York tennis players as Peter Lugers is to New
York steak lovers. The Observer agrees with
Jerry Elman of Sutton East Tennis Club that ten-
nis is the sport of a lifetime and that the world
of New York City tennis has something for ev-
eryone. Here are some of our favorite haunts for
your recreational and competitive needs:
SPECI AL ADVERTI SI NG SECTI ON FOR THE NEW YORK OBSERVER
art
On Thursday, June 21, The Observer
trekked out to the USTA Billie Jean
King National Tennis Center to partake
in the 2012 U.S. Open Ballperson
Tryouts. Ralph Lauren outfitted us in
official ballperson gear and sprinted
through the entire tryout process in
what seemed like 100 degree weather.
Afterwards, around 500 people (from
age 14-50) seriously competed for
roughly 80 sought-after positions
running, throwing and catching tennis
balls as efficiently as possible. The
Observer caught up with Tina Taps,
U.S. Open Ballperson Director, once
the tryouts concluded to find out more
about the massive undertaking.
How has the program developed
over the years?
Through social media and the
internet, we can promote the tryout
opportunity to more athletes in more
communities.
What is the biggest challenge of
staging the auditions?
Its actually a good thing. The
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis
Center is open to the public as a year
round tennis facility. As such, we host
a full spectrum of tennis programs
for all ages. During the tryouts were
also running a highly successful
junior tennis camp. We need to
share resources staffing, courts,
etc. Additional challenges are the
Get a Grip on the
Tennis Capital of the World
By Melissa Wiley
U . S . O P E N for the love of the game
In 2008, the USTA joined
forces with organizations such as
environmental consultant eco evolutions,
llc, the Natural Resources Defense Council
and GreenSlam to develop ways to make the U.S.
Open more sustainable and eco-friendly. Just last
year, around 94 tONS Of rEcyclablE paper,
plastic and glass were collected. The U.S. Open and its
organizers also converted a reported 985 gallONS Of
fOOd grEaSE into biodiesel fuel and donated some
20,000 POUNdS Of UNUSEd fOOd to underserved
and hungry members of the surrounding community.
Food that did go to waste (around 50 tONS)
was composted for farming and landscaping.
The USTA also stated that some 70,000
tENNiS ballS used during the Open
and in practice were reused for its
programming or other national
tennis organizations.
kEEP it grEEN
ChaseThat
Ball!
A closer look at the
U.S. Open ballperson
selection process
By Benjamin-mile Le Hay
weather and the tedious evaluations of
nearly 500 hopefuls. You want to give
everyone the best chance to do well.

Who are the involved parties that
ensure it is all successfully run?
A solid corps of dedicated U.S.
Open ballperson veteran staff and
supervisors who truly care about
the quality of the rookies who are
brought onto the team. Their success
becomes the teams ultimate success.
Additionally, usopen.org and our
media personnel assist us in getting
the word out about the greatest job in
the world.
Any major dramas or scandals? Are
people hyper-competitive?
No issues here: its a great team.
They all support one another and
challenge each other to be the
best that they can be.
How do the ballpeople interact
with the players? Is there any
communicating off the court?
Interaction with the pros is purely
professional. We help them be the
best that they can be by helping the
match move along efficiently. Were
there to cater to their needs and
otherwise become invisible.

How do your tryouts differ from
Wimbledon or Roland Garros?
Were focused on being the best
that we can be in the U.S. Not sure
what they do at the other Slams.

Whats your favorite part about
the ballperson tryouts?
The electricity of the crowd of
eager prospective ballpersons!
Masons Tennis Mart is one
of the citys best outposts
for all things tennis.
The red clay
courts of Sutton
East Tennis Club.
Over 500 people
auditioned for the 2012
US Open Ballperson
tryouts held in June.
