Preparations for Summer

Biking in Cayucus, CA

Biking in Cayucos, CA

May 23, 2011

Summer is just around the corner, and I’ve been enjoying my last days at home here in Los Angeles before I take off for my summer stretch of tournaments. I’m gearing up for a series of eleven tournaments in eleven weeks, starting with the West Coast Championships this weekend at USC. As soon as the tournament is completed I’ll begin my drive up the coast, stopping first in Sacramento and Chico for two professional Futures events. Following those will be the eight-tournament Pacific Northwest summer circuit that has been a favorite of mine for a number of years.

A big issue for tennis professionals starting out in the lower ranks (like myself) is finance. When you are first starting out and the prize money in the lower level (Futures and Challengers) tournaments is small, it is difficult to support yourself and you are traveling off only your winnings. Guys on tour have to worry about their food, accommodations at tournaments, travel between tournaments, ongoing equipment needs (shoes, string, racquets, grips, etc.), and sometimes even a traveling coach. At the Futures level where the guy that wins the tournament is only earning a little over $1,000, most weeks your paycheck isn’t even enough to cover that week’s expenses. Thus, players have to find other ways to raise money for their travel, and they do so in a number of different ways. Some of these ways include finding sponsors (either individuals or companies) that will pay for some or all of the expenses, teaching private lessons during the brief stints at home, having some sort of job that one can do remotely via the internet, playing money tournaments between the professional events, or a combination of all of these things.

I earn the majority of my traveling funds from playing money tournaments in between professional events. These money tournaments are usually put on by country clubs, open for anyone to enter, and often times have upwards of $20,000 in prize money, twice as much as the Futures events that have only a $10,000 purse to offer. There are money tournaments across the country for most of the year, and a lot of the mid-level pros (guys ranked between 200 and 1500 ATP) have figured out a way to travel and work in significant money tournaments between their professional events. There are also great money circuits abroad, the most prominent one being in France, where there are multiple tournaments every week throughout the year. The one downside to playing these money tournaments is that it does take you away from your professional events, where you might be forced to miss weeks that are good opportunities to earn ATP points. The more pro tournaments you play the more opportunities you have to move up in the rankings, and if you’re playing money tournaments then you’re not playing the pro tournaments. However, I believe that matches are matches, and often times the competition in these money tournaments is as good, in not better, as that in Futures events. As long as I’m getting competitive matches, I’m getting in better shape and improving my game, which is the most important thing in my opinion.Plus, if it gives me a chance to earn some much-needed traveling money, then even better!

Nine of the eleven tournaments in my upcoming schedule are money tournaments, with Sacramento and Chico being the only two Futures events. My travel funds have run a little low, and if I prepare well and give myself a good chance to be successful, I’ll be able to earn some money for the fall and winter to travel with. I know this is going to be a long stretch with a lot of tennis being played, so right now I’m training hard and managing my body to make sure I’m healthy leading into the summer. I’ve been cross training a lot by either surfing or road cycling in order to decrease the pounding on my body from the hard courts. I’ve been stretching between 45 minutes to an hour a day, keeping myself loose and limber, and also being sure I ice down anything that might be sore during the day. If you treat your body well then your body will treat you well, and I want to establish a good daily “body-maintenance” routine before I hit the road.

Stay tuned as I play the West Coast Championships this weekend, and then head up north for the Sacramento Futures…thanks for reading!

-AG

Vive le French Open

Dust off your berets. Take out the croissants. Le French Le Open is Le here! (Get Official Roland Garros gear here)

Once again, all eyes of the tennis world will fall upon Roland Garros. The ultimate clay court tournament will feature the world’s best tennis players and some intriguing story lines.

For the first time in many years, Rafael Nadal is not the clear-cut favorite. To call Novak Djokovic hot right now is like calling the Grand Canyon a crack in the ground. It’s like calling John McEnroe mildly tempered. It’s an understatement, people. And with all these talks of Nadal and Djokovic, we all seemed to have forgotten a guy named Roger Federer. It’s funny how shortsighted fans can be; when the 16 time Grand Slam champion who’s not yet 30, is no longer in the conversation of contenders or when the King of Clay, a 5 time French Open champion, and STILL world #1 can be called an underdog. That just goes to show you the magnitude and impact of the 2011 Djokovic run.

