Friday, December 15, 2017

You cannot be serious: McEnroe analyzed in book

   John McEnroe grew up in New York, still lives there and has a second home in fashionable Malibu, a Los Angeles-area enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
   But McEnroe also is a Northern California legend. He won the 1978 NCAA singles title in his only year at Stanford and captured five singles and nine doubles title in the San Francisco Bay Area stop on the pro tour before the tournament moved to Rio de Janeiro in 2014. The singles total ties Andre Agassi for the most in the Open Era (since 1968), and the doubles amount is unsurpassed in that period.
   The first seven of McEnroe's doubles titles in the Bay Area came with New Jersey native Peter Fleming. The last two were with Mark Woodforde of Australia and, at the preposterous age of 47 in 2006, Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden.
   Scoop Malinowski's recent book, "Facing McEnroe," consists of quotes about the 58-year-old International Tennis Hall of Famer and renowned tennis commentator. Malinowski also has written "Facing Federer," "Facing Nadal," "Facing Hewitt" and "Facing Sampras."
   McEnroe's second book, "But Seriously," came out in June.
   Here are some sample quotes from "Facing McEnroe":
   --Former world No. 3 Brian Gottfried: "We obviously go back a long ways. He was a guy that had more talent in two fingers than most of us had in two arms. There weren't many guys that you'd go to watch. You'd play your match and leave and prepare for your next match. He was a guy I used to go watch. Because, like I said, his talent level was beyond what the rest of us could do. ... I think he could have been the greatest of all time if he had the work ethic at a young age that he has now. ... "
   --Paul Goldstein, Stanford men's tennis coach and former pro who lost with ex-Cardinal teammate Jim Thomas to McEnroe and Bjorkman in the 2006 SAP Open doubles final in San Jose, 7-6 (2), 4-6 [10-7]. " ... (McEnroe) was the best player on the court for the majority of that match. He was playing with Jonas Bjorkman, who was number one in the world in doubles at the time. All due respect to Jonas, who was phenomenal, but there were times when John was by far the best player on the court. Hit the spots on his serve so well. He doesn't move around the court as well as he used to, but, man, if he was there, he just still has every shot. It was fun. ... "
   --Goldstein, on hitting with McEnroe at Stanford about five years ago: " ... No one was watching, (but) he brought the same level of competitiveness to that one single practice set that he would in a match. He didn't want to lose that practice set, the same way he might not want to lose the French Open final. He just brings out that level of competitiveness, I think, to everything he does."
   --Former world No. 7 and Stanford star Tim Mayotte, on whether McEnroe intentionally erupted to distract opponents: " ... To me, to call it intentional is not accurate. I think it was instinctive. And he was clearly out of control many times. To the point of it being -- I'm not sure that the right word is -- vicious. That's the way he lived. .... "
   --McEnroe, on the qualities he admires most in people: "It's not easy to go out there and give 100 percent. And run the risk of losing. I respect that the most in athletes. The guys that go out there and play hard. They don't give up on it. You can't be a loser if you go out there and give it your best. You're a winner if you go out and do that. Most people can't do that, shockingly enough. They find ways to quit. To me, that's the biggest quality. And the other one would be honesty."

Nelson reaches last 16 in Junior Orange Bowl 12s

   Northern California's hopes in the Junior Orange Bowl now rest with Priya Nelson.
   The seventh-seeded Nelson, from Sacramento, topped Marylove Edwards of Nigeria 7-6 (2), 6-2 today to reach the round of 16 in the girls 12s at the Junior Orange Bowl on clay in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Nelson, who won the Easter Bowl 12s in March, will face unseeded Mao Mushika of Japan in the singles-only tournament. Mushika routed Ada Jane De Alcantara of Boca Raton, Fla., 6-1, 6-1. Nelson could face second-seeded Sofia Costoulas of Belgium in the quarterfinals.
   Fourth-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose and unseeded Hina Inoue of Los Gatos lost in the girls 14s. No. 17 seed Klara Milicevic of Sweden outlasted Ovrootsky, who won the Eddie Herr 14s two weeks ago on hard courts in Bradenton, Fla., 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. China's Li Zongyu, also seeded 17th, beat Inoue 6-4, 6-4.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bay Area's Inoue upsets seed in Junior Orange Bowl