P
H
O
T
O
C
O
U
R
T
E
S
Y
S
T
A
F
F
, U
N
IT
E
D
S
T
A
T
E
S
T
E
N
N
IS
A
S
S
O
C
IA
T
IO
N
SOURCE: USTA
Tennis The New York Observer|August 27, 2012 |C 7
ROGER ERI CKSON
E X C E P T I ONA L
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C 8|August 27, 2012|The New York Observer Tennis
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Tennis The New York Observer|August 27, 2012 |C 9
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C 10|August 27, 2012|The New York Observer Tennis
speci al adverti si ng secti on for the new York observer
art
IT IS NO SECRET that the success of American
mens Grand Slam tennis in recent years has been,
well, non-existent. The golden years of Americans
Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Andre Agassi are
but a hazy dream, as a collection of Europeans has
taken over the sport by the scruff of the neck. The
drought has now lasted nine years and, with Sere-
na Williams resurgence in the womens game, the
American publics appetite has been whetted. John
Isner , Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish will be the
focus of attention this year for Americans looking
for U.S. success, but another young man may also
be in a role to restore balance to the world of Amer-
ican tennis. His name is Ryan Harrison.
Signs that this young man may be the chosen
one are all there. Since becoming the first Ameri-
can teenager to beat a top 20 opponent since Andy
Roddick in 2010 when he beat No. 15
-
seed Ivan Lju-
bicic in the first round at Flushing Meadows, Harri-
son has been on the international tennis radar. The
Observer spoke to Harrisom about his ambitions,
his tennis roots and career so far.
I started playing at age two. I would go with my
father to the club where he worked and hit against
the wall for hours. My Dad eventually let me start
hitting on the court and teaching me. I just loved
hanging around the club. Harrison could not re-
member one point in which he recognized that
tennis was something for which he had talent
and wanted to pursue. I think it just happened
over time when I was a kid and when I started to
beat the older club members and kids twice my
age. I just loved to compete against anyone that
would play me... I always wanted to be a profes-
sional tennis player and I think I always felt I had
it in me. I feel fortunate to be living out my dream.
If he always had athleticism and winning poten-
tial, it would no doubt be thanks to his incredibly
athletic family, consisting of a former All Ameri-
can football player (his grandfather), his father
and an aunt, who played on the pro tennis tour and
two younger siblings who display natural tennis
ability. His experience helped to shape his tennis
game. I moved to the Bollettieri Academy when I
was 15 along with the rest of my family. The atmo-
sphere there is full of energy and the daily compe-
tition helped me take my game to the next level. I
also had the chance to practice with seasoned pros
and see how they trained on a daily basis. I learned
a lot from them.
It was at the age of 15 that Harrison turned pro
and has since then seen a swift and steady rise up
the ATP rankings not only affecting his game, but
also his everyday life. I think my ranking is more
a reflection of how I am changing my game and
my daily routine, he said. I am gradually learning
what works best for me and my body when it comes
to training and preparation. I am becoming more
disciplined and professional. My life away from
tennis hasnt changed too much. I still talk to and
hang out with the same friends I have had for years.
I guess the only thing that has changed is that I
have more responsibilities off-court when it comes
to sponsors and media and then sometimes I get
U . S . O P E N on the rise
A sit-down with rising tennis star Ryan Harrison
By Jack Mcilroy
The Chosen One?
With so much of the focus of modern day tennis
on grass-roots players and developing youth, The Observer
talked to two of the most promising up-and-coming stars of the
gameAmericas Ryan Harrison and Russias Irina Khromacheva.
We got a glimpse of their backgrounds, their aspirations and
dreams, as well as looked at a few other tennis faces in the crowd
who we should keep an eye on over the next few years.
Grigor Dimitrov
Only 21 years old and already the most
successful Bulgarian Tennis player of all
time, Grigor Dimitrov has built an im-
pressive professional career since win-
ning Junior Wimbledon and the Junior
U.S. Open in 2008. 2012 has seen him
reach three ATP semi-finals, progress to
the second round of the first three slams
and represent his country at the Olym-
pics. Flirting constantly with the top 50,
expect to see Dimitrov climb up the rank-
ings in the near future.