Let’s face it, the talk of the tournament will be Novak vs. Rafa. But that doesn’t mean the women’s draw will be any less interesting. The field is wide open as to who will become champion. Until she actually wins one, people will always ask, “Is this where Caroline Wozniacki finally wins her first Grand Slam title?” Kim Clisters returns to tennis after her freak accident, and even though this is her first time competing in a few months, would you bet against her? Victoria Azarenka is making some noise lately, both figuratively and literally speaking. No Venus. No Serena. Maria Sharapova is surging with a win in Rome. And you know there are always a couple new faces (Julia Goerges and Petra Kvitova) that will make a Cinderella-like run.

It’s going to be a fun, 2-week ride. So grab a baguette, sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Here are my picks:

Men’s Final Matchup
Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic. This will be the 5th time these two see each other in the finals of a tournament. I’m torn as to whom to pick. My heart says Nadal, but my head says Djokovic. Either way, it will be an epic match 5 set match. I have a feeling Nadal gets his revenge and his 6th Roland Garros title.

Men’s Sleeper
Juan Martin Del Potro. Del Po has won a clay tournament already this year at Estoril, beating both Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling.

Women’s Final Matchup
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Maria Sharapova. The battle of great offense versus great defense. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, Wozniacki will once again come up short.  Sharapova gets her career Grand Slam.

Women’s Sleeper
Julia Goerges. Won the clay court title at Stuttgart this year. No one’s happy to see her on their side of the draw, especially world #1, Caroline Wozniacki, who is 0-2 this year against her. Could she be the future face of the WTA?

Au Revoir,

Jason, TW

Be a volunteer at La Costa WTA event

La Costa Resort and Spa offers volunteer opportunities

Carlsbad, Calif. — The 2011 Mercury Insurance Open Presented by Tri-City Medical Center, July 30 to Aug. 7 at the La Costa Resort and Spa, is looking for volunteers.

The women’s professional tennis tournament returned to Carlsbad in 2010 after a two-year hiatus and volunteers played a vital role before and during the event. Once again this year, volunteers are needed to fill a variety of positions during the tournament, including: Guest Services; Tickets and Gates; Ushers and Media Center. Local residents familiar with North County San Diego are also needed to serve as Tournament Transportation drivers. Training for each position will be provided.

“We are looking for energetic volunteers to help make this a successful event at the La Costa Resort and Spa this summer,” said Raquel Giscafre, Mercury Insurance Open tournament director. “Being a volunteer is a great way to become part of our team and to get involved in this fantastic community event.”
According to Giscafre, one of the common factors for successful professional tennis tournaments around the world is having a strong core of dedicated volunteers.

“Enthusiastic, committed volunteers are crucial to the success of an event like the Mercury Insurance Open,” Giscafre said. “We have been fortunate to have a great group of volunteers in the past and we hope to continue the tradition this year.”

Tournament volunteers should be at least 18 years of age and able to work a minimum of four shifts during the event. A shift is approximately five hours. Volunteers will receive a uniform consisting of a tournament shirt and sweatshirt. They will also receive one meal per shift.

“The volunteers who contribute their time and dedication to the tournament are invaluable,” said Gail De Weese, a Carlsbad resident who serves as the Mercury Insurance Open Director of Volunteers. “They are our lifeline. There are many benefits to being a volunteer at this event. You get to meet new people, spend the week at the beautiful La Costa Resort and Spa and you’ll get to see the world’s best tennis players battle for the Mercury Insurance Open title. ”

Tennis experience or knowledge of tennis is not required to be a volunteer, only a desire to help fans, players and officials have a more enjoyable tournament experience.

Anyone interested in being a volunteer at the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open should fill out a volunteer application form, which is available under the “Get Involved” tab, Volunteer Information at mercuryinsuranceopen.com.  For more information, call (760) 930-7031.

The Mercury Insurance Open, a Premier 700 WTA event offering $721,000 in prize money, will feature a 56-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw in 2011. The women’s professional tennis event returned to the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad in 2010 after a two-year hiatus.  Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova won the singles title last summer when she defeated Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the final. The tournament will be televised on the Tennis Channel and ESPN 2.

