New York, New York…..

“New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do….”
-  Jay-Z. He’s not a businessman; he’s a business, man!

Tennis is in an Empire State of Mind right now as the US Open is currently underway. Yes, the quote might be talking about New York, but it certainly applies to The Open. So let’s break down that short verse.

Flushing Meadow’s concrete jungle holds 22,500+ fans and cost more than $250 million dollars to build, making it the world’s largest tennis-specific venue. Some of the biggest most memorable matches and were played under the bright lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

And you want to talk about “where dreams are made of” and “there’s nothing you can’t do”? How about Pete Sampras beating Andre Agassi in the 1990 finals to become the youngest champion? Or in 1994 where Agassi became the first unseeded player to win the Open?  What about the 5-setter between Blake and Andre that ended at 1am with Agassi famously saying, “I wasn’t the winner tonight, tennis was.” And let’s not forget 2005, when Kim Clijsters made her comeback complete with her first Grand Slam title. And most recently, American Melanie Oudin made a Cinderella-like run; upsetting the likes of Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova before the clock struck midnight and she lost to Caroline Wozniacki. As you can see, the list can go on and on.

The US Open might be only one of four Major tournaments in the year, but for me, it’s the best. There’s something electric about having the rowdy New York crowd, 22,000 strong, cheering late into the night that makes this tournament special. I’ve only experienced the excitement through my “window to the world,” also known as my television. I can’t imagine what the energy level would be like in person. Needless to say, I’ve cleared up plenty of room on the DVR for the next 2 weeks. Sorry “Jersey Shore,” but you’ve just been fist pumped out of the top spot. As much as it’ll hurt me to do so, I’ll need to postpone the GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry) for a few weeks.

Here at Tennis Warehouse, a few of us have grabbed our Magic 8 balls and made our predictions of what the final match ups will be. Winners are in bold.

Tiffani
Men’s Final: Andy Roddick vs Andy Murray
Women’s Final: Kim Clijsters vs Maria Sharapova
My take: I like both of these match-ups and the winners. Roddick is obviously a fan favorite and it’d be nice to see him explode back into the top 10 with an Open win. Plus, you can count on at least 8-15 shots of Brooklyn Decker by the camera crew. Who can root against Kim Clijsters? She’s such a sweetheart. Kind of like Sammie from the “Jersey Shore.”

Chris
Men’s Final: Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer
Women’s Final: Kim Clijsters vs Venus Williams
My Take: I think most people would agree the Rafa vs Fed final would be a dream match-up. And not just for Nike, although I think I can hear Phil Knight counting the Benjamins now. Women’s final would be a fun one with two big hitters and one of them being American.

Brittany
Men’s Final: Andy Roddick vs Rafael Nadal
Women’s Final: Caroline Wozniacki vs Venus Williams
My Take: Interesting men’s final. On one hand, I’d love to see Rafael Nadal complete the career slam, but on the other hand, Brooklyn Decker. Toss up! The women’s final would be a snoozer because I think Venus would roll through Caroline.

Kana
Men’s Final: Rafael Nadal vs Robin Soderling
Women’s Final: Na Li vs Kim Clijsters
My Take: I think this would be déjà vu of this year’s French Open final. Nadal wins it in straight sets with a running forehand passing shot on the final point. Crowd goes crazy. Nadal drops to the ground in tears. End scene. I think Kana’s Magic 8 ball was defective when it came time to making the pick for the women’s final match-up. Na Li goes out in the 1st round. Oopsie.

Spencer
Men’s Final: Andy Murray vs Roger Federer
Women’s Final: Maria Sharapova vs Kim Clijsters
My Take: Will Murray finally win his first Grand Slam? Not as long as the guy standing across the net has anything to do about it. Between the both of them, a total of 16 Grand Slam titles. Roger has 16, you do the math. This could be Sharapova’s comeback tournament versus a former Comeback Player of the Year.

Jason
Men’s Final: Andy Roddick vs Rafael Nadal
Women’s Final: Kim Clijsters vs Maria Sharapova
My Take: The men’s final is so tough! My mind says Nadal, but my heart says Brooklyn, err, I mean, Andy. I can’t pick against Clijsters, although I think this match would go to 3 hard fought sets.

So whose dreams are going to come true this year? What matches are going to make it out of the court and into the history books?

You know what they say: if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Flushing Meadows, that is.

Where does the US Open rank on your list of favorite Grand Slams? What match ups are you most looking forward to?

Jason, TW

Maria Sharapova’s NY style

As promised, we’re taking a look at what Maria Sharapova will be wearing for her matches in New York this year. For her first round match today, she’s scheduled for a day match. Expect Maria to step out onto court in her Maria Sharapova NYC Day Dress.

Maria Sharapova's Day look (Photo courtesy of Nike)

At night, she’ll up the drama and bring a refined look to the courts with her Maria Sharapova Night Dress. It’s all dressed up for the bright lights with seaming on the body for a sleek look and tuxedo-inspired lapels.

Maria's Night look (Photo courtesy of Nike)

Tune in today to watch her take on Australia’s Jarmila Groth in the first round. Good luck, Maria!

Happy hitting,
Tiffani, TW

“I hate it… but I love it!”

Half-man, half-animal, Tony Horton and the rest of the Beachbody crew are what I like to call, MANIMALS.

Power 90 Extreme, more known as P90X, has become a daily routine for some of us working at Tennis Warehouse. We wanted to see if this was the “Mother of all workouts” and if it actually benefited our abilities on the tennis court.

You don’t need a full gym to do this program. All you need are push-up bars (if you have wrist injuries), pull-up bar, weights, and/or bands (which is what I use when it comes to pull-ups). I did a search on Talk Tennis to see if others had jumped on the same bandwagon. It looks like a lot of people are interested in its hype. Some attempt it, some do it, but only some have completed it. As for myself and Chris, we are currently in Week 7 and still going strong.

There’s a total of three phases, each consisting different workouts spread out over 4 weeks. Once your body starts getting used to the first three weeks, it changes in the fourth week focusing on different groups, then body shock again into the next phase. They refer to it as Muscle Confusion. Basically, the program keeps introducing new routines preventing a workout plateau.

Your results truly depend on what you’re willing to put into the program. Since I’m doing most of the workouts with Chris, we push each other due to our competitive nature. It’s always a competition between us and the Beachbody crew; comparing our strength to them. At the beginning, I came out of every exercise exhausted, sometimes to the point of vomiting. Going into Week 7, I now come out of every exercise completely energized because my fitness level has risen. Take that Dreya Webber and one-legged Plyo man! I’m doing legs with more weights and Plyos is like a walk in the park!

Along with the P90x workouts, I’ve bumped my tennis to three days a week and the shoulder is doing pretty well. I still have to use bands most of the time for pull-ups, but push-ups have gotten much easier. On the court, I can hit a more aggressive shot on my back foot or if I’m pulled into a defensive position. The core strengthening exercises are transitioning well into helping me have a stronger coiling action. With all of the exploding leg exercises, I can speedily get to most of Chris’s drop shots now… only to find that he’ll usually lob me afterward! That guy and his drop shots… make me .. sooo.. frustrated.

Anyways, I have yet to jump on the P90x diet, because I admit it, I love my foods! Other than that, I give the developers and the program of P90x two-thumbs up! Have you jumped on the P90x hype? Diet or no diet? If so, how’s it been going? Can you see the results transitioning onto the tennis court like Chris and I have?

Peace Sign,
Kana