OTHER YOUNG MEN TO WATCH
Grigor Dimitrov
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The New York Observer Tennis|August 27, 2012 |C 11
WELCOME TO THE
WORLD of womens ten-
niswhere the East-
ern Europeans have taken
over! The top three ranked
females in the world are
from Belarus, Poland and Rus-
sia and, just like the vodka fa-
mous in that part of the world,
the way they play is smooth, pure
and often deadly. Closer to home,
Serena Williams sits at No. 4, defi-
ant and as dangerous as ever like a
classic American Bourbon; strong,
sharp and full of flavor. Throw some
chilled beer into the equation with
the likes of Austrian Samantha Sto-
sur and German Angelique Kerber
and you have yourself a deadly cock-
tail party at this years U.S. Open.
One person who could add to the
punchbowl (but not able to drink any
herself) is 17-year-old Irina Khro-
macheva. The young Russian was run-
ner up at 2011 Junior Wimbledon and
is likely to make an even bigger splash
in the next few years. The Observer
chatted with Khromacheva about her
passions and progress, the U.S. Open
and what makes Russia such a strong
producer of tennis talent.
Its a big country, said Khro-
macheva. Most people are really
strong mentally. In my childhood I
was lucky to have good coaches who
gave me a great start. My genera-
tion of players, all of us wanted to be
great players. It is not uncommon to
hear such dedication and drive from
such young players these days with
many having been playing since
they could walk and Khromacheva is
no exception.
I found my passion when I was
four years old, she told The Observ-
er. My parents and I went for a walk.
And they wanted to play tennis. When
they had a break I asked them to play
with me a little bit. They gave me a
racket and I started to put the ball in.
I loved that!
The next day, Khromacheva re-
calls heading to a nearby tennis
school.
That passion grew for the young
Russian who spent time at the Be-
lokamennaya Tennis School before
moving to Belgium to train at Jus-
tine Henins 6th-Sense Academy.
She spoke highly of how the school
and the guidance of a former world
No. 1 and multi-Grand Slam winning
star has benefited her game.
Justine gave me a lot of advice.
She helped me a lot mentally. She
has a good club with good coaches,
Khromacheva told us. I was lucky to
be there for those four years. I had a
very good coach and a good fitness
coach and we really did a great job
together,
Im really thankful to the 6th-
Sense for what they did for me dur-
ing those three and a half years. Now
my coach Wim Fissette [is] giving me
all his experience and has got [me]
working with another great champi-
on, Kim Clijsters [who he previously
coached].
Khromacheva named Kim Cli-
jsters and Novak Djokovic as tennis
idols, but said that she would rath-
er focus on her own game than that
of others.
I played a lot of junior Slams,
which gave me a lot of experience
and confidence, admitted Khro-
macheva. I spent a pretty long
time in the Junior Circuit where I
really learned how to play in differ-
ent situations, [to] be strong men-
tally during tough moments. And I
think this is why I won a lot of junior
tournaments.
Khromacheva has topped the
junior rankings for some time
and sees next year as her time to
make the step up.
I won three doubles in Junior
Slams and was in the final of Ju-
nior Wimbledon and was Best
Junior Player 2011. And now its
a good time to begin to play my pro
career. Im happy about my results
now, as I will be in top 200 next week
already. My next goal is to finish the
year in the top 200 and take time to
prepare myself physically for next
years play on the Pro circuit. And,
hopefully, will play all qualifiers of
Grand Slams.
We have no doubt that this is a
more than achievable goal for Khro-
macheva and believe that, should she
qualify, Khromacheva will be one to
watch at this years Open.
I love Wimbledon and Roland
Garros. And, of course, I am fasci-
nated by the magnitude of the U.S.