The Mercury Insurance Open is a participating tournament in the Olympus US Open Series. The US Open Series, now in its eighth year, is a six-week summer tennis season that links 10 ATP World Tour and WTA tournaments together. The series leads into the US Open. The Mercury Insurance Open is the second women’s event within the series. For additional information about the Mercury Insurance Open, log onto http://www.mercuryinsuranceopen.com/, join us on Facebook or follow frequent updates on Twitter.

Tennis Pros Make Forbes Most Powerful Celebrities List

Forbes.com recently released the World’s Most Powerful Celebrities List, and five professional tennis players are on it. Let’s check them out!

Roger Federer

Roger Federer

The Federer era may be dwindling as Nadal and Djokovic have bumped him down to No. 3 in the world, but on the Forbes list Roger Federer comes in at the highest out of the five players at No. 25.

Federer’s breakdown:
#30 in Money – $47 million
#48 in TV/Radio – 519 appearances
#1 in Press – 57,155 press clips
#23 in Social – 6,914k+ Facebook friends
#64 in Web – 514,000 Google news results

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

The King of Clay may begin to slide down the ranks because of Djokovic, but then again, Djokovic didn’t make the Forbes list. Rafael Nadal comes in at No. 46.

Nadal’s breakdown:
#58 in Money – $31 million
#29 in TV/Radio – 917 appearances
#3 in Press – 48,691 press clips
#24 in Social – 6,223k+ Facebook friends
#35 in Web – 1,130,000 Google news results

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

Engaged to NBA player Sasha Vujacic, the rock she sports on her hand didn’t weigh her ranking down: She comes in higher than the next two females. Former No. 1 player, and top-earning female athlete in the world, Maria Sharapova comes in at No. 80.

Sharapova’s breakdown:
#72 in Money – $24 million
#87 in TV/Radio – 81 appearances
#34 in Press – 13,877 press clips
#32 in Social – 4,158k+ Facebook friends
#67 in Web – 467,000 Google news results

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

It’s been almost a year since this player began recovering from foot surgery and a blood clot in her lungs. Her latest appearance has been on the Forbes Most Powerful Women List at No. 55. On the celebrities list, Serena Williams comes in at No. 84.

Serena’s breakdown:
#94 in Money – $12 million
#38 in TV/Radio – 711 appearances
#18 in Press – 20,111 press clips
#39 in Social – 2,018k Twitter followers & 456k+ Facebook friends
#65 in Web – 513,000 Google news results

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Following in her sister’s footsteps (minus the cut foot) is Venus Williams, who comes in at No. 86. Venus also made an appearance on the Forbes Most Powerful Women List at No. 60.

Venus’ breakdown:

#90 in Money – $13 million
#52 in TV/Radio – 464 appearances
#29 in Press – 15,065
#46 in Social – 716k+ Twitter followers & 759k+ Facebook friends
#76 in Web – 307,000 Google news results

Well that’s it! Congratulations to the professional tennis players who have made the Forbes Most Powerful Celebrities List!

Peace Sign,
Kana

Make a Racket with your Racquet!

Are you tired of your racquet looking like everyone else’s? Do you want to add a little style to your racquet to set it apart from the competition? Here are a few simple ways to add your own touch to a racquet.

Gamma String Things and Wilson VibraFun Dampeners

An easy and cheap way to add a little something-something to your racquet is a vibration dampener. If you want something a little more personalized than the generic brand logo, try out Gamma’s String Things. Each two-pack contains fun characters such as fish, pandas, and frogs as well as flowers and smiley faces. Wilson VibraFun dampeners come in packs of two and have even more designs such as a clover/broken heart combo, glitter hearts, multicolored flames, and a yin yang/peace sign combo. My personal favorite is the broken heart dampener. I show no mercy on the court, and my racquet agrees! Not only are these dampeners fun, but they also are useful for reducing string vibration.

