News from World TeamTennis - - October 5, 2006
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Field set for WTT National Finals
Irvine 4 La Jolla

The field is set for next month's WTT National Finals after four teams from California and Nevada won spots at the final WTT National Qualifier at Heritage Park in Irvine, Calif.

The Irvine tournament was the final national qualifying event of the year for the World TeamTennis Rec League presented by Advanta. The winning teams in each division advance to the WTT National Finals, Nov. 2-5, in Indian Wells, Calif., where they will battle champions from five other qualifying events. Championships will be contested in 10 divisions - 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, Senior 3.5, Senior 4.0, Corporate 3.5, Corporate 4.0, Corporate 4.5 and Open.

It took a tiebreaker to separate the teams in the 3.5 Division. Fuzzyballs, led by captain Kevin Faber of Henderson, Nev., finished tied for first with Surf & Turf of San Diego after the round robin competition. Fuzzyballs won the title with a better head-to-head record, having defeated Surf & Turf, 33-27, on Saturday. Faber's teammates are Meredith McGuigan, Ann Santiago, Vickie Hayden, (all of Las Vegas, Nev.), and Art Petrie of Henderson, Nev.

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club defeated Circle of Life in the Championship Finals 33-26 to win the 4.0 Division title. Tiffany Worst of San Diego, captain of the La Jolla team, led her squad to a perfect 3-0 record in the early rounds. La Jolla dominated Barnes Tennis Center in the semifinals, 32-20 to move onto the championship final. Worst is joined on the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club team by Duane DeSieno, Philippe Fuene de Colombi, Massimo Caruana, Libby Hooker (all of La Jolla) and Sherry Ittner and Tom O'Brien, both from San Diego.

Tornado’s blew through the 4.5 division field with a 3-0 record to win the title and advance to the National Finals next month. Led by captain Mary Gunset of San Diego, Tornado’s lineup included Stepanka Hastings, David Gill, Douglas Ronney, all of San Diego), and Mary Alice Hillier of El Cajon, Calif.

In the Senior 3.5 Division, it was a two-team race between Good Vibrations and the Fresno Tennis Club. Both teams posted a 3-1 record in the round-robin competition. In their first meeting, Fresno Tennis Club edged Good Vibrations 29-27, and Good Vibrations returned the favor in the second round with a 28-26 victory. Fresno Tennis Club, captained by Dave Colby of Kingsburg, Calif., won the division based on a better winning percentage, 60% to 59%. Joining Colby on the Fresno Tennis Club squad is Pat Welshaar, Carolyn Adams (both of Fresno, Calif.), and Rod Roseling, Tom Pope, Carole Heinricks (all of Clovis, Calif.).

For more information on World TeamTennis or the WTT Recreational League, visit www.WTT.com or call 866-PLAY-WTT.

Photo: 4.0 Division Champions from the Irvine qualifier - La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Gottfried and Elder named WTT League Directors of the Year
Ronita Elder

Ronita Elder of Los Angeles and Rich Gottfried of Rockville, Md., are the 2006 recipients of the Delaine Mast Award. The annual award recognizes a male and a female World TeamTennis Rec League director who contributes to the growth of tennis and WTT, as well as being a leader and role model in their local tennis community.

The awards are named after Delaine Mast, WTT's National Program Coordinator and a recognized inner-city high school boy’s and girl’s tennis coach since 1986. Mast is the founder and executive director for the Junior Tennis Corporation of America, which is a non-profit organization that raises money to provide free tennis lessons to more than 10,000 youngsters in 14 cities across the US. Mast is an active member of the USPTR and USPTA National Tennis Teachers Organizations.

Elder and Gottfried will receive their awards at the WTT Rec League National Finals, Nov. 2-5, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.

Elder is a coordinator for WTT Corporate Leagues and after-school tennis programs in the Los Angeles area. Elder, a former tour professional, has more than 30 years experience in tennis and physical education. She has also served as Director of Multicultural Participation with the United States Tennis Association.

Elder is widely heralded as a beacon of hope in the Crenshaw community outside of Los Angeles. Her tennis and education program has served as the seed for growth and development of tennis and education. She has taught thousands of youth across greater Los Angeles to play tennis and integrate the sport into healthy life style choices.