Open, she said. Im really excited
that I can be in qualifier by myself
this time. I will try to get through
qualification. She did acknowledge
that, for her, the most important as-
pect of competing at the U.S. Open
will be to enjoy playing there.
I will play my game, and then we
will see. The most important for me
is to show good tennis for my fans
in the world and in the U.S., Khro-
macheva concluded.
Our forecast is that the Eastern
Europeans arent about to be de-
throned from the top-tier of the
WTA (or ATP) rankings without a
fight, especially with emerging tal-
ent such as Irina Khromacheva on
the rise over the next couple of the
years.
Now its a good time
to begin to play my pro
career. Im happy about
my results now, as I will be
in the top 200 next week
already. My next goal is to
finish the year in top 200
and take time to prepare
myself physically for next
years play on the
Pro circuit.
speci al adverti si ng secti on for the new York observer
U . S . O P E N on the rise
recognized a
bit more than
I used to. We
expect that
the recogni-
tion is something
that is only going to
get more frequent, espe-
cially since appearing on Centre Court
at Wimbledon with Novak Djokovic.
I have had a lot of great experiences
playing on the ATP World Tour but I
think the one that stands out is playing
Novak. Even though I was upset that I
lost, looking back now, I see how spe-
cial that experience really was. I grew
up watching so many epic matches on
that court. It was very cool to be out
there competing myself.
Harrison is looking forward to play-
ing in front of a home crowd on August
27 at Flushing Meadows. It is my fa-
vorite slam, he told us. Wimbledon is
a very special place because of the his-
tory, and I love the vibe in Melbourne,
but the U.S. Open is my home event,
and there is nothing like the support
of a home crowd... I think the ener-
gy that comes from the fans and even
the city in general is what makes it so
special. It is hard to describe until you
are out on the court and have that sup-
port. I think the late night matches and
drama that happen every year also add
to the excitement.
It is two years since his victory over
Ljubicic, and we dont remind him of
the parallels with Roddick. His ambi-
tions seem strong enough without the
history lesson. I am looking forward
to putting together a nice run for the
home crowd in New York this year,
he said. It wont be easy because
everyone is very good and wants
to win, but that is what makes
tennis so exciting. With the
addition of the Olympics to this
years calendar there is no saying
who will win in Queens. One thing
that we can say for sure is that with
Ryan Harrison, American tennis fans
have someone who they really believe
can prevent American Grand Slam suc-
cess from becoming something that
happened a long time ago in a galaxy
far far away.
OTHER YOUNG LADIES TO WATCH
I just loved to compete
against anyone that would
play me... I always wanted
to be a professional tennis
player and I think I always
felt I had it in me. I feel
fortunate to be living out
my dream.
Laura Robson
At just 14, Laura Robson
thrilled her home crowd at
Wimbledon by winning the
2008 Junior Girl Champion-
ships and, later that year, she
won her first professional tour-
nament on the ITF Junior tour.
The next few years saw her
reach two Junior Australian
Open finals and, at still only 18,
she is the youngest player in
the WTA top 100. Robson quali-
fied for both the Australian and
French Opens this year, having
reached the second round of
Wimbledon and the U.S. Open
in 2011. Despite being unable
to replicate Wimbledon glory,
she won silver in doubles at the
Olympics. Her ascent up the
rankings is all but guaranteed
over the next few years.
Riardas Berankis
His surname, in Lithuania means
armless, ironic for a man whose right
swing took him to No. 1 junior in the world
in 2007. At the end of 2010, after reaching
the third round of the Australian Open, he
was the youngest man in the ATP top 100.
The following year, a four month absence
due to a pelvis stress fracture slowed
his progress. However, in 2012 Berankis
bounced back strongly to reach the ATP 250
final at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles.
