Top Moments of 2017

Each new year is full of new possibilities on the court: A child picking up a racquet for the first time. A first-time Regional champion. A first trip to the US Open. In both the Mid-Atlantic and the entire tennis world, 2017 was full of so many unforgettable moments big and small. So before we move on to a new year of new opportunities, we chose some of our favorite tennis memories of the past year, in no particular order.

Serena-2017-Australian-Open-Twitter

Who could forget the first Grand Slam final of the year? A throwback showdown between the Williams sisters in Melbourne! Despite Venus’ best efforts, Serena came out on top 6-4, 6-4 to take home the trophy. But only months later did we find out that Serena was eight weeks pregnant when she won the Australian Open, an incredible way to earn her 23rd Grand Slam…and Baby Alexis’ first. 

RogerandRafa Laver cup

 2017 certainly saw the resurgence of the Federer-Nadal rivalry and friendship. First, at the Australian Open Final on opposite sides of the court when Roger prevailed in their first meeting at a major final since 2011. Then, in a move that tennis fans had certainly dreamed about for years, the duo teamed up for some Doubles at the Laver Cup. Who thinks we’ll see Federer-Nadal #39 at a Grand Slam in 2018?

Intersectional 16s Champs

In July, Mid-Atlantic’s Intersectionals 16s team went from unseeded to unstoppable and were crowned National Champs! These kids took down top players from other USTA Sections and showed great sportsmanship and enthusiasm along the way. It was certainly a moment they’ll remember for years to come!

Sophie Chang

We’re heading to the Citi Open for our next top moment of 2017, which is where Mid-Atlantic’s own Sophie Chang got her first WTA-level victory! The 20-year-old Havre de Grace, MD native took advantage of entry in her hometown tournament by winning her first match and has kept the success rolling through the rest of the year. Sophie’s currently ranked a career high #305 in the world in Singles and #185 in Doubles!

Award Photos

We loved seeing THREE Mid-Atlantic adult league teams be crowned National Champions this year! Congrats to the 55 & Over 8.0 Men from Virginia Beach, the Mixed 18 & Over 10.0 team from DC, and the Mixed 40 & Over 8.0 team from Montgomery County. Who wants to be celebrating a 2018 national championship with their team?

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Tyler, from the Metropolitan Tennis and Education Group, had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the honorary coin flipper before a match during the Citi Open. Standing between Lauren Davis and Aryana Sabalenka, Tyler did a great job representing the Net Generation and future of tennis in America.

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Bringing the Fed Cup back to the US for the first time since 2000 was more than enough to be one of our favorite moments in 2017! These women defeated teams from countries across the world and came out as champions.

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We couldn’t stop watching Mid-Atlantic’s own Frances Tiafoe continue to grow as a player and achieving new firsts. In 2017, Frances won his first Grand Slam match, got his first Top 10 win over Alexander Zverev and pushed Roger Federer to 5 sets in Arthur Ashe Stadium. We can’t wait to see what’s in store in 2018!

Our final favorite moment of 2017 was basically just the entire last few days of the US Open on the Women’s side. From FOUR Americans in the semifinals to Sloane Stephens winning it all in her comeback year to the “hug heard ’round the world” after the Final, we won’t forget what happened in Flushing Meadows for a long, long time.

Happy Holidays from USTA Mid-Atlantic

USTA Mid-Atlantic sends our warmest wishes for a joyous and fun holiday season and we hope that 2018 comes in bouncing in your favor!

 

8 Things about Summer Only Tennis Players Will Understand

The sun shining, birds chirping, children playing…there are plenty of reasons summer is (arguably) the most fun season. Tennis players know summer comes with its own set of challenges, though, especially when you’re spending all day at the courts. Here’s our list of things about summer that only tennis players can relate to:

  1. It’s at least 10 degrees hotter on any court. You’ve even wondered if you could fry an egg on a hard court. Spoiler alert: you probably can.

2. Flip flops look a little odd on your sock-tanned feet, while cute sandals are nearly impossible to pull off.

3. The summertime really has you regretting not finishing that glass of water three days ago.

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4. Tennis may as well be a water sport in the summer with how much you sweat.

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5. It may look a little “extra” when you bring a full rolling cooler to the court, but you know that you need it. Plus it’s a great place to sit during changeovers.

6. Sometimes the rain is your best friend, sometimes it’s your worst enemy. All you know is you wish you could play in it.

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7. One hour on the court in the summertime feels like four any other time of the year.snail clock.blogpost

 

8. Despite the heat and the sweating, there’s really no better place spend all day than on a tennis court.IMG_6059


 Charlotte Rhoad is a summer intern at USTA Mid-Atlantic. She also wrote a blog post titled “8 things about summer only USTA Mid-Atlantic interns will understand” but figured the audience is a little small for that one.

USTA MAS Gets Exclusive Scoop on Changes to Wimbledon Courts

USTA Mid-Atlantic scored an exclusive interview with a grounds crew source from the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC)  and learned the iconic Wimbledon Championships will usher in a new era of grass court tennis – an era of artificial and edible turf.