Gamma Hand Print, Prince MicroSplat, and Forten Wrap-Tac

If you are tired of the same old black or white overgrips and want to add a little color to your racquet, check out some of the over grips from Gamma, Prince and Forten. Gamma Hand Print Overgrips come in a variety of fun patterns to spice up your racquet. You can choose from four different colors of camouflage, including blue, grey, orange and pink. In addition, there is a fun flower print in two colors of red and blue and a checkered flag pattern. If are interested in a more subdued pattern, check out Prince’s MicroSplat Overgrip that comes in a three pack with a variety of swirled colors. If you are not interested in patterns, check out the Forten Wrap-Tac O-Grip 60 pack that comes in eight assorted colors so you can match your grip to your racquet.

Rainbow of Strings

Think strings come in only neutral colors? Think again! Actually, there is a string for every color of the rainbow.  Check out the Tennis Warehouse tennis string page to find a variety of strings in every color and type. Can you make your own rainbow of string colors? Here is mine:

Red- Kirshbaum Pro Line II 16

Orange- Gamma Zo Tour 16

Yellow- Dunlop Synthetic S-Gut 17

Pink- Prince Lightning XX 16

Green- Prince Beast XP 17

Blue- Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power 16L

Purple- Weiss Canon 6 Star 16 (1.3)

Tourna Stencil Ink

Another easy and fun way to customize your racquet is with stencil ink. Tourna Racquet Logo Stencil Ink is the perfect solution to add a personal message or design to your racquet. Whether you add your initials, team logo, smiley face or lightening bolt, the stencil ink can add a quick special touch in red, blue, black or white. You can use it, too, as a fun way to unite a team to put the same message on all the players’ racquets.

Try one or all four of these ideas for a look that is completely your own!  Have fun with it!

Ad Out,

Brittany

The FOUR R’S

Andy Gerst

Andy Gerst

May 16, 2011

My biggest focus for the month of May in my own game is making improvements in my mental game. I’ve been getting too emotional on the court, which has been affecting my decision-making and my ability to stay focused during matches. Any time you let yourself get too frustrated or allow yourself to get “tight”, 99% of the time your game takes a turn for the worse (unless your name is John McEnroe). But fear not, THE FOUR R’S can help you stay calm, cool, and collected even in the toughest situations in those big matches.

The four R’s represent a process that takes place between points that can help you stay focused and keep your negative emotions at bay. By practicing this between-point discipline, you’ll get better and better at it, and just like working on your shots it will become routine, even when the pressure is on in a match. Each “R” represents a stage in your between-point thought process, eventually leading to the beginning of the following point…

1. RELEASE- The first thing you have to do after a point is release it…let it go! Whether you won or lost the point, your reaction to it should be relatively consistent point-to-point. The release process should only take a second or two, and it should be a cue to yourself to forget the previous point and move on to the next one. For example, you can put the racquet in your opposite hand and start playing with the strings, or turn your back to the net and walk back to the baseline or the fence (picture Agassi). The stronger and more positive your body language is during this process, the better!

2. REVIEW- Take a quick review of the previous point and learn from it. Remember, this process is rational thought, not emotional. Questions like “what worked or didn’t work in the previous point?”, “how can I use my strengths to exploit my opponent’s weaknesses?”, “am I sticking to my game plan?”. Avoid making judgments about your game, like “wow, that was a bad point” or “my forehand sucks right now”. Organize a game plan for the next point. Figure out where you want to serve or return, and how you want to play the point. Do I want to be aggressive this point, or be consistent and see if my opponent can make a winning shot to beat me? The review process will take up a bulk of your between-point time.

3. REFOCUS- This should only take a couple seconds, and should reinforce in your mind how you want to play the next point. Tell yourself a simple sentence or two that presents a picture in your mind of how you want the next point to go. Things like, “serve out wide, volley to the open court”, or “keep the ball deep and hit to big targets” are perfect. Always be positive and direct. This should be the thought most present in your mind as you step up to the line to serve or return serve.

4. RITUAL- If you watch every professional on the tour, they all have a pre-point ritual that clears their mind and gets them focused for the point at hand. A well-established ritual also reminds your body that you’ve done this thousands and thousands of times, and there’s nothing new. Whether it’s practice or 5-5 in the third set in the finals of a tournament, it’s the same ritual, every time. If your serving, maybe it’s bouncing the ball a certain number of times before you start your motion. For me, I always bounce the ball 7 times before my first serve and 3 times before my second serve. Always! That never changes. If your returning, maybe it’s blinking a certain number of times before the ball is tossed, or shuffling your feet (like Nadal). Establish and practice a consistent ritual, and it will help put your mind at ease in the toughest situations!