Riardas Berankis
Laura Robson
Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens
This ambitious young player
named fellow Americans, the Wil-
liams sisters, as two of her main
inspirations within the game, and
do not be surprised to see this
young womans career be just as
successful. Her best run at a major
Slam came this year at Roland Gar-
ros, where she reached the fourth
round, after impressive runs in
Australia and Wimbledon
as well. She will look to im-
prove on last years third
round exit in New York this
fall. With a serve that has
broken the 120mph mark
and her overall aggres-
sive style of play, Stephens
will have the worlds top 20
players looking very cau-
tiously over their shoulders.
information compiled sOURCE: UsTA
bY benjamin-mile le haY
Russias Irina Khromacheva
is ready to take on the world
By Jack Mcilroy
Girl on the Run
gamE. SEt. match.
Ever wondered exactly how much
players go home with following their victories
at the U.S. Open? Lets just say that even
losers by no means go home empty-handed
Here are the 2011 prize earnings.
mENS aNd wOmENS SiNglES
Winners: $1,800,000
Runners-Up: $900,000
Semifnalists: $450,000
Quarterfnalists: $225,000
Round of 16: $110,000
dOUblES (PEr tEam)
Winners: $420,000
Runners-Up: $210,000
Semifnalists: $105,000
Quarterfnalists: $50,000
sOURCE: UsTA
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C 12|August 27, 2012|The New York Observer Tennis
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Speci al adverti Si nG Secti on for the new york obServer
Were Going to
Flushing Meadows!
The Open, for many, is one of the few times
during the year that all eyes are on Queens
By Daniel Mowery
schedule of play
food stops
there is food at the U.S. open, and
theres food galore in flushing Meadow
park. from hot dogs to ecuadorian and
latino delights, wander along the park
or venture towards the soccer felds
for culinary adventures with a more
international fair (and perhaps see the
ecuadorian version of volleyball being
played). naturally, there are gourmet
options in the vip spaces of billie Jean
king tennis center, but here are stops
along the 7 train worth exploring:
VERNON BOulEVARd/
JACKSON AVENuE
young and up-and-coming, here youll
fnd funky cafes and cofee shops along
with fresh takes on italian, french or
latino fusion. for a java jolt, head to
Sweet leaf
(10-93 Jackson avenue).
COuRT SquARE
culture hotspots (MoMa pS1, 5pointz)
mingle with Spanish diners and new
classics like bistro fare at Sage General
Store (24-20 Jackson avenue).
40Th STREET ANd 46Th STREET
look for established irish pubs jumbled

in with international gems like Romanian
Garden (43-06 43rd avenue), plus not to
be missed cross-cultural favorite Alpha
donuts (45-16 Queens boulevard).
52Nd STREET
worth hopping of the train for la Flor
Bakery and Caf (roosevelt and 53rd
street), Korean BBq and other culinary
treasures.
WOOdSidE61ST STREET
More irish pubs (perhaps Queens holds
a record?) and more ethnic standouts.
indulge at Sripraphai (64-13 39th
avenue) for thai or non-stop food carts
for a wide range of treats.
69Th STREET
check out the filipino places featuring
longanisa, a delicious array of many-
favored sausages.
74Th STREETBROAdWAY
little india, featuring jewelry, saris,
spices and the legendary Jackson diner
(37-47 74th Street), among other truly
exceptional indian eats.
82Nd STREETJACKSON hEiGhTS
amazing columbian fare up and down
roosevelt avenue and 82nd Street.
90Th STREETElmhuRST
Mexican, ecuadorian and dominican
kitchens dominate here.
JuNCTiON BOulEVARd
one stop further, the latino infuence is
decidedly pan-latin.
103 STREETCORONA PlAzA
dominicans and other latino favors
blend with old school italian restaurants
and sandwich shops.
FluShiNGmAiN STREET
chinese and asian food nirvana!
inexpensive and indescribably
delicious food carts, mixed in with
a multitude of restaurants, bakeries,
bubble tea cafes, dim sum, dumplings
and bbQ. renowned Joes Shanghai
(136-21 37th avenue) alone is worth
the extra trip.