According to the source close to USTA Mid-Atlantic, AELTC will work with TurfAstro, a leading manufacturer, distributor and installer of top quality artificial grass products. TurfAstro will be the featured playing surface at the 2017 Championships.

“Unlike the other grand slams, where day one playing surface to day 14 is the same, players here have to battle between the play on the other side of the net and the court,” said an unnamed Wimbledon grounds crew insider in an interview with USTA MAS. “Wimbledon has many storied traditions, but we’re prepared to cut this one.”

The challenges of maintaining the pristine grass courts at the All England Club are abound. Already at the whim of Mother Nature, the grounds crew has to contend with the ugly baseline style of play that dominates the modern game, destroying the back of the court.

Serve-and-volley tennis is essentially dead. Top players such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams have the serve-and-volley in their repertoire, but a true serve-and-volleyer has not won Wimbledon in this century. Gone are the beautiful glory days of serve-and-volley tennis when Marina Martina, Boris Becker, and Stefan Edberg reigned at Wimbledon.

“The courts will look much better during broadcast without the players wearing out the baseline, creating patches of hard, brown dirt as the tournament progresses,” says another Wimbledon insider. “Plus they’ll be able to have a snack right on the court should long matches ensue.”

Instead of a traditional crumb rubber infill, TurfAstro also incorporates ABSORBS, a new product made of organic material and safe for athletes to eat. ABSORBS ability to retain water also helps reduce the slipperiness and delivers an exceptional playing surface designed for high use.

USTA Mid-Atlantic has obtained several samples of ABSORBS that will be made available for players to taste test at various JTT and Adult League Championships throughout the summer of 2017.

Roland Garros did not respond to requests for comment when asked if they will be switching to synthetic clay for 2018.

APRIL FOOLS! USTA Mid-Atlantic hopes you enjoyed our attempt at satire! We have in no way heard of any surface changes at Wimbledon. What do you think edible turf would taste like anyway? Strawberries and Cream maybe?

Creating luck on the court

Michael Jordan wore his UNC shorts under his Bulls uniform for every home game. In baseball, you don’t talk about a no-hitter or a perfect game in the making. Hockey players won’t touch the Stanley Cup unless they’ve rightfully won it. Rally caps, anyone?

Athletes are some of the most superstitious people on earth—tennis players included. Some players rely on more than skill and talent to secure the win. We’ve put together a list of the most interesting, bizarre and stinky superstitions and good luck charms you can find on the tennis tour today.

 

Blog Luck 1

Photo Source: AFP

  1. Richard Gasquet’s Lucky Ball

When Frenchman Richard Gasquet wins a point while serving, he insists on using the same ball for the next point. He’ll even delay play to have it retrieved from the other side of the court. But what happens if the ball ends up in the stands?

Blog Luck 2

Photo Source: US Open

  1. Serena Williams’ Socks

Serena has been known to not change her socks during a tennis tournament—even when she’s en route to winning a two-week grand slam! From the first ball to championship point, she wears the same pair of socks. Mum’s the word on whether or not the socks are washed in between matches.

Blog Luck 3

Photo Source: Scott Barbour/Getty Images AsiaPac

  1. Kei Nishikori’s Cold Shoulder

Japan’s Kei Nishikori won’t talk to his parents until his tournament has ended. When he finally calls them, it’s either good news or bad news. As Kei cements himself as one of the best players in the world and routinely goes deeper into grand slams, two weeks is a long time not to talk to mom and dad. Luckily, neither Mother’s nor Father’s day fall on the middle weekend of a slam.

Blog Luck 4

Photo Source: Reuters

  1. Karolina Pliskova’s tattoos

2016 US Open finalist Karolina Plsikova stands out on the court with her two Maori-style tribal tattoos—one on her left arm and the other on her left thigh. The Maori are indigenous people that originated in New Zealand. Karolina’s connection to them? There is none. She got the tattoos to bring her luck. Both of her parents and twin sister Kristyna have similar tattoos. Talk about a supportive family!

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Photo Source: AP

  1. Rafael Nadal’s… Everything

Where to begin? Rafa never steps on any of the lines. He always crosses over lines stepping with his right foot first. He takes a freezing cold shower before every match. He remains seated until both his opponent and the umpire are at the net for the coin toss. He keeps two bottles meticulously placed on the ground in front of his chair, always taking a sip of the recovery drink first and then the water. The list goes on and on. The man has 14 grand slams and is one of the greatest players of all time—clearly his routine is working!

Blog Luck 6

Photo Source: AP

Honorable Mention from Yesteryear: Andre Agassi’s underwear (or lack-there-of)

Andre forgot to pack underwear for his trip to Paris for the 1999 French Open. He won his first match playing commando and took it as a good sign. He continued playing without underwear all the way to the final where he beat Andrei Medvedev to claim his first and only French Open title.

Please note, there’s nothing written in the Friend at Court rulebook about the use of good luck charms during a tennis match.


Chris Miller is the marketing and membership manager for the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section. His favorite marshmallow in Lucky Charms cereal is the green hat.