I always remind myself of the FOUR R’S if I find myself getting too emotional during a match. It’s something I learned at a young age and continue to practice to this day. But remember, it’s like anything else in tennis…establishing it as habit is a process, and won’t happen over night! The more conscious you are of it, and the more you practice it, the better and better you’ll get at it. Use this tool to stay calm, cool, and collected during your matches.

Thanks for reading,

-Andy

Put your best f̶o̶o̶t̶ (junior tennis shoe) forward

When it comes to junior shoes, a question that often comes up is sizing. At Tennis Warehouse, the shoes are on the men’s sizing scale. For example, we offer a size 7 in junior shoes as well as a size 7 in men’s. Minor sizing discrepancies between brands aside, these shoes should fit the same on your feet.

With the sizing question out of the way, let’s dive into what’s out there. Within our junior shoe lineup, there are shoes designed to meet the needs a range of players from the competitors who are out on court several hours a week to those players who are just getting started with a lesson or playing once a week.

The Asics Gel Resolution 3 is available in two colors. Andy Roddick's Babolat Propulse 3 is available in a junior version.

The heavy hitters

The adidas Barricade 6.0 xJ and Nike Air Court Ballistec 3.3 — are two of the biggest names and easy choices. They’re modeled after what some of the pros are wearing. The Babolat Propulse 3 is gaining favor with plenty of adults and graces the feet of Andy Roddick. The junior version sports a striking red cosmetic, and the foot strap technology to lock in the feet. Juniors can also now sport Asics shoes with the Gel Resolution 3, the first junior Asics model. The popular Gel Cushioning system is found in this one, and there’s plenty of support too as well as two color options.

Five good buys

The adidas Barricade Team is available in several colors for juniors.

1. The adidas Barricade Team xJ has similar looks to the Barricade xJ 6.0 but is missing some of the more technical features. It is still going to offer solid performance and comfort, though, and the bonus is players have more than one color option. The Team version is $44.95 vs. $74.95 for a full price adidas Barricade xJ 6.0.

The junior version of Rafa's Air Court Ballistec 3.3

2. The Nike Air Max Court Ballistec 3.3 gets another mention. This top notch shoe is now on sale, marked down from its original $80 price. It has the visible Max Air in the heel and a durable cage-like structure on the upper to please the hardest of competitors. It’s now $64.95.

A great all-around shoe, the T22 is available in multiple colors.

3. Prince’s T22 is a favorite model among adults and is offered for juniors at a great price and with a few color options. The T22 is a great all-around shoe, blending comfort, durability and stability. This shoe performs beyond its $49.95 price tag.

Wilson Trance Impact shoes are on sale for juniors.

4. The Wilson Trance Impacts are built for heavy play and are at a killer price right now. This shoe has lots of cushioning and doesn’t skimp on durability features with a hefty toe guard. Go for the black/yellow shoe for an aggressive look or for the white/black/red one for a more traditional tennis color option. The white based shoe costs $29.95, while the black/yellow is a steal at $24.95.

This discontinued color of the adidas Barricade xJ 6.0 is on sale.

5. The adidas Barricade xJ 6.0 white/blue is on sale now as well. This is the top-of-the-line junior tennis shoe in the adidas lineup. This is an older color, allowing you to take advantage of the lower price. While juniors may be limited to one color at this price, they do get the fully loaded Barricade xJ 6.0. That package includes a lot: durable adiWEAR 6 outsole, functioning support claws, adiTUFF protection on the upper, signature adiPRENE cushioning and Torsion System stability. Get this one at $64.95, $10 cheaper than the new colors.

Check out the entire Junior Shoe page for more options and check out the customer feedback, too. Be sure to visit often to check for new markdowns as well.

Happy Hitting!
Tiffani

Tickets now on sale for WTA La Costa tournament

Carlsbad, Calif. ­– Individual tickets are now on sale for the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open Presented by Tri-City Medical Center, July 30 to Aug. 7, at the La Costa Resort and Spa, tournament officials announced today.