ITS FINALLY HEREthe
U.S. Open! Youre planning
on making a day, perhaps a
week of it. As you start your
trek, get there the easiest,
coolest and most entertaining
way possible on the 7 train.
In under an hour you can
quickly cruise the 8+ miles
from midtown Manhattan to
Willets Point. With well over
150 languages spoken in this
bustling borough, more than
any other area of the United
States, but Queens is also a
food Meccaso leave time to
stop along the way.
By traveling the 7, youll also
be journeying on part of the
National Millennium Trail.
Extending from Sunnyside
to Flushing, the IRT elevated
line is considered a national
treasure for the essential
role it played for arriving
immigrants in the early
1900sand continues to
this day. As Helen Marshall,
Queens Borough President,
says: Visit Queens and see the
world!
Before viewing Manhattan
from the windows of the 7,
you can start your journey
at Grand Central, home of
the Grand Central Oyster
Bar. We recommend a lunch
specialthe bouillabaisse
sandwich in a bowl, with bread
on the side, to keep that U.S.
Open garb tidy! The bar was
first opened in 1913 along with
the station, then re-imagined
and reinvented in the 70s
with gorgeous vaulted ceilings
and U-shaped counters. The
sprawling oyster bar boasts
over twenty varieties a day
and delivers a memorable New
York experience. Stand outside
the restaurant entrance and
let the child in you test the
acoustic legendspeak in one
tiled corner and your voice
clearly carries over the curved
ceiling, past the loud echoing
bustle of commuters into the
opposite diagonal corner.
Then hop on the 7, which
quickly emerges above
ground at the Queensboro
Plaza stop. Here, you can
begin to see the city skyline
the slope of CitiCorp, the
gleam of Chrysler and the
unmistakably regal spire of
the Empire State Building.
Keep your eyes open for
5pointz as well, the ever-
evolving five-story, block-long
sprawling hub of graffiti art
that is visible from the train.
This is certainly worth a closer
look if time allows (at Jackson
Avenue and Davis Street).
45th Road/Court Square
also is home to MoMA PS1
(exit onto Jackson Avenue and
walk right one block to 46th
Avenue). Plan on the museum
being closed Tuesday and
Wednesdays. Better yet, plan
on getting there Saturday,
when the $15 cash-only entry
fee includes Warm-Up, a
fabulous outdoor series of
experimental live music,
performances and DJs, hosted
in Wendy, a temporary
urban landscape (this year
designed by HWKN). Enjoy
chow by M. Wells.
Back on the train, keep a
lookout for Sunnyside Yards,
where LIRR and Amtrak
trains enter Penn Station.
After the Queensboro stop,
the construction you see is
for the soon-to-open East
Side Tunnel Access to Grand
Central.
Other cultural stops to keep
in mind: Queens Museum
of Art, a 15 minute walk
through Flushing Meadows
Corona Park, located right
next to the Unisphere (that
giant steel globe!). Among a
steady rotation of exhibits,
you can also check out Tiffany
glass or the recently restored
and proudly exhibited 1939
Worlds Fair Relief Map
of the NYC Water Supply
System. Nearby are The
Panaroma, built by Robert
Moses for the 1964 Worlds
Fair, and the painstakingly
updated Citi Field.
A great back-up plan for
inclement weather or a little
variety for those with kids
in tow is The New York Hall
of Science, near the QMA or
a short walk from the 111th
street station. See 1964-65
World Fair relics including
rockets like the Mercury
Capsule, or enjoy the Science
Playground and tons of
hands-on exhibits.