   Hina Inoue of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area ousted ninth-seeded Elaine Chervinsky of Boca Raton, Fla., 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 today in the second round of the girls 14s in the Junior Orange Bowl at Coral Gables, Fla.
   Inoue and Vivan Ovrootsky of San Jose reached the doubles semifinals of the 14s in the Eddie Herr International Championships two weeks ago in Bradenton, Fla.
   Ovrootsky won the Eddie Herr 14s in singles. Seeded fourth in that age group in the Junior Orange Bowl, Ovrootsky dispatched Danielle Tuhten of Canada 6-2, 6-3.
   Seventh-seeded Priya Nelson of Sacramento advanced in the girls 12s, beating Meera Jesudason of Berwyn, Pa., 6-4, 6-1.
   Max Fardanesh of Albany and ninth-seeded Ria Bhakta of Los Gatos lost by retirement in the boys 14s and girls 12s, respectively. Fardanesh withdrew from his match against Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brazial, and Sayaka Ishi of Japan defeated Bhakta 6-4, 2-0, retired.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

NorCal seeds coast in Junior Orange Bowl openers

   All three Northern California seeds breezed to first-round victories today in the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla.
   In the girls 14s, No. 4 Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose overwhelmed Lakshanya Vishwanath of India 6-1, 6-0. Ovrootsky won the Eddie Herr 14s two weeks ago in Bradenton, Fla.
   In the girls 12s, No. 7 Priya Nelson of Sacramento crushed Ella James of Canada 6-0, 6-0, and No. 9 Ria Bhakta of Saratoga dominated Miezi Gutzeit of Germany 6-3, 6-1.
   Two unseeded Northern Californians also advanced, and one lost.
   In the girls 14s, Hina Inoue of Los Gatos blitzed Valentina Silva of Brazil 6-0, 6-0, but Yuu Ishikawa of Los Altos fell to No. 9 Mara Guth of Germany 6-0, 6-2. In the boys 14s, Max Fardanesh of Albany defeated Milo Gazivoda of Montenegro 6-1, 7-5.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Three NorCal girls seeded in Junior Orange Bowl

   Three Northern California girls are seeded in the Junior Orange Bowl, Wednesday through Dec. 19 at four sites in the Miami area.
   Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose is No. 4 in the 14s. Priya Nelson of Sacramento and Ria Bhakta of Saratoga are No. 7 and No. 9, respectively, in the 12s.
   Ovrootsky, who won the Eddie Herr 14s two weeks ago in Bradenton, Fla., will open against Lakshanya Vishwanath of India. Nelson will play Ella James of Canada, and Bhakta will take on Miezi Gutzeit of Germany.
   Three other Northern Californians are unseeded: Hina Inoue of Los Gatos and Yuu Ishikawa of Los Altos in the girls 14s and Max Fardanesh of Albany in the boys 14s.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bank of the West Classic to leave Stanford

