Thursday, April 21, 2016

3 Important tips for Watching the US Open Live!

US Open Singles ScoreboardImage by JC Tennis via Flickr
Have you ever wanted to see the top players in the world like Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray...all in person at one place at the biggest Tennis event in North America?

Then you must go see the US Open at least once in your life!

Be a part of the excitement and enjoy the USA Tennis Grand Slam!
Tickets are available here, even before Pre-Sale USTA and also on so called "sold out" sessions! Prices can update daily, so I definitely would bookmark it and check back!

It's located in NYC 
around late August to early September. A great time to visit the beautiful city of New York around Labor Day and enjoy some great tennis, food and summer fun.  Here are some great tips for enjoying your tennis experience below...

Subscribe for our Free US Open Tips Email
plus get instant access to US Open Ticket Discount Codes

Below in my full article, I'll go over:

1) How to get great, cheap tickets but still be able to see your favorite Tennis star up close

2) When and where to go to get Autographs, pictures with the pros

3) Which seats you should try to grab for (the best game perspective, the best pictures, the most comfortable (shaded seat) in any stadium 

How to get the best value on US Open Tickets

First thing is buy tickets - without these, you can't go in. Figure out when you want to go and look up the prices.

If this is your first time, and you want to just experience some tennis - try to go the first week. My advice given in my email list is to wait for the summer promo codesas this is when there is a good deal (less than $60 for Ashe tickets) - they usually go on sale as early as May for USTA members. But worry not - you can still get them as late as the month of August without a membership...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Indian Wells vs Miami Open Tennis Tournament? March Masters Tennis - California vs Florida?

Indian Wells, CA or Miami, FL

The First two ATP Masters 1000 Events of the USA are held just a couple weeks apart. Although both very important events for the top tennis pros on the men and women's tour, they are also very polar in many ways. Nearly all of the Top 50 players in the world will attend both events.

West Coast vs East Coast

I have friends that each prefer one over the other. If you live on the West Coast of the US and a major tennis fan, then Indian Wells is an ideal spot to check out. If you are on the East Coast and especially in Florida, then the Miami Open is great to experience.

Quick Comparison of the two March Masters:

BNP Paribas Open

"5th Grand Slam"
My Trip & Team Tourney Review
HD Pictures | Tickets

  • Excellent Practice Court Views (at eye level)
  • Premium Facilities and Show Court Stadiums
  • Low Humidity, Dry Heat
  • Outdoors: Hiking, Golf, Tennis
  • West Coast

  • Expensive Location! Avg Hotels @ ~$200-$350/nt
  • 2 Hours Drive from nearest major airport (San Diego or LA)
  • Less Nightlife
Indian Wells is a bit more of the rich, active retiree destination - even most of the volunteers are over 55. Quite a different energy level than the younger Spring Break crowd in Miami. On the other hand, if you like a more laid back atmosphere with more outdoor scenery, then Southern California is perfect. Also Joshua Tree and Coachella are both relatively close by.

Miami Open

"South American Slam"
Trip Review and Tips | HD Pictures | Tickets

  • Less crowded overall
  • Courts are all close to each other
  • Cheaper Ticket Packages Available
  • Miami Beach Town
  • East Coast
  • VERY Humid with chance of heavy, quick thunderstorms (*run for cover*)
  • Night matches are very limited (main stadium only...~2 matches max)
  • Parking is very limited or expensive / shuttles far away at tournament (average 15-20 mins)

There is more of a Latin / South American crowd at the tournament and around Miami. The fans are generally younger than at Indian Wells. The evening atmosphere is the "seen and be seen" South Beach fare. Usually there are some large music/techno festivals held during this time of the year.

Overview and Summary

Fans Comfort: IW, much more enjoyable and cooler during the day
Overall Trip Cost: MIA, has slightly cheaper options available on the whole

Main Stadium Quality: IW (Miami is more open and central) / IW has better box seats
Secondary Show Courts: IW (*more reserved stadiums mean more ticket costs)
Practice Court Views: IW (Miami has lots of mesh fences between fans and players)

Food at Tournament: MIA (lots of cuisine choices, whereas IW has more shops/food off-site plus a few new fancy restaurants on the grounds)

Souvenirs: MIA - large store with merchandise in the shade with A/C;
Fan Zone Area: Tied; Jumbo-tron at MIA, Better lounge chairs at IW
Swag / Freebies: MIA, more fun gifts; IW has Tennis-Warehouse free racket demo court*