One stop away (Flushing/
Main Street) is Flushing
Town Halland if youre
around on September
5, you can catch the
Monthly Jazz Jam at
7p.m. The first Wednesday
of each month, the event
showcases the house band,
followed by an eclectic mix
of guest artists, professional
musicians, educators and
students who improvise the
night away in a borough thats
no stranger to jazz (Louis
Armstrongs home is a site to
see in Queens, too!)
leave these
home
Did you know that the following
items are banned from being brought
into the USTA National Tennis
Complex during the U.S. Open?
BacKpacKs, cooleRs,
Glass Bottles or caNs,
NoIsemaKING devIces, alcohol,
vIdeo cameRas, computeRs
and laptops, pets, flaGs,
BaNNeRs or sIGNs,
laseR poINtING devIces,
and sadly,
teNNIs RacKets.
tRuly a
GRaNd slam
U.S. Open VIP premium seat
packages (day or evening) include
courtside or loge tickets for
Arthur Ashe Stadium, a reserved
table in the Hospitality Pavilion,
catered food, bar, plus parking,
tIcKets staRt at aRouNd $700
aNd Go up to as hIGh as $3,500
peR peRsoN
according to Raleigh
Leahy of the USTA.
Vernon
Boulevard/
Jackson Avenue
Hunters Point Avenue
Court Square
Queensboro
Plaza
33 Street-
Rawson Street
40 Street-Lowery Street
46 Street-Bliss Street
52 Street
Woodside-61 Street
69 Street
74 Street-Broadway
82 Street-Jackson Heights
90 Street-Elmhurst Avenue
Junction Boulevard
103 Street-Corona Plaza
111 Street
Mets-Willets Point
Flushing-
Main Street
SUbJect to chanGe
A packed house at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
u . s . o p e N insiders guide
inforMation coMpiled
by benJaMin-Mile le hay
sOURCE: UsTA
the new york obServer; freezr
Tennis The New York Observer|August 27, 2012 |C 13
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C 14|August 27, 2012|The New York Observer Tennis
G
e
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Im
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specI al advertI sI nG sectI on for the new york observer
art
U . S . O P E N all the rave
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SPOTTED

From First Ladies to stars of the silver screen, the U.S. Open attracts much more than the hoi polloi
to the USTA Billie Jean King Center. Heres a look at who trekked out
to Flushing Meadows for last years Open. One can only wonder who will turn up in 2012.
6
17
11
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18
19
1
2
7
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HeAds 2012 YOuTek IG
RAdICAl PRO RACkeT
made with d3o and Innegra materials, this
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fnalist and 2012 mens singles olympic
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$210, www.head.com/tennis
WITH FASHION SAVVY PROFESSIONAL TENNIS
PLAYERS such as Venus Williams, Roger Federer
and Maria Sharapova designing their own outfits
and tennis gear, The Observer decided to find out
which tennis fashions and equipment will keep you
looking most stylish on the courts this fall. Here
are some of our top picks.
Tasteful Tennis
A glimpse at sophisticated and
innovative products on the market
By Benjamin-mile Le Hay
HeAds MARIA sHARAPOvA
TeNNIs RACqueT BAG COuRT
the chic bag hits shelves this month
just in time for the U.s. open and
was partially designed by maria
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$115, www.head.com/tennis
AdIdAs BY sTellA MCCARTNeY
TeNNIs PeRfORMANCe dRess
former wta no. 1 player,
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wears this fashionable ensemble
for aggressive matches on court.
$120, www.adidas.com
lOve TeNNIs BY HAzels
MeNs CufflINks
these dapper sterling silver
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AdIdAs PeRfORMANCe: AdIzeRO feATHeR II (MeN)
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a technologically advanced, high-performance shoe series, these styles are
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$125-130, www.adidas.com
lACOsTes ANdY ROddICk sHORT sleeve
suPeR dRY CHesT sTRIPe POlO
Its been nearly 100 years since french tennis star
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eventually went on to establish the lacoste label
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lacoste has continually sponsored a slew of winning
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BABOlATs PuRe dRIve
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Tennis The New York Observer|August 27, 2012 |C 15
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