As it turned out, the Bank of the West Classic ended a 21-year run at Stanford
with an indelible image as Madison Keys sat on CoCo Vandeweghe's lap after
beating her close friend for the title in August. Photo by Mal Taam 
   The San Francisco Bay Area stop on the WTA tour has no site and no sponsor.
   Other than that, the tournament is in great shape.
   All that's known at this point is that Stanford University no longer will host a WTA tournament.
   IMG, which runs the event, tweeted Friday: "After 21 years of partnering with Stanford University, IMG has been notified by the University that its policy of hosting corporate sponsored events on campus has changed and Stanford no longer will be able to host a WTA event at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium. IMG's highest priority is to keep the event in the Bay Area and we are working on a plan to do so."
   Translation: Book your flight to Uzbekistan today. Seats are going fast.
   Stanford's decision is odd for several reasons:
   --No commercialism is very admirable, but what's that swoosh on the uniforms of Stanford athletes, including tennis players? Will the athletic department terminate its lucrative endorsement deal with Nike, too? Stop laughing hysterically.
   --The campus is very quiet during the summer tournament. What, the junior lacrosse camp backs up traffic to Millbrae?
   --Not that Stanford, which is wealthier than Bahrain, needs the money, but it received rent for hosting the tournament.
   --Nor, apparently, is the university interested in free national television exposure. Who knows, even Heisman Trophy voters in the East might notice eventually.
   --With Venus and Serena Williams approaching retirement, Stanford is throwing away a heaven-sent gate attraction for the next 15 years. Eighteen-year-old phenom CiCi Bellis grew up five minutes from Stanford in affluent Atherton, and her parents still have a house there. Of course, Bellis would have had to win a Grand Slam singles title or three to draw casual fans.
   So what now? Playing the tournament indoors in its slot during the outdoor hard-court season leading up to the U.S. Open reportedly is not an option. That rules out San Jose's SAP Arena, the site of the now-defunct SAP Open on the men's tour, and Oakland's Oracle Arena, the home of the Golden State Warriors and site of the WTA tournament from 1979 through 1996.
   Inside Tennis reported that IMG has had talks with San Jose State and Silicon Valley and East Bay clubs as well as sites in the eastern United States, including North Carolina.
   Maybe Larry Ellison, the multi-billionaire who lives near Stanford in Woodside and owns the wildly popular BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, will save the WTA tournament.
   Tradition, though, doesn't seem to count for much these days. Founded in 1971, the WTA tournament in the Bay Area is the oldest women's tennis event in the world. It was sponsored by Bank of the West from 1992 through this year and held at Stanford since 1997. Past champions include Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Margaret Smith Court, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.
   The SAP Open moved to Rio de Janeiro in 2014 after 125 years in Northern California. After 28 seasons in Sacramento, the Capitals of World TeamTennis announced in early 2014 that they were moving to Las Vegas. The franchise folded one month later when owner Deepal Wannakuwatte was charged with orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme involving his medical supply business. He is serving a 20-year prison sentence.
   As Inside Tennis reported, only eight years ago, California had six ATP and WTA tournaments: Indian Wells, Los Angeles, San Jose, Stanford, Carlsbad and Carson. Now the state that has produced Don Budge, Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzalez, Pete Sampras, King, Davenport, Helen Wills Moody, Tracy Austin and many other legends might be down to one.
   You don't have to be Nick Bolliettieri to figure out what's going on here. The United States hasn't had a men's Grand Slam singles champion since Andy Roddick in 2003. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka never played in the SAP Open. Andy Murray never returned to San Jose after winning his second straight title there at age 19. Venus Williams won the last of her seven major singles crowns in 2008, announcing in 2011 that she had been diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease. Serena Williams played in the Bank of the West once since 2012, and that was three years ago. Maria Sharapova returned to the tournament this year for the first time since 2011.
   Barring injury, Bellis would have played every year. Guaranteed.   

Friday, December 8, 2017

Keenan Mayo's doubles winning streak snapped

   Keenan Mayo's doubles winning streak ended today at seven matches. 
   Barely.
   The 17-year-old product of Roseville in the Sacramento area and Tomas Kopczynski of Delray Beach, Fla., lost to Daniil Glinka of Estonia and Sumit Sarkar of New York 6-1, 1-6 [10-8] today in a battle of unseeded teams in the boys 18 quarterfinals at the Orange Bowl on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Mayo won last week's Eddie Herr title in Bradenton, Fla., with Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria. Mayo's brother, Aidan, reached the singles semifinals in the Eddie Herr 14s.
   Keenan Mayo has signed a letter of intent to play at Illinois next fall.
   The Orange Bowl was founded by Eddie Herr in 1947. It was played on clay until 1998, then on hardcourts until 2011. It has been contested on clay again since then.
   Past singles winners of the Orange Bowl 18s include Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg 1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995).
   Singles winners of the tournament on hardcourts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000 and 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).