Daytime activities: IW
Nightlife activities: MIA

Overall Winner - Indian Wells

Indian Wells: A-
Miami: B

If you've been to one or both of these tournaments, please leave a comment below!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Top tennis stars in Washington DC at 2015 Citi Open

Capital Tennis action comes back to DC for 1 week only

Written and Edited by Staff (Nik and JC):
After a placid June, DC summer temperatures are steadily rising again for the 2015 Citi Open in the heart of DC. The US tennis hard court season gets ready to roll next weekend, beginning on Saturday Aug. 1 at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Get your tickets at Citi Open with this 25% USTA promo code
The 2015 ATP men’s draw has three former US Open winners: Andy Murray, Marin Cilic and Lleyton Hewitt.

Andy has been playing his past tennis since the start of the year, with excellent showings at all the grand slams (Finals of the Australian, Semis at the French, Semis at Wimbledon) plus a stellar clay court season.

US Open fans:
Subscribe here for 2-for-1 ticket promo codes and alerts

A fresh and rejuvenated Murray is our pick to win this year. Marin Cilic has made a steady comeback from elbow and shoulder problems since his US Open triumph last year. After his Wimbledon QF loss to Djokovic, he believes he is peaking at the right time for the summer hard court season again.

Grigor Dimitrov (aka Baby Fed and Sharapova's bf), after a split with coach Roger Rasheed will be looking to make amends. While coach Rasheed was instrumental in getting Grigor’s fitness levels to tour-worthy levels, Dimitrov probably feels like he needs more match-specific strategy to make that elusive deep run for a ATP 1000 or Grand Slam title. Dimitrov is a treat to watch when he’s playing well; definitely a fan favorite at the Citi Open.

The Big Men

Ivo Karlovic is in the form of his 36 year old life. Recently predicted via Twitter that he thinks he can play until 40 with the way he’s serving. Ivo’s also barely short of 400 aces from stealing the all-time ATP aces record off of his buddy Goran Ivanisevic. Ivo’s doppleganger is another super-tall server, John Isner, the top American seed in the draw and John’s always a title contender in any tournament he enters.

American Pride

Fellow Americans Jack Sock and Steve Johnson will also be at hand - Jack recently made waves when his forehand was measured to produce more RPMs i.e. rotation on his topspin than Rafa Nadal’s, Jack took a set of Nadal on route to a 3R loss French Open but only after topping Grigor Dimitrov in Round 2. He also won the US Clay court championships earlier this year. Lots of potential for Jack, if he's firing on all cylinders.

Next Wave of Young Tennis Prodigies

There’s also a strong contingent of up and comers in the draw - 19 year old Thanassi Kokkinakis isn’t the main Australian player making headlines yet (20 year old Nick Krygios gets that honor) and Bernard Tomic at 22 seems almost like the veteran of the lot.

Also up and coming is the young 18 year old German 6’ 6” tall Alexander Zverev - he’s been under the gun for being too intense and some tour players including Fernando Verdasco recently questioned his on-court tennis etiquette and behavior but Alex says its all only to fire himself up.

Asian Stars on the rise

Kei Nishikori will make another appearance as the Top 5 Ranked Men's player in the world. Look for amazing backhands and flawless footwork from this guy. Hopefully, Coach Michael Chang will also be here to support his young pupil.

Hyeon Chung from South Korea is another young Asian prospect (#79 in the world) who’s been posting great results on the Challenger tour. At the Miami Open in March, I watched him take a set off Tomas Berdych. He's a very steady baseline player with some impressive shot selection maturity well beyond his years.

Strongest Women's Field in DC ever

The women’s draw this year features the strongest WTA draw we’ve seen in the city (pun). Led by Sam Stosur, Sloane Stephens, Belinda Bencic, and Svetlana Kuznetsova - there is a lot of powerhouse women players coming back to DC this year.

While all 3 of them are in somewhat a slump lately, hard courts are their best surface so they’ll be looking to kick into high gear. Sloane Stephens leads the American charge. While she hasn’t played her best tennis her in the past, she’s a fan favorite here in DC so look for her to have a strong run in the tournament.

Other American Women include Madison Brengle (with her success on the WTT Washington Kastles team), plus Coco Vandeweghe and Christina McHale returning to DC again.

Citi Open Photo Archives: 2014 | 2013

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to improve the quality of your tennis practices

Deliberate Practice makes Perfect

While being a tennis instructor working with students or just someone's hitting partner with a stranger out at a local park, you would surprised how many casual tennis players just "go out and hit". They are out there several times a week and take lots of lessons, but just seem to repeat the same mistakes.

