The Frontenac Pro Doubles Classic

There’s a lot of tennis action taking place in St. Louis in the next couple of weeks, and you won’t want to miss any of it. Thankfully the events are on separate weekends.

I’ve already posted about the Fed Cup next weekend–April 19 and 20–at the Chavitz Arena, and this week’s auxiliary events at Dwight Davis celebrating the arrival of the U.S. team players, including Sloan Stevens.

The following Saturday, on April 26, the Frontenac Pro Doubles Classic returns with all the best regional players competing for the top prize, and bragging rights. I missed it last year so I’ll be there for sure this year. Proceeds from the event will help support the Triple A Youth Foundation, which supports young players wanting to further their tennis instruction.

 

 

Meet The Fed Cup in St. Louis

Like all tennis fans, I was really hoping to catch Serena and Venus Williams in action in the World Group playoff matches against France, April 19-20 on the campus of St. Louis University. But just this morning, I was alerted to the news that they aren’t on the roster submitted by U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez.

It’s a bummer, for sure. Who doesn’t want to see the Williams sisters live? According to news reports Serena, in particular, is exhausted from playing so much tennis of late. Still, the roster is pretty stellar. It includes 18th-ranked Sloane Stephens, No. 42 Madison Keys, No. 49 Varvara Lepchenko and No. 57 Christina McHale.

For more Fed Cup action, next Wednesday from 4-6 pm, kids ages 7-17 get a free play day at Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park, and the opportunity to meet the Fed Cup team from 4:30-5:15 pm under the tent at the Center. It’s a great opportunity! I signed up my children and hope you will too. Register them here.

 

“Miami Masters” 2014

Time got away from me in Miami last week. It must have been all the fun we were having zipping around Southern Florida. The truth is I didn’t have easy access to WiFi and the thought of going to a Starbucks to write sounded too much like my life back in St. Louis. So I decided against it. Here’s my attempt to make up for being such a slacker.

sonyopen

Here we are at the entrance of the Sony Open.

sea

Next to the tennis center is Seaquarium, where we ran into Ana Ivanovic and a bunch of other tennis players on their day off .

paddle

The pros, like Sara Errani, pictured here with her coach, participated in a “Padel” exhibit. I was blown away by Errani’s athleticism. She never once flinched at the net, and her opponents were wopping the ball at her! What a woman!

clothes2

As always, there was plenty to shopping to do! The funny thing is I didn’t buy anything this time :)

candy

I did buy planety of bags of Sugarpova, however. Tonight the kids came clean and admitted to opening and eating two bags!

clothes

More clothes I didn’t buy.

aleandmom

Alejo and Mom

arepa

We loved the tournament’s Latin vibe.

kids

I love watching tennis with the kids. They’re growing into great fans of the sport.

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Tips for Playing Competitive Tennis

My college friend, Kathleen, is a tennis enthusiast and competitive player. She emailed me tips for combating nerves before and during a match, and they’re so solid I wanted to share them with you. Thanks, Kathleen!

–Arrive early. If you have a chance to warm up, take advantage of an open court. You will play better when your core is warm.

–Next, eat a banana before your match to settle your stomach. It will help with nerves and provide an extra energy boost.

–During your first game, swing MORE aggressively. If you tighten up, your shots will fly out.

–Use your nervous energy for good by keeping your feet busy. More split steps, more shuffle steps, more stutter steps – whatever your style is, increase your footwork.

–Lastly, and this is a big one…DO NOT play the player across the net. Instead, PLAY THE BALL. Focus all of your thoughts on your abilities and what you do well.

Play Interclub Tennis

Paula and I were paired for an Interclub match a couple of weeks ago, and while we didn’t win–it was 3-6, 3-3 when we ran out of time–we both came away from the experience having learned something. “I want to believe more in myself, keep calm and relaxed,” says Paula. “I also need to be more aggressive on the court. Nice doesn’t win games!” I couldn’t agree more! We were both nervous that day, partly because neither one of us had practiced much during the week and we were on CAC’s stomping grounds. Our opponents definitely had the mental edge, and tennis is as much about the brain as it is the body.

What is it about an opponent that can be so intimidating? Better question is, how to slay the dragons within?

 

Go Ana!

In honor of Ana’s first set win against Serena Williams at the Australian Open tonight, I’m buying her fab blue tennis dress. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one with the idea. It’s out of stock everywhere and I have to wait 10 dayts to get it. In the meantime, I’m sitting on pins and needles watching their match. Could Ana actually stop Serena’s winning streak tonight? Ana-Ivanovic-Australian-Open-2014-dress

The Armory, Part II

With Mayor Francis Slay at City Hall.

With Mayor Francis Slay at City Hall.

On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to share the Armory’s rich tennis history with Mayor Slay and his staffers at City Hall. Here we are in his office.

 

A New Year, A New Start

What I love most about the month of January is the ability to start anew. January also ushers in the pro tour so that makes it one of my favorite months of the year, too. With the pros currently Down Under, and chasing the sun for the next 12 months, there’ll be plenty of tennis to watch, new tennis clothes to consider, and plenty of inspiration for my own game.

As I think about my own New Year’s resolutions this year, and the ways I plan to make 2014 a meaningful year, I’ll look to two of the top women on the tour to help me achieve my new year’s goals:

Serena Williams: There’s no doubt she’s the best in the game. But her real strength comes from the fact that she knows it. What was it the Greeks said at Delphi? “Know Thyself.” Yes, Serena’s confidence rules! It gets her out of jams time and again, and it helps bring home the trophies too.

Serena Williams in Brisbane. She's headed toward her first final of the season.

Serena Williams in Brisbane. She’s headed toward her first final of the season.

 

Maria Sharapova: Due to injuries last season, we haven’t seen much of Maria lately, but from her run to the semis in Brisbane it looks like she’s playing with renewed purpose. Despite the ever-present Serena-Maria rivalry, it appears Maria’s ready to take on the challenge. How will she do it? I imagine she’ll begin by swating negative thoughts from her mind, and getting down to the business of hard work and determination. She’ll need all of that and more as she looks to beat Serena through to a final. I, for one, am rooting for her.

Maria Sharapova at the Brisbane International.

Maria Sharapova at the Brisbane International.

It’s Time For New Tennis Clothes

Ever since jumping back in to work as a magazine editor and associate publisher two months ago, it’s become harder and harder to find time to blog about tennis, much less get my thrice weekly tennis clinics/games/lessons in. (Remind me again why I elected to go back to work? Just kidding everyone!) But seriously. About a week ago I was going through my tennis clothes when it dawned on me that they were getting all too familiar (and definitely too last season) for my taste. Mom’s been a dream about keeping things fresh for me with sporadic trips to Niketown Chicago on my behest, but she’s gotten a little lax about it lately. That, combined with days that fly by faster than Rafa at the baseline and allow no time for shopping, pushed me to take matters into my own hands.

Thank goodness for the Internet.

Despite work deadlines, I’ve been trolling the Net at odd hours for tennis fashion inspiration…and happily I’ve found it. Mason’s NYC is offering 30 per cent off all Gigi Active tennis apparel from Nov. 7-27. The Brazilian brand is one of my favorites because I discovered it on a trip to NYC three years ago when I was just beginning my love affair with tennis. It was all so new at the time, and the clothes are a tangible reminder of how exciting it was to learn to play.

My late nights online also have been productive because I discovered Monreal London. I can’t believe I’m new to the brand but now that I’ve found it I’m hooked. The only downside? The prices are steep. At approximately $250 + a dress, I’m going to have to keep my day job to look that good on the court. 09_Monreal13t09_Monreal9t

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