Over the past 15 years, Rich Gottfried has put more than 8,000 tennis players on the courts in Montgomery County, Md. -- participating in WTT leagues, tournaments and events featuring the co-ed, fast-paced WTT format.

Although he is not a tennis pro, Gottfried has been a driving force behind the growth of recreational league tennis in the Maryland area. Gottfried created and hosted the Cup Challenge which pitted his teams against teams from Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., and also established the WTT Tri-State Championships (D.C., Va., and Md.).

Gottfried’s teams have always been competitive at the national level as well, producing a two-time Open Division National Champion, a 3.5 National Championship team and several teams that have won WTT National Qualifiers all over the U.S.

Photo: Ronita Elder

WTT CEO Kloss elected chair of WSF board
Ilana 2006 Exley

World TeamTennis CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss has been elected Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Kloss will preside over and provide guidance to the Trustees and Executive Committee.

“It’s an honor to be named Chair of the Board of an organization so important to the lives of physically active girls and women,” said Kloss. “I started my career as a professional tennis player around the same time that the Women’s Sports Foundation was founded. During my career on and off the court, I have experienced firsthand the impact the Foundation has had on the lives of millions of athletic and active women over the past 30 years.”

“The Women’s Sports Foundation’s continuing mission is to advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. It is a privilege to continue that work.”

Kloss and the other Trustees-elect will join incumbent members of the Board, which consists of champion female athletes, prominent businesspersons, major benefactors and leaders of women’s sports organizations.

Founded in 1974 by Billie Jean King, the Women’s Sports Foundation is a national charitable educational organization seeking to advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. The Foundation’s Participation, Education, Advocacy, Research and Leadership Programs are made possible by gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org.

Photo: Jonathan Exley

Tennis Tips from Wilson
Wilson updated

I don’t think I have ever given a doubles clinic without the question being posed, “How do you beat a team (or player) who lobs all the time?” It is frustrating to execute a perfect plan of coming to the net and seemingly taking control of the point only to have a lob fly over you and your partner’s heads and immediately put you back on the defensive if you don’t lose the point right away.

Let’s begin with two key points before looking at five ways you can play better against the people and teams who hit lobs.

A. Nobody can hit a lob perfectly every time anymore than someone can hit every return of serve into play. As demoralizing as it can seem, a good lob is only one shot / one point in a match. It always amazes me to see early in a match when someone comes to the net only to have a perfect lob hit over their heads for a point-ending shot and then person abandons their coming to the net strategy! Don’t let anyone change your strategy because they win one or even a couple of points.

B. The most fundamental question to ask yourself is, “Why is my opponent able to hit a lob?” Don’t focus on the lob itself when analyzing the situation i.e. “Geez, he / she hits great lobs.” Instead, rewind the point to one or two shots before the lob. In that context, here are some tips to help you counter the team / person who likes to lob.

Here are the tips:
Tip #1: Don’t hit the ball to the person in their comfort zone. If someone likes to stay back on the baseline during a doubles point then don’t give them a shot which bounces around waist level. They are already “telling” you they prefer the baseline versus coming to the net so why hit it to them? A short, soft, angled shot will force them off the baseline and practically eliminate their ability to lob.

Tip #2: Hit more shots to the person at the net. Too often, there is this assumption because a team has one player at the net and one at the baseline it is off limits to “pick on” on the net player. If you are getting beat by the person lobbing then start hitting at the other person. Now you are forcing the other team to win points with shots besides the lob.

Tip #3: If you are going to hit the ball to the person at the baseline, make sure you hit the ball right at them. Don’t give them a shot where they can reach out to either side and more comfortably hit a lob. How easy is it to lob when a ball is coming right at you?

Tip #4: Adjust your court positioning. Why keep charging the net only to have balls sail over your head? Therefore, whether it is the server’s partner at the start of the point or as the point evolves, try staying back a step or two from your normal net positioning. If nothing else, the person who likes to lob will be forced to hit the ball deeper which means more balls might go long!

Tip #5: Work on your overhead smash! Whenever someone asks me how to beat an opponent who likes to lob, my first question to them is, “How is your overhead smash?” Few if any tactics will demoralize a lobber more than having their shot blasted back at them! By practicing your overhead smash I don’t mean standing comfortably at the net(How many lobs come to you in that position?). Practice moving back and hitting a smash; letting the ball bounce and hitting a smash; moving to your right or left. You should learn to hit an overhead smash in the air or after a bounce from every area of the court including behind the baseline! So instead of a thought like, “Oh no, here is another lob,” you can tell yourself, “Yes, another lob which gives me a chance to smash it and win the point!”