Here's a very great article regarding Deliberate Practice - how the pros focus and improve much quicker than the ordinary player.

So if your goal is to improve your game everyday and make better use of your time on the tennis court - read on:
  1. Smart use of Time.

    Showing up and being good on your word - whether for a lesson or to meet a friend - is a reflection on your character. Toni Nadal once said to Rafa, "if you are not 5 minutes early, then you're already late". This is the respect and courtesy you should always show. Of course if an emergency comes up, notify your partner ASAP.

    Be efficient with how you structure practice time. Simulate game timing as much as possible. Have an adequate warm-up session at half-court (2-3 mins), work rally balls, approaches, and volley/overheads (4-5 mins). Then take 6 serves from the ad and deuce courts (2-3 mins).

    One common mistake beginners make is that they spend far too much time being too isolated in their practice. They may spend 20-30 mins hitting short court and an hour serving one type of serve without the right mental targets and understanding the purpose. You need to translate those skills (ex: using topspin, enough racket head speed, work angles for half court tennis) into a real match.

    For serving, if you do not have the proper serve grip, toss and learn the basic serve fundamentals - it is a waste of time to try to hit a whole hopper of your hardest 1st serves. If only 2/10 actually land in the service box, you are depending on luck rather than dependable technique.

  2. Be prepared mentally

    When we show up hungry and eager to play, the brain will absorb a lot more. Too many times, when I've taught tennis lessons, the student may be there physically, but not above the shoulders.

    Just arriving at the court is not enough - especially if you need another 5 minutes to put on your shoes, run to the restroom, whatever it is... At least one other person is counting on you to fulfill your part of the bargain when you go out there.

    At a minimal level, be mentally there. Constantly checking your cell phone at every changeover means you're lacking focus. If your mind is elsewhere, you will not be 100%. Save the extra long chit-chat for the water break or afterwards, so someone else can use the court.

    Whether it is changing grips, putting on sunscreen, or hydrating - do this before arriving! Ideally, you should have done a bit of dynamic stretching too so you can play your best. This is most important when playing indoor tennis and time = money.

  3. Share your goals, start with a quick game plan

    Have in mind when you start a list of goals you want to work on when doing drills.

    You should have at least one or two areas they feel they want to improve. Share this with your hitting partner. Collectively agree on certain elements you wish to drill on during the hitting session.

    If necessary, adjust the drills to suit the other players' skill level. Most of the time they will not be very good at feeding consistently or pin point accurate, so give the necessary margin of error.

    It is a waste of time, to just jump right onto the court and start slapping balls from the baseline. It is about progression. Start with half-court; incorporate top spin, volleys, footwork. If you're lazy from the service line, it will only amplify when you move back.

  4. Establish rhythm and consistency first

    Nobody likes hitting with someone who just wants to belt balls for winners. Especially off the first or second shot when feeding, do not immediately try to hit winners.

    Get into a groove, perhaps work on cross-court shots first before hitting all-court. Let your partner know that you want to get at least 3-4 balls in play before either player should try to win the rally. Otherwise, you're just picking up most of the time instead of grooving solid technique.

  5. Work on ALL parts of the game - alternate between offensive and defensive roles

    Both players should get a chance to be on the 3 phases: attack, neutral and defense.

    Hitting inside-out forehands against a slice backhand is one way. Playing medium pace passing shots against a volleyer at the net is another. Working on a good lob is a complimentary to the other person hitting directed overheads consistently. The key word is consistently. If one or the other is uncooperative or flaky, you will not produce quality - remember it takes two!

    Please do not just stand on the baseline the entire time! Practice feeding each other volleys, overheads, and even transition shots in order to improve.

  6. Practice and simulate real game play. Give Feedback!

    After about an hour or so, try to incorporate some serves and returns into the drills. It can be a live ball drill or play a few points with one person feeding underhand or tiebreakers with the serve.

    Whatever it is, just make sure at some point to incorporate the practice shots into a real point situation. Just working on pieces of the game in total isolation can be dangerous; it must fit into the bigger picture when you start playing. Otherwise you may let the rest of you game go idle.

    Finally at this point, you can also play a full set. If both players are roughly the same level, be competitive and do your best to use what you learned. It is not about winning 6-0 when one is clearly better. But instead, try building small improvements on the weakest parts of your game, so it can be a fair and enjoyable challenge on both sides.
Have fun, be mindful of the experience for all players, and work each time on forming good basic habits that will translate into winning tennis! Enjoy!

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