Reserved grandstand and box seat tickets, which range from $10-$125, are now available online at mercuryinsuranceopen.com or through Ticketmaster.  Tournament ticket packages are also on sale now and begin at $70.

“This promises to be our best tournament yet, so we encourage tennis fans to purchase their Mercury Insurance Open tickets early,” said Raquel Giscafre, Mercury Insurance Open tournament director. “Tournament ticket package sales are already ahead of last year and we certainly don’t want fans to miss the opportunity to see great women’s professional tennis.”

Defending US Open champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium will headline the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open. Clijsters began the year on a strong note by winning the Australian Open singles title.

The main stadium at this year’s Mercury Insurance Open will seat 5,000 fans. “With a small, intimate stadium at the La Costa Resort and Spa this year, the atmosphere is going to be fantastic and fans are guaranteed to be close to all the action on court,” said Giscafre. “We also have a full line-up of exciting special events scheduled throughout the week.”

The Mercury Insurance Open Kid’s Day, scheduled for Monday, Aug. 1, is free for children with the purchase of an adult ticket. Groups of 10 or more will receive a 50% discount on individual grandstand seating on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Matchy-matchy For Your Match

We’ve all stood in our closet wondering what to wear. There are days where outfits that looked good last week don’t look quite as good this week. If I’m in a rush, I just need a few go to outfits that I know will work! Here are some quick matchy-match outfits that will look fabulous and perform on the court!

adidas is all in! Fresh Pink is the theme of this outfit featured below. The ForMotion technology allows for a better fit while in motion making the Barricade Polo extremely comfortable during tough matches. The back features a mesh panel helping you keep cool. Pairing that up with the Barricade Skort lets you move freely on the court. The pop of Intense Green gives it an electrifying look! For a head-to-toe look add on the Barricade adilibria shoe (read TW shoe review here). All together, this outfit is for the ultimate competitor ready to conquer her opponents! Note: both items come in multiple colors – adidas Spring Barricade Group.

adidas is all in!

adidas is all in!

Nothing can look more clean than white! The outfit featured below is great on a hot sunny day or when going to tennis clubs with “all white” dress codes. Asics’ Tennis Tank features a sporty look with a halter leading to a racer back. The built-in shelf bra keeps you supported during rigorous movements. Pair that up with the Tennis Skort and you have an alluring outfit! For the complete outfit, lace up the Gel Resolution 3 shoe. (watch TW shoe review video here.) Our female playtesters rated this highly in all categories. Note: if you happen to be a Lakers fan, or just a fan of purple and yellow, the group also comes in those colors – Asics Spring Group.

Fresh and clean with Asics

Fresh and clean with Asics

There are times where you want to have the style of the women on tour. This outfit is the look of Maria Sharapova. The Nike Maria Statement Woven Dress features bonded seams providing excellent comfort. The racer back gives it a sporty look and a high impact built-in shelf bra keeps you secured. The shade of Chlorine Blue with Copa and Bronze gives this dress a radiant look! If you want a little more coverage/place to hold tennis balls, match it with the Seamless Compression Short. For a full-on Nike look, step into the Lunar Speed 3 shoe. Its lightweight Flywire construction keeps you supported during lateral movements and feeling fast on the court.

Nike Maria Outfit

Nike Maria Outfit

Peace Sign,
Kana

Oldies But Goodies

Own a piece of history with our brand new inventory of Bosworth racquets!

Check out the Vintage Racquet page on Tennis Warehouse’s website where you can find graphite and wood racquets from the past. The collection contains racquets that were designed for use by pros such as Aaron Krickstein, Monica Seles, Brian Gottfried, and Jimmy Connors to name a few. This collection comes from Warren Bosworth, who specialized in customizing racquets to fit the player. Brands available include Head, Spalding, Slazenger, Snauwaert, Fox, Yonex, Estusa, Fin, ProKennex, and Wilson.

Take a peek, you will never know what you will find and remember to check back as the page will be constantly updated. With a limited quantity of each frame, these racquets will go quickly so grab yours while you can! Check out some of the racquets available at Tennis Warehouse in the pictures below.

Ad Out,

Brittany