Use these tips and you will effectively neutralize the opponent who likes to lob!

Dave Kensler has 23 years of teaching experience with Peter Burwash International (PBI), the most successful international tennis management company. PBI directs tennis programs at 60+ exclusive resorts and clubs in 23 countries and has taught over 3 million students in their 30 year history. For information on PBI tennis destinations and employment opportunities please go to http://www.pbitennis.com/. All PBI Tennis Professionals play with Wilson rackets, use Wilson bags and wear Wilson shoes. The year 2006 marks the 20th Anniversary of PBI Tennis Professionals using Wilson products.

Elton John, Billie Jean King and tennis stars team up for charity at Advanta WTT Smash Hits
Highlights air on The Tennis Channel Oct. 11
06 Smash Hits check pres

Elton John usually saves his biggest hits for the music charts, but the legendary musician was at the top of his tennis game last month. John and longtime friend Billie Jean King hosted their 14th annual Advanta WTT Smash Hits which raised close to $300,000 to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County.

Highlights of the 2006 Advanta WTT Smash Hits will air on The Tennis Channel at 8 pm EST on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

John teamed with Andy Roddick in the opening celebrity match, a battle of the sexes win over Rennae Stubbs and Anna Kournikova. John ripped a forehand winner on set point to win the celebrity doubles match in overtime, 5-4. Unfortunately for Team Elton that match did not count towards the final score.

Pete Sampras dominated Andy Roddick in two sets of men's singles, 5-3, 5-3, to lead Team Billie Jean King to a 15-10 win over Team Elton John.

Sampras also teamed with WTA Tour doubles standout Rennae Stubbs in mixed doubles for a 5-4 win over Roddick and Anna Kournikova.

At a reception held earlier in the evening, more than $184,000 of that total was raised as King, John and the players participated in a live auction, with proceeds from the event benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County.

For additional information, please visit the Elton John AIDS Foundation at www.ejaf.org and World TeamTennis at www.wtt.com.

Photo: Peter Fishbach of Advanta (center) presents Billie Jean King and Elton John with a generous donation. Advanta is the sponsor of the 14th annual Advanta WTT Smash Hits and is also the presenting sponsor of the WTT Pro League and the official business credit card of World TeamTennis.

Credit Fred & Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA

WTT Pro League Notes
Around the League
Sac Caps logo

Sacramento: The Capitals will move to a new location in 2007. The parking lot at Westfield Galleria at Roseville will be the summer home of the Sacramento Capitals for at least the next five years. Ticket packages are already on sale on the Sacramento Capital’s website at www.gocaps.net, contact (916) 638-4001 x134 or visit the Westfield Galleria at Roseville Concierge Center.

Bälle de Mätch offers special deals for WTT members
Yippee oval

One of the many benefits of being a WTT League player is, well . . . the benefits. WTT members can now receive special pricing - 15% off suggested retail - on Balle Match Team and Basic apparel at balledematch.com.

Bälle de Mätch, which is the official apparel of the WTT Rec League, is well-known for its broad selection, fit, unique styling and top quality.

Order product from Bälle de Mätch directly online by visiting the special WTT League player page at balledematch.com. To place an order, login using the WTT League player user id (wttplayer) and password (playwtt).

Order online or call Bälle de Mätch directly at 1-800-356-1021 and speak to acustomer service representative about the program by mentioning WTT League Player.

For the latest Bälle de Mätch merchandise, visit http://balledematch.com.

Elton Rennae SH 06

WTA Tour doubles standout Rennae Stubbs gives Elton John some advice during the Advanta WTT Smash Hits event in Irvine, Calif., last month.

Photo: Fred & Susan Mullane / Camerawork USA

World TeamTennis t-shirts on sale at The Tennis Superstore

WTT tshirt back
Check out these World TeamTennis t-shirts on sale at The Tennis Superstore.

Visit The Tennis Superstore for WTT merchandise

Coming up:

Nov. 2-5: WTT National Finals, Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif.
Nov. 2-4: WTT Owners Meeting, Indian Wells, Calif.